In 2017, both the IGU and the International Association of Geomorphologists agreed to establish a joint Commission/Working Group to give effect to the Memorandum of Understanding that both organisations signed at the 33rd IGC in Beijing in August 2016. The first meeting of the new body was held at the University of Vienna (ahead of the EGU Conference) and consisted of a one-day workshop and follow-on field excursion attended by around 20 participants. At the meeting, it was agreed that there should be co-chairs (at least for the initial period). Margreth Keiler was proposed (and accepted the invitation); confirmation of the co-chair is still awaited following an approach to the person concerned. Sven Fuchs was suggested as Secretary (and accepted the invitation). Other Steering Committee members suggested include JC Lin, Jon French, Yuichi Hayakawa and Werner Nel (all members of the original IGU Commission). Margreth agreed to approach others with a view to joining the Committee.
There was much discussion about this as obviously the label or ‘brand’ needs to be accessible and understandable to the broader scientific community. There was an originally suggested a working title – which was rather long and clumsy – and this was revisited by the participants. The use of the term Anthropocene in the title was debated and it was agreed that to continue with this would be to a) invite some confusion and b) that it would not be helpful if we (as we surely do) want to grow the profile of Geomorphology within the sciences in general and the Geosciences in particular. Accordingly, the meeting agreed by broad consensus that the new Working Group/Commission should be called: Geomorphology and Society: Past, Present and Future. It was agreed that this is broad enough to encompass the interests of a wide range of geomorphologists, while being short and simple enough to convey the idea of what we are about. There is clear focus on the dualism of the relationship between geomorphology and people (and how this has developed over time) but it of course does not exclude a geomorphology that focuses on natural processes too.
The objectives that were originally proposed for the IAG (and IGU) will not change materially but some editorial work is still necessary to take account of the fact that the term Anthropocene is no longer included in the title.
It is hoped that those interested in issues around the relationship between geomorphology and people (and between people and geomorphology) and its dynamics over time will join the mailing list of the new body. Please contact Sven Fuchs if you are interested: firstname.lastname@example.org