Gigantic Cities and the New Challenge of an Old Science: Geoethics, Geoeducation, and Geoknowledge in Porto Alegre, Brazil

  • Rualdo Menegat
  • Rodrigo Cybis Fontana
Part of the The Latin American Studies Book Series book series (LASBS)


In the present time, we are facing new challenges that require us to review the role of Geology to the material, cognitive and ethic progress of humankind. The vertiginous population growth, urban sprawl, increasing demand for solid, liquid, and gaseous geosphere, the collapse of the ecosystems that support life and the climate change replace Geology as one of the most important contemporary sciences. We need to review procedures, analytical scales and contribute to civilization process. Essentially, we need Geology help develop a deep Geoethic on the use of land resources, care with the geosphere, and mankind sustainability. The Geoethic emerges as a new understanding that cleaves across all geological activities, whether of scientific practice, or the practice of exploitation of natural resources, and or also the knowledge of how geodynamics affects cities and human activities and vice versa. At the root of contemporary environmental and urban problems, whether planetary or local is how the city is perceived by its inhabitants, managers, and intelligentsia. The ascent of urban realm in the next 30 years is expected to almost duplicate the nowadays 3.6 billion inhabitants. The central challenge for the geology and Geoethics is to consider the many problems due to the complex relations between the large urban needs and geolandscape transformations. The main goal of this chapter is to describe the ascent of cities’ scales—from city and megacity to megalopolis and ecumenopolis—in order to describe connections between the physical world-city and the superficial components of the Earth systems. The techno-urbansphere is defined as the urban physical totality, which includes the man-made system and the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere’s portions transformed by it. Due to geologic scale of the techno-urbansphere, it is not possible to observe it by a citizen without technical and Earth science concepts and instruments. To offer to citizens and decisions makers accurate instruments to understand the nowadays urban geocomplexities, thematic surveys of the urban physical totality are very important. This possibility is illustrated by the Environmental Atlas of Porto Alegre case, which triggered new looks in urban environmental management, geoethics and geoeducation in Porto Alegre city, Southern Brazil.


Urban sprawl Geohazard Urban sustainability Geoethic culture Urban geological scale Urban environmental management Geosphere Techno-urbansphere 



We would like to thank to Rogelio D. Acevedo and Jesús Martínez-Frías, general editors, for the kind invitation to take part of this enterprise. Also, to thank to the reviser for many suggestions those improve this chapter. Equally, thanks to Romulo Machado (USP), Celso Dal Ré Carneiro (Unicamp), the Environmental Atlas of Porto Alegre’s team, students and teachers of Municipal Schools of Porto Alegre City that construct ILUE day by day. Finally, thanks to CNPq for research support.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de GeociênciasUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.International Association for Geoethics (IAGETH), Brazilian ChapterPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Foro Latino-Americano de Ciencias Ambientales (FLACAM), Cátedra UNESCO/Unitwin para el Desarrollo SustentableCiudad de La PlataArgentina

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