“PRESERVATION OF MINERAL DIVERSITY”
The very idea for sustainable development in its many aspects has always been among the main driving forces and motivations for the activities at the Earth and Man National Museum, Sofia. Specifically, the mineral diversity is of decisive significance for the sustainable development of the biosphere, being the substrate for the existence of various forms of living matter. Minerals, ores and rocks lay also in the foundation of modern technological civilization. The preservation of natural mineral diversity is a fundamental problem, equal in significance to the preservation of biological diversity. It is important to take into account that unlike living matter, minerals cannot reproduce themselves, so once destroyed they are destroyed for ever. From this point of view the role of mineralogical museums is of immense importance, as they preserve samples of the condemned to destruction non-living nature sufficient to satisfy in both quantity and quality the scientific and esthetic needs of future human generations.
The initiative for preservation of mineral diversity was born at Earth and Man National museum back in 1999. Later by mutual agreement it was named The Sofia Initiative.
In order to develop this idea were organized an Internet seminar in 2000, as well as eight International symposiums “Mineral diversity – research and preservation” in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015. The conducting of the symposiums was supported by reputable International organizational committee with President Associate professor Mihail Maleev.
The main themes of the symposiums were: “Mineral collections and their catalog publications – fundament for descriptive, genetic and applied research”, “Historic scientific and thematic mineral collection”, Mineral Diversity preserved in-situ and ex-situ – state of play”, “Monographic mineral collections”, “Scientific collections of famous mineralogists – historic and contemporary interpretations”, “Regional collections” , “Presentation of scientific mineral collections, preserved at universities, scientific institutes, museums, mine enterprises, in private collections of mineralogists – professional and amateurs” and others.
Almost 400 scientists from Argentina, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Iran, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Serbia participated actively in the discussions.
During the time of the symposiums round tables were organized for discussing different aspects of the work on Sofia Initiative like: “Organization and normative premises for preservation and presentation of mineral diversity”, “Practical experience in the work of preservation of the mineral diversity – use of national and global information systems”, “Меthods of presentation of the scientific collections aiming at reproduction of the scientific knowledge”, “The mineralogical museums and the sustainable development”, “Conservation of the minerals – problems and possible decisions”, “Humanistic functions of Sofia Initiative” and others.
After every symposium scientific trips to different mineralogical interesting sites in Bulgaria were conducted.
The Ninth symposium will be held from 16 to 18 October 2017 in the Earth and Man National museum.