In the vast Hall of Congresses within the Kremlin at the opening plenary session of the Fifteenth General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, the President of the Union, representatives of Soviet and international science, and the Vice Mayor of Moscow, who welcomed the visiting geophysicists, all spoke of an awareness of the environment, potential perils to the earth and man, and the responsibilities of the geophysicists to this new awareness. Such a single-minded theme relating geophysics to society is perhaps a unique distinction from any preceding Assembly. The enthusiasm of the speakers raises a number of questions about how geophysicists are to satisfy these new demands. Because, I believe, the answers are not self-evident, some further observations may be warranted.