An interview with ESAlogika - featured image 4

An interview with… ESAlogika

The next in our series of chats with the planet’s pioneers keeps us in Barcelona, where we have a word with Ksenia Rodianova from ESAlogika.

Barcelona’s renowned for its gastronomy, nightlife and otherworldly buildings. But ESAlogika is a non-profit that wants to build more momentum in the city’s sustainability scene.

Because momentum is important. Our ways of work and life are in need of change but there’s a silly amount of inertia keeping us stuck in the past.

By bringing together all sorts of curious people, influencers, speakers, and startups, at fun events (more about those below) – ESAlogika is aiming to accelerate action in Barcelona and beyond. And as a company that’s partly based in town, and partial to a bit of sustainability, we’re right behind that.

Let’s find out more…

Let’s kick things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about ESAlogika and your mission.

Sure! ESAlogika’s mission is to foster knowledge sharing on environmentally sustainable practices, connect community members and generate solutions for a sustainable future. And we work towards it by actively involving the community and increasing the momentum.

We use the term “momentum”, because there is of course a lot of effort made on all fronts to address environmental challenges but it’s not yet sufficient to change the business-as-usual attitude and we want to be part of the push to shift mindsets.

We first heard about you when looking at attending one of your ‘Tapa Talks’. We didn’t manage to get to that one but how have the events been going, so far?

Tapa Talks are fun interactive workshop events, which combine expert guest speakers, sharing ideas about sustainable practices with networking to form friendships and partnerships. We add solution-focused interactive activities and games to connect it all together in a fun way. At previous events we’ve also had quite a few clothes swaps to encourage circularity.

We are thrilled that participants seem to enjoy the events, because we try hard to carefully balance the knowledge sharing aspect (serious) and the interactive gamified approach (fun). It’s very important that people can discuss serious issues in a way that’s inclusive, fascinating and enjoyable. Our team always has a great time hosting, and judging by all the laughter, positive feedback and how our venue gets fuller each month, I think our attendees enjoy it too! Oh, and of course, Tapa Talks are free of charge to attend. It’s also part of our mission that information is accessible to all.

ESAlogika - sustainability event in Barcelona 1
Sustainability + Gamification = Fun ≡ More Impact.

What kind of audience is coming along, and who have some of the speakers been?

We have a very diverse audience to be honest, including university students, young professionals, travelling “nomads”, long-term residents, local citizens, more experienced healthy/green life “gurus”, and so on.

We’re very inclusive and we’ve already tried a bilingual event with English and Spanish. We have some more details to adjust for that, so for now we are going to keep just English, and we plan to incorporate Spanish again soon.

What makes ESAlogika different from some of the other sustainability event organizations that are in Barcelona at the moment – and do you collaborate with any?

Firstly, “sustainability” to us is something we are aiming to achieve together, as a society. Unfortunately, we are all still very far from being sustainable. Meaning, economically stable, socially equitable, and living within an environmental balance; living in equilibrium with the planet’s ability to sustain all the forms of life to maintain natural equilibrium.

ESAlogika is unlike other events, because we don’t focus on just the typical topics, instead we explore any angle or approach to seeking sustainability. We open our doors and minds to different speakers and attendees, who want to be part of the change and/or share their thoughts. Each months’ Tapa Talks is dedicated to a new topic. We invite speakers from different fields, as long as they focus on finding solutions for a sustainable future. All our past speakers are going to be listed and linked on our website, which is currently undergoing reconstruction. They can also be found on our Instagram and LinkedIn.

We centre the event around the speakers and the attendees equally. To this end, we engage everyone with activities to explore the topics in depth, discuss, share thoughts or concerns and build on each others’ knowledge for deeper conversations. And of course, the quiz, for some fun competitive spice!

We collaborate with some eco-friendly shops in Barcelona: Born Cosmetics, Manantial Drogueria, El Cambio Logico, Trementina; other non-profit organisations Clean beach Initiative; The Bloom (impact jobs); we help distribute daily sustainability calendars and sustainably-made organic candles; and of course we feature all our speakers in our Instagram posts.

Akepa Interview with Ksenia Rodionova, co-founder of ESAlogikaHow do those interactive quizzes work? Those sound like fun!

Yes, they are everyone’s favourite part! Interactive quizzes are a group activity, where one member of each team uses their phone to enter the live quiz which has 10 questions. They are mostly multiple choice questions and one longer open-ended question at the end for further reflection. Teams need to create a name, and then answer the questions within the dedicated time, using one device per team. The team with the most correct answers wins a little prize to share among its members. The open ended question is not counted in the overall score, we use it to generate further thinking. This quiz is fast, fun and related to the topic of that month’s event.

ESAlogika - sustainability event in Barcelona 1
Who’s top of the leaderboard today then?

Barcelona is renowned as one of Europe’s top startup hubs overall but how strong do you feel its sustainability scene is at the moment?

As mentioned, “sustainability” is a complicated term. Overall, we can definitely feel that the city has a lot of individual entrepreneurs who understand the need to address this topic. Much more collective effort is needed, however.

Last year we wrote about Barcelona’s urban / city sustainability – featuring some of the new infrastructures – like the Superillas (which we’re fans of). What would you like to see more of in the city’s sustainability infrastructure to take it to the next level?

Honestly, this is not my area of expertise. But off the top of my head, I would like to see further improvement in city planning, especially concerning traffic lights and integrating them to increase fuel efficiency (there’s currently a lot of start and stop which uses a lot of fuel for cars, though I don’t drive myself). Also on transport, better bike lanes that don’t suddenly disappear mid journey!

Speaking of bikes, more emphasis on public awareness: why and how cyclists are benefiting the city but also, how they should act on the roads to be respectful of pedestrians. I feel like everyone hates cyclists because they also tend to ignore traffic rules, on the other hand, the infrastructure is not designed in their favour either, so they find shortcuts. It’s a two-way thing.

More solar panels and shades in public spaces would be nice. Maybe with a two in one approach – creating shade using solar panels! And with the drought at the moment, there could be far more efficient water conservation systems. Clearly it’s an issue and it requires infrastructural design to address, keeping in mind nature-based solutions. Right now there’s too much surface run-off after rain.

Carrer Consell de Cent
Barcelona’s ‘superillas’ have pedestrianised many streets. Consell de Cent was just voted one of the 10 coolest streets in the world for 2024, by Timeout.

We’ve noticed that your website is in English, as is ours, yet that’s not the native tongue. Do you feel that English is becoming an acceptable lingua franca for the local sustainability scene and its startups – or are you multilingual?

Indeed, English is great because most people speak at least some. At the same time, it’s our goal to incorporate at least Spanish, and of course, Catalan into our actions. We’re sticking to English for now, because it’s the most accessible language to the majority, and our volunteer team is quite small at the moment so it’s tricky to figure out the language inclusivity aspect.

At the same time, we still believe that as a locally based organisation, we must put more effort into the languages.

As well as the Tapa Talks and events you’re running, do you have any other pioneering projects in the works?

Yes! We’re launching a very exciting Climate Policy Simulation workshop on April 16th, 19:00-22:00.

This is a group role-play negotiation workshop to propose climate change solutions and simulate real time their effectiveness up to 2100, using the best available up-to-date science. The workshop is run by a trained team, using En-ROADS Climate Simulator, based on most reliable sources including NASA, MET, IPCC and more. The best part of the experience is the long-term impressions that it leaves on the participants.

All participants are guaranteed to get a deeper understanding, a wider perspective and a clearer picture about how Climate Change could actually affect us and most importantly, what we can actually do to prevent it. You can watch the temperature increase or decrease as a result of different suggested actions. It’s one of a kind, truly! We really encourage all and any curious participants, it’s open for all!

Sustainability can be a tricky concept to pin down but we always ask our interviewees to make an attempt. How would you define ‘sustainability’?

When we talk about sustainability, we approach it from the environmental perspective, though it goes hand-in–hand with any other type of sustainability. Because logically, if we no longer have a stable living environment, nothing else could possibly be sustainable.

In the most basic sense, “environmentally sustainable” means we can continue using resources, producing and consuming indefinitely, without causing irreversible destruction and/or suffering for some for the advantage of others. To be in that position, we, as societies, would need to let go of many ideas about what we believe is the “normal” way to live. Because currently, our normal is based on false premises and short-sighted assumptions.

What are some of the most exciting local brands or businesses that you’re following at the moment?

I’m a huge fan of startups for impact. Within Barcelona, there are other organisations where sustainable startups work and collaborate, like Impact Hub, Norrsken House, 4YFN, Barcelona Activa, and other places to search for great startups and initiatives!

Norrsken House - Barcelona
Norrsken House is Europe’s biggest impact startup hub. Also: decent views.

I really hope that the city’s startups continue receiving support and recognition, so they become economically sustainable as well as environmentally.

Final thing: Where would you like ESAlogika to be a year from now?

Oh I love this question! One year later we want to continue featuring amazing expert speakers in our public workshops Tapa Talks; offer Climate Policy Simulation as a pre-booked activity to universities and companies or other organisations, and we would also LOVE to collaborate on at least one local project, that has a scalable effect for a real local need, such as water scarcity and food production.

Curious to learn more about ESAlogika or attend one of the events? Well here’s a link to their website – and remember the next event is on April 16th at Inusual Project – you can sign-up here.

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Akepa | Digital marketing agency for sustainable brands

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