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The Lesvos Petrified Forest Museum of Natural History has announced a series of events aimed at projecting the renowned Forest but also the unique natural heritage of the island of Lesvos and the Aegean, in the context of the UN-designated "2008 International Year of Planet Earth".
The 60th UN General Assembly declared the International Year of Planet Earth as a 2008 international observance, spanning the years 2007-2009, aimed at projecting the importance of the geo-sciences in tackling the modern-day global environmental problems and at promoting economic, social and cultural development.
The declaration of the International Year of Planet Earth is a joint initiative of UNESCO and the International Union of Geo-Scientists (IUGS), and aims at ensuring a more efficient use by society of the knowledge that has been accumulated in the ongoing research by the approximately 400,000 geo-scientists worldwide.
In the framework of celebration of the International Year, in which governments, scientific organizations, universities, research institutions, museums and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are taking part, a variety of events are being scheduled with the purpose of increasing public awareness of the immense environmental issues faced by the planet, and realisation that the contribution of the geo-scientists is decisive for creating healthier, safer and more prosperous societies.
Taking part in the observance of the 2008 International Year of Planet Earth, the Department of Geography of the University of the Aegean in Mytilene, on the island of Lesvos, is organizing an international conference titled "Studying, Modelling and Sense Making of Planet Earth", with the support of the UNESCO Natural Sciences Sector.
Contemporary socio-spatial problems require a deep understanding of the coupled human-environment systems inhabiting Planet Earth and, particularly, of their complex interactions in order to inform decision making from the individual to the global level. The purpose of the conference is to bring together all the disciplines that study natural and human phenomena taking place on Planet Earth, to encourage the dialogue among them and to provide discussion fora on the integration of knowledge, a task requiring a move beyond narrow disciplinary boundaries and towards interwoven theoretical and analytical schemata, according to the organisers.
The six-day conference, in early June, is organized in three streams as follows:
a. Studying the earth system - it is devoted to the natural sciences, the links within their fields and subfields as well as their links to the social sciences
b. Modelling the earth system - it is devoted to selected modelling fields with an emphasis on integrated modelling at various spatial and temporal levels
c. Sense making of the earth system - it is devoted to the social and the policy sciences and the humanities that try to make sense of the ways people perceive, function, modify and, in general, interact with the earth system while simultaneously being a part of it.
Each stream will include several sessions and thematic workshops, dedicated to cutting-edge topics in contemporary Geography. Special emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary studies, within and across streams. The final sessions will be dedicated to advances in interdisciplinary thinking in the Natural, Social, and the Geographical Sciences. Renowned scientists are invited to offer keynote speeches on the topics of each stream.
The opening ceremony will take place in the afternoon of the first day (June 1, 2008) while an excursion for the conference participants will be organized on June 6.
To provide for holistic experiences and impart the broader spirit of the unity of the Earth System, flowing from the UN agenda for the Year of Planet Earth, each conference day will comprise several events such as performances, film/video presentations, exhibitions, games/athletic events, and gastronomic tours. Morning hours will be devoted to conference sessions, while evening hours will be devoted to cultural events on earth system-related themes. The events will take place in selected places on the island of Lesvos with the assistance of several services such as the Archaeological Service, the Museum of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos (Global Geopark network member), and others. The post-conference excursion will include places of natural, cultural and historic interest on Lesvos and the neighboring islands, as well as on the Asia Minor coast across Lesvos.
The Conference language is English.
The Petrified Forest Museum of Natural History is also organising a series of events, in cooperation with the University of the Aegean and the Evergetoula Environmental Education Center, aimed at projecting the natural monuments of Lesvos and the Aegean, informing the public, particularly the youth, on matters concerning applications of geo-sciences, familiarisation with geo-science subjects, increasing awareness on environmental issues, and an exchange of views among geo-scientists.
The program includes a "European Geo-Parks Week", which will be celebrated simultaneously in all the Geo-Parks in Europe, a series of "International Year of Planet Earth" lectures by eminent scientists, university professors and personalities on geo-science topics, an exhibition and seminars on seismic risk topics, an exhibition of "Paleontology finds in the Aegean", an special event marking the May "International Day of Museums", and the Museum's annual series of summer cultural events which this year will be devoted to International Year of Planet Earth themes.
Source: Athens News Agency