U. S. Senate Recognition
EARTH SCIENCE WEEK (Senate - July 15, 1998)
Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, in the nineteenth century, Merriwether
Lewis and William Clark explored the western reaches of our expanding
country. As they explored my home region of the Pacific Northwest, Lewis
and Clark cataloged the mineral and natural resources of the land. In
particular, they spoke of a mighty river known to the local inhabitants
as Nch'i Wana, the Great River. We know it today as the Columbia River
and its importance as a reliable source of water and power to the people
of the Pacific Northwest is undeniable.
When Twentieth Century American explorers embarked on a similar journey
to explore the Moon, one of their earliest actions was to bend down
to the surface and pick up a rock. That simple movement framed an ancient
reflex that underscores the basic imperative to explore our surroundings.
Today, I want to recognize the important role played by the earth sciences
in expanding our economy, supporting our national goals, and increasing
our knowledge of the larger world.
Modern geophysical research reveals that ours is a dynamic planet.
On the Earth's surface, great tectonic plates shift continental positions
with terrific force. On the ocean's surface, microscopic plants and
animals help regulate global atmospheric gases and serve as the foundation
of our planet's food web. In the deep ocean abyss, mysterious and wondrous
animal communities thrive in endless darkness by deriving life-sustaining
nutrients from active volcanic vents.
Earth science is a global science that speaks a global language and
unites people by promoting sustainable development. The study of earth
science provides the skills necessary for locating and utilizing natural
resources, understanding natural processes that often conflict with
human designs, and comprehending our natural heritage through the unusual
perspective of geologic time. The unique panorama of geologic time allows
us to observe the full range of natural processes on Earth and aids
in developing a comprehensive view of the natural world beyond a perspective
limited only to that of human influence.
In my home state of Oregon, we celebrate the land and respect the power
of nature. We have learned to protect our citizens and expand our economy
by working with nature and prudently mitigating natural hazards. In
consideration of the importance of the earth sciences in the daily lives
of all Americans, I submit, for the Record, the resolution
issued by the Association of American State Geologists.
The resolution follows:
Whereas the earth sciences are fundamental to society; and
Whereas the earth sciences are integral to finding, developing,
and conserving mineral, energy, and water resources needed for society;
Whereas the earth sciences promote public safety by preparing
for and mitigating natural hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes,
volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, and coastal erosion; and
Whereas the earth sciences are crucial to environmental and
ecological issues ranging from climate change and water and air quality
to waste disposal; and
Whereas geological factors of resources, hazards, and environment
are vital to land management and land use decisions at local, state,
regional, national, and international levels; and
Whereas the earth sciences contribute critical information that
enhances our understanding of Nature,
Therefore, be it resolved that the second full week of October
henceforth be designated as Earth Science Week.