Why learn earth science?

This is a critical time for students to understand how Earth works as a system and how humans interact with Earth. Understanding the causes and potential societal consequences of natural Earth processes (e.g., earthquakes, floods, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, weather, and global climate change) and the production, availability, and potential depletion of natural resources (e.g., water, soil, mineral, and energy) are of particular importance because they impact our economy, our security, and the safety and sustainability of our environment. The context for understanding modern Earth processes lies in deciphering records of Earth’s past. Investigating these records, as well as human interaction with modern Earth processes and resources, is therefore critical to the well being of humanity and the planet. Empowering students with scientific knowledge and skills to make informed decisions as citizens of our common home is a vital undertaking and a key responsibility for science educators and geoscientists.

Earth science is an integrated science, bringing together biology, chemistry, and physics as they apply to the workings of Earth. The applied, and often visual, nature of Earth science helps learners see the connections and relevance of science to their lives and their communities. Engaging students in learning about Earth supports the development of problem solving and critical thinking skills and highlights the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers to society. Therefore, Earth science can serve as an introduction to the life and physical sciences or as a capstone course requiring students to apply their knowledge of these sciences. Earth science can also serve as a framework for investigating life and physical sciences in museums and other informal education venues.

From The Geological Society of America