The effective altruism movement

Peter Singer, invited by the Grífols Foundation, has come to Barcelona to talk to us about the Effective Altruism Movement. A philosophy and social movement which applies evidence and reason to working out the most effective ways to improve the world. Not only helping, but helping others in the most effective way.

Henry Spira defines it best when he says: “I guess basically one wants to feel that one’s life has amounted to more than just consuming products and generating garbage. One likes to look back and think that one’s done the best one can to make this a better place for others. It’s not a sense of duty, but rather tis is what I want to do. I feel best when I am doing it well.

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My father was my hero and my role model

JavierCon estas palabras describía uno de los hijos de Javier a su padre hoy en su funeral. Un discurso sencillo, emotivo, cercano. Sorprendentemente maduro para un chaval de apenas 17 años. Sailesh, sin dejar ni un segundo la sonrisa que le caracteriza, ha narrado con una serenidad casi inexplicable el recuerdo imborrable que deja en él su padre.

Lo confuso y triste que se siente porque su padre no verá crecer a sus hijos, porque no verá cómo son capaces de alzar el vuelo del nido, y vivir una vida independiente. Sailesh nos ha hecho revivir a Javier con su pose, su voz profunda, sus palabras claras y directas. Cuando le he dicho lo mucho que se parece a su padre me ha dicho “es que yo siempre he querido parecerme a él, yo quiero ser como mi padre”.

Nos ha dejado uno de los primeros intérpretes que conocí cuando inicié mi andadura profesional. Una persona a la que jamás vi alterarse por nada y que destacaba por su sonrisa y afabilidad. El intérprete más polivalente, casi podríamos decir, a cualquier idioma, de cualquier idioma, nada le asustaba, parecía que hubiera vivido más vidas que todos nosotros juntos. Y sin embargo jamás le oí hacer alarde de nada. Y eso que, como ha explicado su hermana, su sed de aprender le llevó hasta las mismísimas Antípodas.

Me decía una intérprete, al despedirnos, que Javier vivió con una intensidad serena. Yo diría además que vivió con una serenidad intensa,  combinación a veces difícil de encontrar.

Descansa, Javier. Intentaré seguir todos y cada uno de tus consejos. Me uno al deseo de tu familia, que tengas un feliz último viaje. Vete tranquilo, Javier, tu labor de padre ya ha empezado a dar fruto.

El Meu Pare. Sailesh Guijarro 19 junio 2014

Ocean acidification and warming in the Mediterranean Sea

baixaThe sea is where all life on planet Earth began.

There was a time when the oceans were considered so vast and inexhaustible taht man would never be able to affect them.

But years of overfishing, pollution and hábitat destruction have forever changed that image.

And now, we are even altering the very chemistry of the sea…

150% increase in the acidification in our seas and oceans by the year 2100!

The European Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate (MedSeA) initiative is a project funded by the European Commission under Framework Program 7.  It involves 22 institutions (including 6 associated partners) from 12 countries.

MedSeA assesses uncertainties, risks and thresholds related to Mediterranean acidification at organismal, ecosystem and economical scales. It also emphasizes conveying the acquired scientific knowledge to a wider audience of reference users, while suggesting policy measures for adaptation and mitigation that will vary from one region to another.

The story of this “our sea”

patín de vela

When I was requested to inaugurate and close the 4th Congress on the Maritime History of the Mediterranean Network, I felt like one of the luckiest women on the planet. A congress in one of my favourite museums? The Maritime Museum of Barcelona? This museum housed, among other temporary exhibitions, one that was dedicated to the sailing Patin, with photographs that closely followed the history of the Catalan Patin from its origins till its most evolved form today. Characteristically, it has neither rudder nor board, those indispensable elements for sailing. Its features make it ideal for plying coastlines.

The congress looked at sailing from another point of view, that of the “big vessels”. We listened to Carlos Martínez Shaw, who with “A Complete History of the Sea and its Shores” delighted the audience in the opening speech with a review of this “Our Sea Mare Nostrum”, giving us the keys to understanding the growth of trade and navigation through time. Truly a pleasure.


Something more than a weather man

tomás molina

Tomás Molina is more than just the most famous weather man in our country. He has a degree in Physics from the University of Barcelona. He is the head of the weather forecasters of channel TV3, senior meteorologist of the SAM (Audio visual Meteorological Services), and presenter of “The Weather” in TV3, 3/24 and La Nit al Dia.

Well versed as well as active disseminator in issues related to climate change and environmental risks, he holds, among others, the post of interim chairman of the Climate Broadcasters Network of Europe.

Over the years he has participated in the Environmental Conferences organised by the University of Barcelona and Bodegas Torres. Today we assessed the chemical state and the quantity of subterranean water in Catalonia, technologies related to the management of slurry and finding a use for water from polluted aquifers. It was a pleasure to hear his dynamic presentation once more.

And thank you Tomás for offering to take a photograph with me to promote my blog!

Jane Goodall: hauríem d’observar més els animals

DSC_0555“Hem perdut la relació entre el nostre cervell intel·ligent i el nostre cor humà”, diu Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall va venir  a Barcelona per recollir fons per finançar l’institut que porta el seu nom. Va participar dilluns 12 de maig en un acte de recaptació al Col·legi d’Advocats, coincidint amb la celebració del seu  80 aniversari. La primatòloga i etóloga Jane Goodall va visitar també El matí de Catalunya Ràdio, amb Mònica Terribas, per parlar de la seva tasca en la defensa de la conservació del planeta i de tots els éssers que en forman part, especialmente els ximpanzés.

Donna Leon: ser famoso no es bueno para nadie

Imagen 002 (1)La escriptora i pregonera del Sant Jordi d’enguany al Saló de Cent de l’Ajuntament de Barcelona afirmava, en una entrevista amb Mònica Terribas, que “ser famós no és bo per ningú, per això no vull ser famosa”. Què fácil és la nostra feina quan tenim la sort de passar una estona amb persones properes, càlides, entranyables, modestes i potser per això, malgrat seu, “famoses” per tots nosaltres, seguidors fidels del gran comissari Brunetti!

“Gràcies Silvia Palà per ser aquí amb nosaltres una vegada més i per ajudar-nos amb la seva feina a arribar a Donna Leon”, diu la Mònica Terribas. ¡M’agrada aquesta descripció de la feina de l’intèrpret! Però és un sentiment mutu. La Donna Leon, amb les seves paraules, també va saber arribar clarament a tots nosaltres.

Gràcies Mar de Seix Barral per fer-me les fotos!Imagen 003 (1)

Cuatrecasas and Dara

I spent all of today in Cuatrecasas. But I don’t want to talk to you about the Board meeting. This post is dedicated to Dara and all the Daras in the world who brighten our days with their smiles.

I’m taking a short break outside the meeting room while I wait patiently for my turn. The morning is particularly dense, the members of the board keep interrupting each other (probably inevitable!), and their comments made in undertones make our task particularly difficult. I must definitely have heaved a sigh, because Dara appears with a coca cola and a glass and surprises me with her smile. “Feel like a coca cola? Or maybe you’d prefer a light?” Dara doesn’t know the word “lazy”. She introduces herself as the waitress: “my job is that you have everything you wish for and that you are comfortable for all of the time you will be with us”.

She serves the coffee with the same elegance and discretion, aping the professional zeal of the lawyers she works for.

I asked for her email to send her this post and she praises my handwriting while she informs me (the smile again) that the meal looks exquisite, that it is ready and that there are two types of salad!

Indeed, the balance sheet is important. So too, the annual turnover. As well as profit before tax.

But nothing would be possible without the diligence of all the pieces in the puzzle. And Dara, undoubtedly, is one of them.