Why is Geology Important in Life and to Civilization?
Geology is defined as "the scientific study of the origin, history, and structure of the Earth." Almost everything we utilize in our lives has something to do with Earth. Homes, streets, computers, toys, tools, and so on are likely made of materials obtained from the Earth. Although the sun is the ultimate energy source of Earth, we rely on “Earth" energy sources for our daily energy requirements (oil, carbon, nuclear energy obtained from uranium, etc). Geology science is of paramount importance to locate those Earth energy sources, how to extract them from Earth more efficiently and at a lower cost, and with the smallest impact on the environment. Water, an important natural resource, is scarce in many parts of the world. The study of geology can help us find water resources underground to reduce the impact of water scarcity of people and civilization.
The study of geology also encompasses Earth processes which may affect overall civilization. An earthquake can destroy thousands of lives in a few minutes. Also, tsunamis, floods, landslides, droughts, and volcanic activity can have an enormous influence on civilization. Geologists study those processes and can recommend action plans to minimize damage in case such events will occur. For example, by studying flood patterns of rivers, geologists can recommend areas to avoid when building new cities,towns, and residential neighborhoods in order to prevent future damage. Earthquake science, although a very difficult area of study, can help minimize damage to life and civilization by estimating where earthquakes are most likely to occur (known as fault lines) and to recommend the type of technology to be used in the construction of buildings in these vulnerable areas.
Many business enterprises rely on the information generated by geology and geologists for their activity. Gold, diamonds, silver, oil, iron, aluminum, and coal are all natural resources obtained from the Earth. These materials serve as the basis for many business enterprises. Geologists and the science of geology are at the core of these business activities. The activity of geologists is essential in helping finding these and many other Earth science materials. Even a simple material such as sand or gravel needs to be found and extracted from the Earth and can be utilized in construction of homes, businesses, schools, etc..
In reality, geology has not yet been recognized as an important science in today’s civilization. It is more likely that genetics, chemistry, and medicine have received more media attention than geology. But the truth is, that we all depend on Earth materials found by the activities of geologists and by the study of geology. Thus, geology is important and will continue to be very important in life and to civilization.