Last July 1st I was invited to an event organised by the Barcelona Federation of Neighbourhood Associations (Federació d’Associació de Veïns i Veïnes de Barcelona (FAVB) : the presentation of the book “Ecologia i Ciutat” (Ecology and the city, in Catalan).
The book contents the proceedings of the 4th Barcelona Neighbourhood Forum (4t Fòrum Veïnal Barcelonès) where the neighbourhood movement debated on urban ecology with the participation of several other institutions and individuals linked to the ecologist and social movements in the city. The book can be obtained directly, free of charge, from the FAVB. It includes interesting papers such as the 21 proposals for a sustainable city, as emerged from the debate in the 4th Forum, the results of a survey on neighbourhood demands and their advances, a diagnosis on the environmental status of the city ranging from the concept of “biomimetisation”, the role of the women in urban ecology, sustainable mobility, energy, garbage management, the Collserola park (the green belt of Barcelona), the situation of the Montjuic hill and how the environment is affecting the health status of the inhabitants of the city.
e-Criterium wants to promote citizenship participation in everything affecting health. Environment is a health determinant. We should think how unwise it is to create a health care system to deal with problems originated in environmental factors that adversely damage our health. Although some health determinants cannot be changed, such as age, gender and inherited factors, others, as the environmental ones, can be changed: nutrition, water quality, pollution (noise, light, air,..), radiations, chemicals in the household, work sites and elsewhere and several others dependent on how we live, our life styles, and the social and community network.
The neighbourhood movement should be leading alliances and converging with other institutions interested in those issues and taking them to the Health Couincils that are he participation bodies closer to the neighbourhood and at the same time are able to influence public policies .
e-Criterium will be offering a web space to promote this leading role of the Health Councils. A communication tool between them and the general population is being designed. Minutes of meetings could be downloaded, issues dealt could be reviewed, their performance analysed and best practices be shared to develop a healthier participation.
And back to the event, a panel was presented introduced by ,Esther Argelich, environmental officer within FAVB. She also delivered a paper on “Challenges for sustainability in Barcelona city”. Other papers presented were:
– The Horta tunnel and the defence of Collserola park, by Roger Caballé, member of the Via Verda (Green Way) Group.
– The popular legislative initiative against transgenic production, by Miquel Vallmitjana, member of “Som lo que sembrem (We are what we seed)” group.
– The threat of the new incinerator by Víctor Mitjans, member of the “CEPA-Centre d’Ecologia i Projectes Alternatius (Center for Ecology and alternative projects)”.
– The rebirth of nuclear power stations by Miguel Muñiz, member of “Tanquem les Nuclears (Let’s close the nukes)” group.
A lively discussion followed.
Olga Fernández Quiroga