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The Importance of Earth Science Literacy?

Earth Science Literacy is an understanding of Earth’s influence on you and of your influence on Earth.  Earth Science Literacy Principles are defined by the scientists who carry out active research in many areas of Earth science and explain the complexities of how our planet works.  Earth Science Literacy is shaped by science educators, who can best translate the big ideas of Earth science into language and learning opportunities that can be understood by all.  Earth Science Literacy is an ongoing process, continually reshaped and rewritten by new discoveries in the areas of Earth science and learning theory.

An Earth-science-literate person:
• understands the fundamental concepts of Earth’s many systems
• knows how to find and assess scientifically credible information about Earth
• communicates about Earth science in a meaningful way
• is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding Earth and its resources

Why is Earth Science Literacy Important?
Earth is our home. We rely upon it for our existence in many different ways.  Its resources feed us and provide the materials of our way of life.  Even modest changes to Earth’s systems have had profound influences on human societies and the course of civilization. Understanding these systems and how they interact with us is vital for our survival.  Earth Science Literacy is especially important at this time in history.  There are many challenges facing humanity—dwindling energy and mineral resources, changing climates, water shortages—directly relating to the Earth sciences.  There are many difficult decisions that governments, local and national, will have to make concerning these issues, and how well humans survive the twenty-first century will depend upon the success of these decisions.  We need governments that are Earth science literate.  Human history is a record of the creativity and ingenuity of people solving difficult problems.  The solutions to the current Earth-science-related challenges will also come from human creativity, as individuals or corporate businesses. However, as our modern society and its needs have become increasingly complex, so have the solutions.  It will take a deep and subtle understanding of Earth’s systems for future generations to be able to feed, clothe, house, and provide a meaningful existence for all humans.  We need citizens and businesses that are Earth science literate.