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Giroud Lecture

Healing the World: A Geosynthetics Solution

Dr. Nathalie Touze-Foltz Antony Regional Center
National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), France

Dr. Touze-Foltz has been conducting research on geosynthetics for the past 23 years, with particular emphasis on environmental applications. She has authored about 170 papers. She is the head of the regional center of Irstea near Paris, a French public research institute, which has been at the forefront of geosynthetic research since 1972. She serves or has served on a number of national technical committees especially for the use of geosynthetic clay liners and geomembranes. Her experience has been acknowledged in the field of standardization and she has served as convenor of WG4 (hydraulics) in ISO TC 221 and CEN TC 189. She is currently vice-president of the council of the French Chapter of IGS. She has been elected on the IGS council twice (2010-2014 and 2014-2018). Dr Nathalie Touze-Foltz was a Keynote Lecturer at the Eurogeo 4 and Eurogeo 5 conferences. She was also an invited lecturer at the 7th International Conference on Environmental Geotechnics in 2014 (Melbourne, Australia).


Does the world know an unpreceded crisis or not? There seems to be no consensus on the answer. Clearly the situation, has greatly improved between the conditions of life between the 17th Century and nowadays in terms of food quality and quantity, water and water treatment, life expectancy, poverty, violence, environment, freedom, equality, education (the good old days were terrible!). However there remain a number of inacceptable situations around the world and improvements can still be performed. The world is a complex organism, experiencing numerous troubles: economic and financial crisis, environmental crisis, agricultural crisis, sanitary crisis, psychological and identity-related crisis, crisis of values and sense, political crisis. Facing a systemic crisis the solution has to be global. How can geosynthetics and the geosynthetics community contribute to the resolution of the crisis and help healing the world? Technology is usually emphasized but will not be sufficient. What are the values of the IGS on which we can rely? 35 years after the creation of the IGS, the objective of this Giroud lecture is to emphasize, through the analysis of recent lectures and papers the way geosynthetics contribute today to the resolution of the economic and financial crisis, bring solutions for the preservation of water resources, for feeding the world, mitigate natural disasters, preserve our environment, connect people, help them learn to live together according to universal human values.