Stories from Quick Reads and Western Europe
Rut Abrain reflects on her blog Esturirafi about one of the main cause of climate change: the production of carbon dioxide (CO2). In this sense, the blogger stresses out that not only factories, vehicles and planes produce CO2, but also each one of un in our daily lives. To have an idea of the magnitude of the impact of our daily activities in the production of CO2, Rut suggests us to use this calculator.
Surprised? Yes, each one of us has some responsibility in climate change, and at the same time, each one of us is able to reverse that with small actions. Rut shares some advises to reduce pur production of CO2:
[...] – Reducir, reutilizar y reciclar. Esto tienes que aplicarlo en todas las facetas de tu vida: evita productos con un empaquetado excesivo, compra productos de segunda mano, separa los residuos de manera adecuada para su posterior reciclaje.
[...] – Reduce, reuse and recycle. You have to do this in all aspects of your life: avoid products with excessive packaging, purchase second hand articles, separate litter properly for further recycling.
Rut also says to reduce our “carbon footprint“:
- Ahorra energía, tanto electricidad, como gas natural, butano o gasoil.
- Compra productos locales.
- Camina, utiliza el transporte público, la bicicleta.
- Utiliza menos papel.
- Save energy, electricity, natural gas, domestic gas or diesel.
- Purchase local products.
- Walk, use public transportatipn.
- Use less paper.
The blogger ends up with a quote by Eduardo Galeano applicable to the impact these small actions have on reversing climate change:
Mucha gente pequeña en lugares pequeños, haciendo cosas pequeñas, pueden cambiar el mundo.
Too many small people in small places, making small things, can change the world.
You can follow Rut on Twitter.
Although the focus was translation and interpretation of classic Chinese books, the necessity of learning a new language when studying a culture or being able to use the language in politics were also addressed. Two lecturers caught the interest of Ruiz, Alicia Relinque and Eduardo Daniel Oviedo. About their talks, Ruiz notes:
Relinque, nos explicó muy brevemente su experiencia personal como traductora y cómo a lo largo del tiempo ha ido cambiando su metodología en función de la obra a traducir e incluso a veces por los requisitos impuestos desde la editorial. Seguidamente expuso varios ejemplos de traducciones de otros autores
(Oviedo) trataba del papel que juega actualmente el chino como elemento integrador de la sociedad china, así como la lucha que tiene con otros idiomas para ser la lengua hegemónica a medida que crece el poder político y económico de la República Popular China, mientras expande su influencia a otras regiones del mundo de cara a la formación de una lengua global.
Relinque briefly explained us her personal experience as translator and how as time went by she has been changing her methodology according to the text to be translated and sometimes even according to the requirements by the publisher. She then talked about several translations by other authors
(Oviedo) addressed the role currently played by Chinese language as unifying element in Chinese society, as well as the struggle it has with other languages to be the hegemonic language as Popular Republic of China's political and economic power grows, as it expands its influence to other regions of the world in regards to the formation of a global language.
Now it's time to wait for the second edition on 2016 and the possibility for the Autonomous University of Barcelona to organize it. That hasn't been decided yet.
In early December 2014, the shortlist for a competition of the desing of the new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki was announced. The bulk of the building of the new Finnish venue of the famed museum of modern and contemporary art will be financed by the government of Finland and the project is already causing controversy and disagreements in public opinion.
The main sponsor of this promising project will be Finnish taxpayers, with the government willing to spend as much as 130 million Euro on the museum, which will carry the world-renowned Guggenheim name. In fact, the Finnish government will spend 30 million euros of this budget specifically on paying for the use of the Guggenheim brand. These expenses are already the cause of open outrage among local residents. For many locals, it seems particularly unfair to invest taxpayers’ money in a non-Finnish museum and brand. Many see it as sponsoring “someone else's trademark”.
Local and national media have been critical of the entire contest for the design of the museum and have called the entire project “a vanity project”.
The number of participants in the contest for the design of the new Helsinki Guggenheim was incredibly high, with more then 1700 proposals received from professional architects from more then 77 countries.
Authorities in the city have taken this and other elements as good signs and have explained that they expect the new museum to become the main tourist attraction in Helsinki, boosting tourism and the city's economy in general. Some representatives of the municipality have referenced the so-called “Bilbao effect”, describing the effect that the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain had on bringing in almost 4 million tourists to Bilbao in the first 3 years and boosting the local economy. Locals in Helsinki, however, fail to see the parallel between the two cities, as the Bilbao Guggenheim was part of a larger economic and cultural revitalization in the Spanish city.
In Finland, in response to the government's decision to collaborate with Guggenheim, an alternative competition was created for another project dubbed “The Next Helsinki”, where Finnish architects will be offering their own urban design solution for the city. On the project's official website the organizers of this effort call participants to:
“Help us seize this opportunity to highlight the city's singularity, and its residents’ appetite for social, environmental and cultural justice.”
Submissions for the “New Helsinki” contest will be open until March 2, 2015.
Collazo advises parents on how to socialize their children from very early age with new technologies, promoting responsible use of social networks. She points out that constant dialogue between parents and children about social network and their risks is important, about, for instance, damages to own reputation and other people's:
Habla sobre el sentido común y cómo aplicarlo a las redes.
Hoy en día los teléfonos ayudan a capturar imágenes y videos de situaciones cotidianas.
Recomiéndales que antes de dar al botón enviar, piensen en cómo se pueden sentir los otros con esa publicación.
Talk about common sense and how to use it with networks.
Today, phones help capturing images and videos of everyday situations.
Recommend them that before hitting the SEND button, they should think and how may other people feel about that posting.
Besides, children should be aware of the permanence of contents uploaded to Internet, the so called “digital print”. What's fun today may be a headache tomorrow, when looking for a job or applying to college. On the other hand, parents can speak openly with their children about cyberharassement and how to behave when facing these risky situations.
You can follow Andrea Collazo on Twitter.
Marita Seara, blogging for Voces Visibles, invites us to reflect on the suffering of women sexually subdued during armed conflicts. The author recommends us to watch the documentary The war against women, where director Hernán Zin describes rape as real “weapons of war” and confronts us with the reality of victims of these atrocities. Thus, the documentary shows us some figures regarding sexual violence during the most heinous armed conflicts of the last decades:
Bosnia, 1992 a 1995: 40 mil mujeres violadas
Uganda, 1985 a 2006: 4000 niñas secuestradas y violadas
Ruanda, 1994 entre 250 mil y 500 mil mujeres violadas.
República Democrática del Congo, 2008-2013: 200 mil mujeres violadas.
Bosnia, 1992 – 1995: 40,000 women raped
Uganda, 1985 – 2006: 4000 girls abducted and raped
Rwanda, 1994 between 250,000 and 500,000 women raped
Democratic Republic of Congo, 2008 – 2013: 200,000 women raped
Among the most disturbing data, soldiers from Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda confess been militarly trained from very young age to rape women. Just in one of the hospitals in Democratic Republic of Congo, a third of 300 monthly female patients must undergo major genitalia surgery.
As former UN representative in sexual violence Margot Wallstrom points out, raping women during armed conflicts destroy not only personal lives, but also the society, and instills fear within communities victims of genocide for generations.
You can follow Marita Seara on Twitter.
Bizarro's website aims to provide support to “entrepreneur parents, with children and no time, this is, people who are responsible for their lives”. There is no age, gender, condition, let alone religion that may prevent someone to become an entrepreneur, claims the interviewee and discusses the advantages of online entrepreneurship:
La primera, como he adelantado en la primera pregunta, el coste: hace 15 años invertí 20.000€ e hipotequé mi vivienda ¡hoy no lo haría ni loca!
La segunda, el estilo de vida: con una simple conexión a internet y un ordenador puedo trabajar desde cualquier lugar ¡La bomba! Una herramienta vital para la conciliación laboral.
La tercera: el efecto palanca. Me explico, con un simple artículo puedes conseguir 1000 visitas en una semana, o incluso en un día. Eso era algo impensable en la era analógica. ¡¡Ni los mejores comerciales!!
The first one, as I've already mentioned on the first question, the cost: 15 years ago, I invested 20.000€ and got a mortgage on my house. Today, this wouldn't even cross my mind!
The second one, lifstyle: with a simple connection to the Internet and a computer, I can work from anywhere. Great! A vital tool for conciliation.
The third one: the lever effect. This is, with a simple piece, you can get 1000 views in a week, or even in a day. This was inconceivable in the analogic era. Not even the best commercials!!
The comet Churymov-Gerasimenko was discovered on 1969, the same year a mission landed on the Moon. Back then, no one would have imagined that 45 years later a small spacecraft called Rosetta transporting a landing module and the hopes of thousands would touch down on surface of a comet known as Chury.
Astrophysicist Ángel R. López shares on his blog that this interplanetary journey spanned 10 years and 64 billion kilometers. Furthermore, this marks the first time that human inventiveness has made it all the way to a comet.
But this long trip isn't important just for those reasons; it also intends to clear up such transcendental doubts as life on Earth, which could have arrived on board a comet, as several experts claim.
This blogger and astrophysicist also details the cost of the mission:
La misión Rosetta – Philae ha costado a los europeos 1400 millones de euros, repartidos en 20 años. Esto corresponde a solo 3'5 € por europeo a repartir en esos 20 años. Es decir, poco mas de 20 céntimos por año.
Mission Rosetta-Philae has cost European people 1,400 million euros, distributed over 20 years. This means 3.5 € per European citizen to be distributed in those 20 years. Little more than 20 cents per year, that is.
There are also some people that are opposed to this expense, but, as Ángel R.Lopez notes, it's worth it, as a deep and important issue for human beings, if we want to stop living in the past.
You can follow Ángel R.Lopez on Twitter: @El_Lobo_Rayado
Rut Abrain Sanchez on her blog Esturirafi defines and identifies legal and volunteer product labels. Among the latter we find ecologic labels, “so manufacturers show us they are abiding by a series of requirements and for the consumer to be able to identify products environmentally more sustainable”.
There are Type I, Semi-type I, Type II and Type III ecolables. Abrain Sanchez mentions the first two of them, the most common:
Ecoetiquetas (Tipo I). Son sistemas voluntarios de etiquetado ambiental que identifican y certifican de forma oficial que los productos que la llevan tienen un menor efecto sobre el medio ambiente.
Etiquetado semi-tipo I. Estas ecoetiquetas suelen pertenecer a organizaciones sociales, asociaciones sectoriales, agrupaciones de empresas fabricantes, etc. cuyo principal objetivo es conseguir que la mayor cantidad de productos posibles se certifiquen bajo su sistema, para lograr el mayor reconocimiento posible por parte de los consumidores.
Dentro de este tipo se encuentran las etiquetas de agricultura ecológica, pesca sostenible, consumo energético, uso de madera (FSC, PEFC), productos textiles… Las que solemos encontrar en muchos productos que compramos a diario. A partir de hoy te vas a fijar mucho más :-)
Ecolabels (Type I). a volunteer system of environmental labelling that officially identifies and certifiies that products bearing it have a lesser effect on the environment.
Semi-type I label. These ecolabels usually belong to social organizations, sectorial associations, groups of manufacturing firms, etc. with the aim of having the most possible products certified under this system, to achieve that most consumers recognize the products.
This type contains labels from ecologic farming, sustainable fishing, energetic use, wood (FSC, PEFC), textile products… We find these labels in many products we purchase on a daily basis. From now on, you'll sure look more in depth at labels :-)
After watching Sweatshop TV series, where three Norwegian youngsters travel to Cambodia to discover the miserable living conditions of garment industry workers, Rut Abrain reflects on sustainable fashion.
Sustainable garments are those that take care of the environment on the electing their raw materials and their manufacturing processes. Likewise, those that respect human rights of individuals involved in the manufacturing and promote a fair international trade, without unfair competition. Rut invites us to reflect on responible use and explains thatl although there is mo regulation for sustainable fashion, there are seals that certify it:
- El más reconocido es GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), la norma líder mundial en el procesamiento de textiles hechos con fibra orgánica, que incluye criterios ecológicos y sociales, y sustentada por certificaciones independientes en toda la cadena de provisión textil.
- Otros como Textile Exchange, también conocido como Organic Exchange, que opera a nivel internacional y está comprometido con la expansión responsable de sostenibilidad textil.
- Un tercer sello es Oeko-tex, que se dedica al control de las sustancias nocivas. Se definen como un sello de garantía para todo tipo de productos textiles inocuos para la salud.
- The best known is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), world leader standard in organic fabric processing, that includes ecologic and social critera, supported by independent certifications all along the textiles supply chain.
- Others such as Textile Exchange, also known as Organic Exchange, that operates internationally and it's commited with responsible expansion of textile sustaintability.
- A third seal is Oeko-tex, in charge of damaging sustances. They are defined as a seal of guarantee for all harmless textile product.
You can follow Rut Abrain on Twitter.
“Europe is fighting its own make-believe enemy”: This is the message that a dozen of associations in defense of migrants wanted to convey when they organized a human chain between the tramway station “Droits de l'Homme (Human Rights)” and the EU Parliament station in Strasbourg on November 26. In order to put Human Rights back at the core of Europe” and oppose the policy adopted by the European Agency of Border Control Frontex, protesters held signs that narrate the tragic plight of migrants trying to reach Europe. For the past 20 years, more than 20,000 migrants have died or disappeared trying to make the journey from their hometowns into Europe.
Here are a few photos of the event :