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Earth Science Literacy Initiative (ESLI)


The Earth Science Literacy Initiative (ESLI), funded by the National Science Foundation, aims to gather and codify the underlying understandings of Earth sciences into a succinct document that would have broad-reaching applications in both public and private arenas. It will establish the "Big Ideas" and supporting concepts that all Americans should know about Earth sciences. The resulting Earth Science Literacy framework will also become part of the foundation, along with similar documents from the Oceans, Atmospheres and Climate communities, of a larger geoscience Earth Systems Literacy effort.

The primary outcome of the Earth Science Literacy Initiative will be a community-based document that clearly and succinctly states the underlying principles and ideas of Earth science across a wide variety of research fields that are funded through the NSF-EAR program, including Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry, Geomorphology and Land-Use Dynamics, Geophysics, Hydrologic Sciences, Petrology and Geochemistry, Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology, and Tectonics.

The Earth Science Literacy framework document of Big Ideas and supporting concepts will be a community effort representing the current state-of-the-art research in Earth sciences. It will be written, evaluated, shaped and revised by the top scientists working in Earth science. Because of its validity, authority and succinct format, the ESL framework will be influential in a wide variety of scientific, educational and political settings. Future governmental legislation will be guided by it, and future national and state educational standards will be based upon it.