It was Groucho Marx who said "I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member. " Fortunately for me, I think membership in the CSEG is an exception to this "rule". I hold our Society in high regard and think I am capable of making a positive contribution as I embark on a two-year journey as a member of the CSEG Executive. One often finds oneself in an elected position somewhat accidentally, especially when there is any sort of volunteerism involved. It rarely happens overnight, and it's usually the culmination of several phone calls, eventually wearing you down, and you feel as though you're in a line-up where everyone takes one step back except you, and you find yourself standing alone out in front. Well, not completely alone because there is a whole executive committee who has succumbed to the same set of circumstances!
No matter the circumstance or the inner calling, it truly is an honour to serve the CSEG. For me, I feel that during the 18 years since I joined the Society I've received a lot. After a time, conscience catches up and one feels the tap on the shoulder that says it's time to give back. Taking part in the inaugural meeting of the new Executive, I found myself reflecting on my career as a Geophysicist and my membership in the CSEG. Each time I attend a convention or event associated with our Society I think to myself how fortunate we are to have chosen a career which affords us the opportunity to be a member of such a close family. Have you considered the longevity of this family? Doodlebug in its 51st year, Ski Spree 36 years, Doodlespiel 31 years, and the Society since 1949. Regardless of the sector that employs you in our industry, there is a camaraderie that surfaces when we all have the opportunity to meet year after year. From Bird Dogs to Party Managers, Interpreters to Slashers, Geophysicists, Technologists and Data Brokers, we shed our affiliations and simply enjoy being part of the Geophysical discipline. There can't be man y other disciplines or societies that have as much fun as we do in Banff, Jasper, Fairmont, or in downtown Calgary.
I have often wondered what makes our discipline so unique, so special. It seems to me we have enough critical mass to be vital and notable, but not so much as to be oversized and unwieldy. In this way it's not difficult over the years to get to know just about everyone in our Society in one way or another. Over time, although you may not ever remember all the names, the faces start to look familiar. It's difficult to stereotype the personality of someone drawn to geophysics, and I think that's a good thing. Without exception those who I know well are multi-talented. Passionate about their careers, they are also passionate about the arts, avid outdoor enthusiasts or sports participants. More than likely, these are the traits that drew me into geophysics in the beginning and kept me challenged and inspired.
Inevitably, when you look back you also look ahead and wonder how Geophysicists and the CSEG will be sustainable for another 50 years. It's difficult to say whether we are in growth or decline. Every time I see those demographic charts with the 40+ age bulge (wow, am I there already?), it's obvious we're not graduating enough new students to replace those who are about to retire. Given the productivity that technology has afforded us, we seem to have the right number of jobs for graduates. However, a couple more years like 2002, which saw our geophysical service sector decimated, and there may be even fewer jobs and worse yet, a demographic of undergraduates that are scared to death to venture into our industry. Surely this has got to be one of the most important issues facing the 2003 chapter of the CSEG Executive, because it touches the core of the business of the CSEG: promoting the science of geophysics.
I echo what has been said by several others - we have a vibrant CSEG that at this point does not require fundamental change. However, a read of the RECORDER 'Letters to the Editor ' February 2003 would suggest that there are some in the Membership who believe the CSEG is still a Society trying to thoroughly define itself. Rarely has an issue been debated with as much passion as the 'Kyoto Letter', causing many to wonder, perhaps for the first time, exactly what is it that the CSEG should be doing. For the most part, this debate is good, because it provides your Executive with a variety of feedback spanning the membership. Without this dialogue, the volunteers you have voted to serve you can only debate among themselves about what they perceive to be the things that matter. It was interesting to read passionate comments from respondents who felt it was imperative for the CSEG to be involved with broad issues such as environmental pollution and global warming, and some on the other side of the issue who felt the society had no business getting involved with Kyoto whatsoever.
It is with these issues that our Society continues to grow and change. At the foundation of the CSEG, like the Stanley Cup playoffs, the tradition continues with spirited social events, a vibrant yearly Convention, and a solid publication in the RECORDER. Beyond the tradition, this edition of the Executive will certainly endeavor to spawn new ideas in support of promoting the field to which we're all very proud to belong.