The 21st century is likely to be a challenging one. The growing population and increasing demand for technology are going to require the discovery of new resources (water, energy, minerals) and efficient and environmentally-friendly ways of utilising them.
In November RSES hosted a symposium to think about how Earth scientists can contribute their expertise to this endeavour. The meeting, entitled “Resources for the 21st Century”, brought together scientists from academia, industry and government to discuss the latest scientific advances and to forge new collaborations between the three sectors. The topics covered were wide-ranging and included the technologes that can help reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, the complex dynamics of the energy market and how they must be managed to avoid disadvantaging consumers, the prospects for discovering new ore bodies underneath the sedimentary cover that obscures over 30% of Australian bedrock, and the remarkable role that microbes might play in extracting metals from ores.