- WHO IS
Coordinator of a ``tertulia``, a sort of periodical social gathering (2000-2013)
A formal “tertulia” in Spain is a regular gathering of a small group of people to chat or debate about anything, usually literature or politics, and very frequently the same people in the same place where you can eat, or at least drink something decent. In 2000 (see Founding Act) I started a tertulia by name “La Gallera” (= the Cockpit) with a group of friends and others that joined later, that lasted for 13 years. We started in Casa Maquila, then El Brasilia, thereafter El Rincón Canario, later Tasca El Montadito Loco and finally at Tasca Óscar Dominguez, all lovely popular restaurant-pubs in La Laguna. Meetings were held invariably the second Wednesday of every odd month from 8:30 pm until 12:00 pm. As the ‘Convener Cock’, I made the calls, very often in verses.
Our approved Statutes have one single article:
«All is allowed, except for: (1) not sticking your neck out, (2) beating you opponent at the table, and (3) using the mobile phone.
The members of La Gallera were varied on purpose, as were the topics at steak (rarely politics). We had an industrial engineer (expert in rockets and history of Cuba), an Astropaleontologist (who speaks Arabic), a medical doctor and philosopher, a historian (specialist in Masonry), a Quantum physicist (expert in the Bible, Talmud and Coran), an architect (compulsive reader), two astrophysicists (male and female), a filmmaker, a radio-speaker (Zen-Buddhist), an economist, a writer, a transplanted German (unclassifiable), an archeologist, a chemist, an IT-expert, a lawyer, a librarian, a psychiatrist, and a multi-purpose biologist (that`s me). Fortunately, we never met all at the same venue, or it would have been too explosive. Although, we estimated in 390 the number of wine bottles consumed.
This activity should perhaps not be included in these professional records, but I would not exchange it for any of the others.
Member of the Advisory Committee (1995-2011)
César Manrique (1919-1992) was a great Canarian artist and landscape architect with an extraordinary sensibility for the environment and commitment to fight for it. I was impressed by his effervescent character, and the Fundación César Manrique (FCM) is his heritage to all of us. It is very active in promoting cultural activities, especially in art, and has become a respected reference and alarm bell in environmental issues in Lanzarote.
When President José Juan Ramírez and Director Fernando Aguilera asked me in 1995 to join the Advisory Committee, I accepted immediately. We meet once a year and I receive from time to time manuscripts to be evaluated for publication. Also two of my own books have been nicely published by the Foundation.
The FCM also regularly invites eminent thinkers to give conferences. That gave me the opportunity in October 25th, 1995 to meet for the first time Professor Ramón Margalef (1919-2004), with whom I had a close relation and debt. I never assisted to his classes at the University of Barcelona, but I am a deep “margalefiano” in my understanding of Ecology having thoroughly studied his ideas or discussing with him by phone. My book on the Psychosphere is dedicated to him as homage. A great scientific mind, indeed.
In 2013 the economic crisis imposed some reduction to the FCM`s activities. I hope that the Scientific Committee can be re-launched soon.
Evaluating I+D co-operation projects between Spain and Latin-America (2006-2007)
CYTED stands for Science, Technology and Development and is part of the co-operation program of Spain with Latin-America. During 2006 and 2007 I performed several evaluations of projects submitted in the thematic area of Sustainable Development, Global Change, and Ecosystems. The process is similar to the peer-reviewing of scientific manuscripts you are familiar with, but it is more structured, with fixed guidelines, proposals are usually much longer, and it has more impact on the parts involved (groups of researchers from different centers and countries), as financing depends normally on the evaluation results. It is for free, and it takes time to do a conscious job.
President of a small film production company (2001-2003)
In 2001, I helped Pepe de Miguel to launch Digitalia, a small company for audiovisual production and post-edition in the digital era. I knew him from the University of La Laguna as student of Ecology, and thereafter from a documentary series about Canarian national and nature parks (see audiovisual section) in which I wrote the scripts and acted as presenter. He was the director and post-editor, and he was very good (also as cameraman). The series had a high public impact and I enjoyed very much with the challenge of playing little-Attenborough and helping to adapt scripts to image and vice versa in a lovely somewhat anarchic working team (Bernardo Rosseti, with the steady-cam, Mandi Capote with the music, etc.) inspired by Pepe.
Nonetheless, my role at Digitalia was more as financial supporter than as script-writer. Also my daughter Laura worked with Pepe in production for some time. After a few years Digitalia was running well and promising, so I left the Presidency and the society itself. It is still active.
In fact, the heading of this activity section should have been “Scriptwriter”, as I have done so occasionally for other companies like TV7 Producciones, Videorepor, or Aquawork headed by Rafa Massieu, a friend and superb underwater cameraman.
Director of the Canarian Office for Institutional Relations at Madrid (1994-1995)
To have a sort of “embassy” or office for institutional relations at Madrid, was a long desired objetive of the Canarian Government. When I was approached by President Hermoso to set up such an office, which has nothing to do with ecology or the environment, I did not catch the problem. The different parties of the Coalition Government did not trust any candidate from the other group and my name as a neutral professional capable of organising thing was considered as a plausible solution. I weighted the relevance of the case and accepted, provided that neutral statutes for the office were formally approuved (I drafted the text). So they did, by Decree 20/1994.
In May I moved to Madrid and found in Fernanflor n. 8 a noble building just in the backyard of the Parliament that suited the purpose. I started from scratch fusing four flats in the basement, refurnishing them, guiding the decoration, bringing artwork from the Canaries, and organising the staff. The end result was a functional setup, very respectable, and with some glamour, I like to think.
The ORI was formally opened in February 1995 with a celebration in high style. A few months later it was running smoothly with parliamentarians and Canarian officers doing business in Madrid were using their facilities. Work done!. I presented a report to the President with copy to the Library –as I always do– and resigned from my post.
Spanish representative in several expert committees (1982-1986)+
During my period as civil officer of ICONA (National Institute for the Conservation of Nature) and in some occasions thereafter, I attended as Spanish representative several committees of experts linked to the Council of Europe, as well as some especial campaigns or working groups. Meetings were held normally at the Palais d’Europe, at Strasburg, and work was pioneering and always rewarding within the “family” of colleagues that attended regularly: Peter Gay, O’Connor, Dr Norderhaugh, M. Ribau, Peter Baum, Cyril des Klemm, Martin Speight, E. Fernández-Galiano, Steffano Alavenna, etc.
T-PVS Standing Committee of the Convention of European Wildlife and natural Habitats (1982 -1986)
CDSN European Committee for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
→ SN-VS Committe of Experts for Wildlife (1982-1986)
→ SN -ZP Committee of Experts for Protected Areas (1982-1986)
→ SN-PM Committee for Planning and Management of Natural Environment (1983-1985)
1983 – Databases in the Field of Nature Conservation
1988 – Europe a Common Heritage Campaing
1993 – Planning ENCY-95, European Nature Conservation Year
President of a computer store local franchise (1983-1988)
For some years 1983 – 1988 I helped my brother with a computer business at the times personal computers were slowly starting to enter our lives. I invested money, acted occasionally as part-time manager and as for years president. I do not like much business life, but the good side was that I caught the train of technology and got familiar with Basic language, DBase III, and computers like Apple II, Osborne, IBM PC, Sinclair and others that may sound prehistoric today. At the end I lost my money and surrender to the evidence that selling is not my best.
Senior Advisor for editions and cultural activities (1980-1985)
The Commission of Culture and Education of the Island Council of Tenerife established an “Aula de Cultura”, which is a sort of think tank of selected people for giving advise or taking charge of cultural activities, including the edition of books. In November 1989 I was appointed to join the “Aula the Cultura” centering my interest in the publication policy of the Island Council. Among other issues, I drafted the guidelines for the editorial activity, fixing collections, styles, goals, etc. I left in 1985.