Societies Slate First Joint Earth Sciences Meeting

The first-ever Joint Annual Meeting of several scientific societies, Oct. 5-9 in Houston, Texas, will gather more than 8,000 international scientists, professionals, educators, and students to discuss the latest research and emerging trends in the Earth sciences.

The meeting offers an unprecedented technical program that showcases the scientific collaboration of the sponsoring organizations: the Geological Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies. Also participating is the Gulf Coast Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology and the Paleontological Society. The Houston Geological Society is hosting the event.

The meeting theme "Celebrating the International Year of Planet Earth," presents a program that is built around the 10 challenging issues set forth by the International Year of Planet Earth (2007-2009) agenda.

Some of the highlights include

• Peter Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, Calif., and Sandra Postel, founder and director of the Global Water Policy Project in Amherst, Mass., will address "The Impending Global Water Crisis: Geology, Soils, Agronomy, and International Security" on Oct. 5.

Gleick's research focuses on the relationship between water and human health, as well as the challenges faced by the global water supply as a result of conflict and terrorism. He is the recipient of the 2003 MacArthur Fellowship "Genius Award," and is the author of the biannual water report, The World's Water. His presentation, "New Thinking on the Path to Sustainable Freshwater Management," will explain his concept of a "soft path" to sustainable water management, which includes decentralized water infrastructure, economic reforms, and institutions that focus on individual communities.

Postel is a leading environmental researcher focusing on conservation and sustainable use of global water resources. She is the author of several books on water resources, including the acclaimed books "Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last?" and "Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity," which was the basis for a PBS documentary. Postel's presentation, "Rivers and Wetlands Need Water, Too! The Missing Piece in Water Policy," will focus on how current water infrastructure systems such as dams, reservoirs, pumps, and canals have damaged the ecosystem and the natural ways that water is distributed to many areas of the world.

• Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison "Jack" Schmitt will speak about "Questions about the Earth the Moon Told Us to Ask," at a luncheon on Oct. 6.

• A plenary session, "Geobiology and Biomineralization: From the Origins of Life to the Origins of Cities," which includes the paper, "Construction Practice in Complex Urban Systems," will be presented on Oct. 8.

• A plenary session, "Carbon Sequestration: Methods, Markets and Policy," will highlight the soil carbon cycle and its potential to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide and mitigate global warming, also on Oct. 8.

For meeting information, visit: .

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