Application of geoethics to university education based on a mining geoethical dilemma case study in the Catalonian Potassic Basin (Spain)
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This research presents the usefulness of geoethics to be applied to university education through a mining case study related to the subsidence problems in the Barri de l'Estació neighbourhood (Sallent municipality) in the Catalonian Potassic Basin located in the eastern Ebro Basin (Catalonia, Spain). The geological studies carried out on the subsidence, which give a valuable insight of the problem, do not intend to provide a solution to the conflict between the local residents and the mining activity. Instead, a geoethical dilemma is used to explore different possible geogovernability scenarios. The application of the geoethical dilemma model derives from the benefits to expose different values and attitudes in order to qualitatively evaluate which would be the steps to achieve a resilient and geodiverse territory where mining and protection of the environment are not mutually exclusive, but complementary. Four scenarios are evaluated: geoecological tragedy, environmental preservation, geoengineering, and territorial resilience. The case study is taken as an example of how geoethics could be included in the curricula of the Geology degree of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB). Therefore, the research makes some recommendations to meet the commitment of the university to implement ethical competences to the teaching of geosciences. The paper is based on the research carried out by a geosciences student, who is hereby included as a co-author, having obtained the degree in geological sciences at UAB.
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