Earth is a pulsating planet, peaceful yet violent. In a word: alive. Since its initial, extremely hot stage of existence, about 4.56 billion years ago, the Earth has been slowly cooling off; its dynamics allows it to disperse its internal heat. The relationship between the Earth and humanity is increasingly intense: demographic growth and technological development demand an ever greater use of energy sources and larger supplies of food and water. Understanding how the Earth works is indispensable if we want to employ its resources in a sustainable manner and defend ourselves from natural risks. The planet’s vitality, after all, is what makes it hospitable for human life.
Carlo Doglioni is a member of the European Academy, the Accademia dei Lincei and the Italian National Science Academy. He teaches Geology at the Sapienza University in Rome.
Silvia Peppoloni is a researcher at Italy’s National Geophysics and Volcanology Institute and the secretary general of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics.