The actions of wind, water, and people all change the land surface. Earth-science information plays a critical role in determining how well we adapt to the changes and, in the longer term, whether we can live in harmony with nature. All of the earth-science issues discussed in this report are global issues. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore also faces the challenges presented by each of these issues. Following are some challenges we must face.
The natural processes discussed in this report have been occurring for millions of years. Earth-science information provides us with estimates of extent and rates of change. We need this information to transform the challenges presented here into opportunities for locating new or additional land, water, and mineral resources; for emphasizing prevention of contamination rather than cleanup; and for increasing our ability to live in harmony with nature.
Responsible stewardship of our natural resources requires the balancing of human needs and expectations with resource realities. Although in theory many of these resources are renewable, they are renewed at very slow ratesoften not in our lifetimes. Responsible stewardship accommodates these limitations.
Coordinated multidisciplinary efforts and increased cooperation among Federal, State, and local agencies, universities, and the private sector will help ensure that lessons learned at one scale or in one location will be communicated to people working at a different scale or in a different location.
Research and field investigations by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service have enhanced the understanding of the processes affecting the Earth, but more work is needed. Through concerted efforts, earth scientists will be able to provide decisionmakers and the public with the information and interpretation they need in order to plan wisely for future generations.
If we are going to live in harmony with our changing landscape, we must manage it and use it wisely.
Our challenge is to reduce our dependence on energy and minerals and to reduce the pollution and contamination that are byproducts of our consumption.
Last Updated: 27-Apr-2009