In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly declared the year 2008 International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) under the auspices of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Its main objective, encapsulated in its slogan, "Earth Sciences for Society" is to promote the importance of Earth Sciences to society at large and to raise awareness of the role of geosciences in solving the many problems that mankind faces.
The IYPE has programmes with the aim of supporting scientific research and promoting the earth sciences, particularly among schoolchildren and students. The main themes of this IYPE are groundwater, soil, resources, natural hazards, the oceans, biodiversity and climate change.
The alarming situation we are currently facing is due to the extremely toxic relationship we have with our planet, in particular the unbridled use of its resources. When making decisions on environmental issues, it is only natural that we should turn to those who know the Earth's transformation processes best, the geoscientists, and for this reason the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) is closely involved with the initiative.
This stamp issue represents the four elements, set in circles, to remind us of the importance and beauty of the environment which it is our duty to preserve, not only for ourselves but above all for future generations.
Issue date: 2008/03/25