jueves, 30 de noviembre de 2017

Environmental Threats and Challenges


When oil was discovered about a couple of centuries agothe world depended on muscle power and animal work to cultivate the land and grow enough vegetables to feed the population.  Also, industrial production depended on animal work. 
When oil was found, humanity was able to invent oil-powered machines which could do as much work in one hour as 100 people in a whole day.  Then the world started to develop much faster than before, because construction, agricultural works and transport became much faster and efficient.  In addition, crops were much more abundant and did not fail, because pesticides and fertilizers, which come from petroleum too, helped to protect harvests from bugs and production increased. 
However, not everything was positive.  On the one hand, people have so much power to transform and degrade the land that we are harming our natural environment seriously.  Furthermore, the machines which use oil fuels send so much co2 into the atmosphere that plants cannot absorb it, and this is causing greenhouse effect and global warming, which are affecting the balance of the atmosphere, causing a climate change:  temperatures rise and there are droughts and floods. 
Besides, we consume so many products and produce so much waste that we are creating huge dumps that are polluting the soil and the waters; apart from exhausting the earth's natural resources. 
In conclusion, either we reduce consumption and look for new and cleaner sources of energy or it will become more and more difficult to live in our planet.  

Excellent subtitled video

martes, 31 de octubre de 2017

Pure sensibility

While we are freaking out because the government of our country and the government of Cataluña are behaving like robotic jihadists leading their people towards confrontation, violence and who knows what else might come in the future-the least will be economic and social suffering, again-, a 13-year-old girl speaks in front of a conference of world leaders and proves that she has more common sense, which is the kind quality which is supposed to belong to grown up, mature people, than all world leaders together.

In a world where the top goal for many people in the developed coutries is becoming rich and have lots of things, as the best way to happiness, the girl tells us that if we destroy the world, our environment; no matter how much money or property we have, no matter how much suffering we cause with our greediness, no matter anything, there will be no future for anybody anymore.

There is a part of the speech I specially like, because it unveils the cinical pose of adults:  " You tell us to respect others, not to fight with each other, to clean up our mess...to share, not be greedy...so, why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?",


domingo, 22 de octubre de 2017

Burning Galicia or burning the world

Last Saturday was one of the most appalling days I remember concerning environment.  Our land, Galicia – and Portugal, and Asturias, because the consequences will affect all the world, make it our land-, was all in flames.  
Pontevedra was covered in smoke, and we were not undergoing half the terrible moments of Vigo, Nigrán, Ponte Caldelas or Ponteareas.
What the reasons of such madness are is difficult to understand.  Whatever the motivations are: building more houses, getting a longer contract with the fire brigades, screwing up your neighbours or just being such a fool that you can’t help lighting one more fire- or several- when you see flames; do not worry arsonists, you will also live in hell when the world becomes an unhabitable place, whether you are wealthy or poor, powerful or a pariah, own an anti-everything shelter or just no house at all.  Disaster will make everyone of us equal.

miércoles, 27 de septiembre de 2017

Ellen DeGeneres

Commencement Speech.

I am sure it is one of the funniest and most unusual speeches ever given at a university.  But it was uttered in a perfect Engligh, with a wide variety of grammatical construtions and vocabulary, and lots of irony and sense of humou, which I think will be an entertaining way to learn or review both aspects of the English language.

Link to text and video : Commencement Speech

viernes, 21 de julio de 2017

A Visit to CIFP Carlos Oroza

By Emma Vail 

Yesterday, the 4th B class of the high school IES A Xunqueira I traveled to the nearby culinary vocational school, CIFP Carlos Oroza, to learn about their recycling efforts. As we stepped off the bus, we were met with an odious stench that nearly knocked us back onto the bus. That stench, we later learned, was the compost made of the remains of the food the school produced, to be used in the future as soil in their vegetable garden. Those vegetables will be used in future dishes, which will in turn become compost. And so the cycle continues. 

The directorial staff greeted us as we entered the building, and they led us to a cafeteria room where we put on plastic gowns and shoe slips to cover our clothes, as well as hairnets. Everyone looked ridiculous, and the students were giggling and taking pictures with each other – probably for Instagram. Our guide, Ricardo Fernandez, explained the school’s mission and told us about the recent recycling initiative they had undertaken. Their efforts centered on an evaluation of different parts of the school and how well students and staff were following the pre-established recycling protocol. The consensus: there was ample room for improvement. We left the cafeteria and went on a guided tour of the school’s cooking classrooms and restaurant.  

Ricardo, a teacher at the school, wore a chef’s white jacket with his name embroidered on the lapel. He spoke in Galician, but I was able to catch most of it. Ricardo explained the recycling protocol everyone was supposed to follow, and lamented that they didn’t. In practically every classroom we entered there was a breach of protocol, though minor. The system was well laid out, the only problems seemed to be noncompliance and misunderstanding. One thing that did seem to be well established, however, was the compost system. We visited the site and learned about how the process works while standing alongside the steaming piles of refuse, which was comical for a few moments, then just turned gross. The poor man who works the compost must have a hard time making friends. 

One of the rooms Ricardo showed to us was a trash room, through which trash and recycled material come down through chutes and are transported out by trucks. The chutes’ openings were located a floor above the trash room in a small room off a kitchen. However, this innovative and efficient system was not used, he explained, because the school’s bureaucracy had to process the change before switching to this system.  

At the close of our visit, the school’s students generously provided us with an array of snacks and smoothies they had made in their kitchens, which we had just toured. Salpicón, croquettes, empanadillas, and Serrano ham are a few examples of the delicious spread we enjoyed. It was a treat to see how a Galician culinary school worked, learn about their recycling efforts, and taste their food at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and give a hearty thanks to the students and staff of CIFP Carlos Oroza!