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Ideas for a greener world

Activities related to the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development and the International Year of Glass in 2022.

We live in a limited world, but the population is growing all the time. Conciliating the survival and well-being of mankind with the sustainability of the planet requires a deep social, economic and political transformation, which in turn implies awareness at all scales. One of the initiatives on a global scale are the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations, as well as some of the international years declared by the organisation itself. Among other commemorations, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development and the International Year of Glass, and in Barcelona, various spaces and initiatives give us ideas to contribute to a greener and fairer world.

The basic sciences are those disciplines that focus on describing how nature works and generate new knowledge without a need for specific application. Biology, physics and chemistry are examples of basic sciences, all of which hold the key to tackling major global challenges such as climate change, the energy crisis, food, health and the preservation of the environment. On the other hand, in an era dominated by plastic and all the environmental problems derived from it, the maximum use of materials and circular economy models allow us to reduce the impact of our actions on the environment. Glass is a classic alternative to plastic, reusable, highly recyclable and multipurpose.

In this context, Barcelona's Network of Sustainable Facilities organises a host of activities throughout the year and in all the city's districts to help people adopt responsible daily habits and become aware of our actions. In parallel, the Ateneus de Fabricació Network provides you with spaces, tools, and physical and digital resources to materialise transformative ideas, and the Repair Networks offer workshops where you can give a second life to those objects that do not work or are obsolete.

Understanding the world helps us to take care of it. Some citizen science projects encourage non-specialists to generate new knowledge about the environment by getting involved in real scientific research. These are projects attached to the Barcelona Citizen Science Office, such as Floodup, on extreme weather phenomena, Plant*tes, to study the relationship between urban flora and allergies, Riunet, to measure the environmental health of rivers, or Mosquito Alert, to monitor the spread of invasive mosquito species.

Several centres and faculties also contribute to this basic knowledge, much of which they share with the public through face-to-face and virtual activities, and open days. Examples include the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia, the faculties of Earth Sciences and Biology of the UB, the Botanical Institute of Barcelona, the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and many more. One infrastructure worth highlighting is the Barcelona Supercomputing Center's Mare Nostrum supercomputer, essential for research that requires integrating a huge volume of data and processing it at an enormous processing speed. The centre offers virtual and face-to-face visits by appointment.

In Barcelona, you will find a multitude of spaces and initiatives to discover why the world is the way it is and what we can do to preserve it.

Publication date: Tuesday, 04 January 2022
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