One Last Look Back at A Very Good Year

I am reflecting on this past year of the DEG with my feet propped up, iPad in my lap, a cold libation in hand – and I am smiling.

Our industry and Association are critical to the advancement of humankind and a bridge for international relationships while growing increasingly in environmental sync with our planet. We have good people doing good work for a good cause.

I am smiling because I know that the DEG has been a large part of this effort.

Consider these successes:

Our membership has grown by 15 percent.

Our AAPG members see the value of environmental considerations in oil and gas production – and especially in unconventionals. This growth has been both in the United States and internationally.

Our technical sessions during the ACE, ICE and Section meetings were very well attended – often standing room only – with important, useful and relevant topics.

And our luncheons and speakers have been outstanding.

Our DEG leadership team has completed the draft of a white paper on hydraulic fracturing that is eagerly awaited by many as a potential tool.

There is increasing readership and citations of Environmental Geosciences because of the quality of our technical content, and our field trips and short courses are well-attended.

We have a special topics technical symposium planned for 2015 on the environmental considerations of hydraulic stimulation.

Our DEG Executive and Advisory committees are committed, active and engaged in the organization, government and industry, and are comprised of highly qualified individuals who work effectively as a team. This is a gift to any organization.

And lastly …

Our members are actively engaging the public by providing knowledge and skills supporting environmental considerations for improved and efficient oil and gas production.


As a final thought I was considering our name, Division of Environmental Geosciences, and researching the meaning and history of the words by which we call ourselves.

I am not sure why – maybe it’s the libation, maybe I’m just being philosophical – but the words interested me.

“Division,” from Old Latin divisio meaning “to divide,” first used in English about A.D. 1375, with a variety of modern meanings ranging from “the process or act of dividing,” “being separated out,” to “a difference of opinion that causes a separation,” to “being a smaller part of a larger whole,” and even a meaning in logic statements.

“Of” may be the most complicated word: A simple preposition, in use before A.D. 900 and a variant of Old English, German, Latin and Greek. However, it has the powerful function to indicate the relation between words and phrases.

“Environmental” is an interesting word – in our case an adjective, older than I thought, from “environs” about A.D. 1600, first used as “environment” in 1827, and first used to include a specialized ecology sense in 1956.

In general, it means “all the external conditions and circumstances surrounding a person, place or thing.” It is a very broad term.

Lastly, “Geosciences” is a new term, from 1940-45, meaning collectively any science, such as geology, geophysics, geochemistry or geodesy, concerned with the earth; an earth science.

Generally, the older the word, the more meanings it has. The various definitions of the words in the name “Division of Environmental Geosciences” can be construed as negative, neutral or positive, depending on which definitions you choose.

For the DEG, we do not want to be thought of as negative, or even neutral, but as a positive force for good within the AAPG, our industry and globally.

As a “division,” not separated from but a part of, included in the whole.

As “environmental,” the aggregate of social, cultural and ecological factors that surround us all as related to global fossil fuel production and as “geosciences,” using the skills and knowledge we have as geologists, geophysicists and geochemists to make it all happen.

The small word “of” then becomes the binding relationship that we all have between our industry, the environment and ourselves.


It has been my honor, privilege and pleasure to be your DEG president for this past year!

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Division Column-DEG Doug Wyatt

Doug Wyatt, of Aiken, S.C., is director of science research for the URS Corporation Research and Engineering Services contract to the USDOE National Energy Technology Laboratory. He also is a member of the DEG Advisory Board for the AAPG Eastern Section.

Division Column-DEG

The Division of Environmental Geosciences (DEG), a division of AAPG, is concerned with increasing awareness of the environment and the petroleum industry and providing AAPG with a scientific voice in the public arena. Among its objectives are educating members about important environmental issues, supporting and encouraging research on the effects of exploration and production on the environment, and communicating scientific information to concerned governmental agencies.

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