Wednesday, June 28, 2017
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Habita Jovem

Vitor Carlos da Silva Maio The programme is entitled “Habita Jovem” and it supports young home owners with financial subsidies for the appropriate restoration of ruins in Monchique. Vitor Carlos da Silva Maio is 33 and his new old house is nearing completion. He’s been working hard on it since 2011: he’s built a new roof, insulated the walls professionally, assigned all the electrical rewiring and sanitary installations to specialists, ordered new doors and windows, laid floors and much more. It has also already been decided that he will be sharing the beautiful new old house with his partner Joana …

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Traditional Seeds, eleven years preserving

Every minute, a small farm disappears in the European Union (BEDE). One reason is the pressure of monocultures as a result of the devaluing of the rural world. This disaster is all the more serious because, along with the farms, the traditional seeds that families have been cultivating for generations are disappearing. The only parallel with this situation is climate change, aggravated by the loss of agricultural biodiversity. This decline started with the Green Revolution in the mid-1950s, and is continuing at an accelerated pace, now with the serious threat of genetically modified seeds. We have received good news from …

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Campo Aberto

Rede Convergir – North The Association ‘Campo Aberto’ (literally “Open Countryside”), based in Porto, is an association for protecting the environment that aims to debate and promote the exercise of citizenship in the environmental field, focusing on natural, rural and urban aspects. This organisation brings together everyone who has an interest in and is concerned about environmental matters. José Marques was born in Porto and is 70 years of age. He is currently the president of the Associação Campo Aberto. He has been participating in ecological movements in Portugal since 1974. “It is an association that works in different fields, …

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School of Laughter

Rede Convergir – Centre The school of laughter in Vila Nova de Poiares publicises and promotes the practice of laughter yoga. This contributes to improved physical and mental health with the aim of finding spiritual harmony in a fun way. Joanne Helms, aged 45, has been certified in laughter yoga for about 12 years. This instructor does her artistic work under the name of ‘Ana Banana’, and she devotes herself to the teaching of laughter yoga as “a global mission dedicated to social peace,” she told ECO123. After working in different circus companies in Portugal, she joined the Red Nose …

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Quatro Ventos

Rede Convergir – Sul The aim of the project ‘Quatro Ventos’ (literally “Four Winds”), created about a year ago, is to get people to connect with nature and to re-establish a healthy relationship with the planet’s ecosystem. The association was conceived by Tycho Huussen, a 38-year-old Dutchman. The idea of the association is to spread information and teach about ecology and permaculture. The aim is to demonstrate the advantages that arise when there is a greater connection with nature. The way in which this association communicates its ideas in different communities is by planning a number of activities relating to …

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Building a different economy

By solidarity economy is understood the series of “processes, be it formal or informal, of production, exchange, consumption, distribution, income generation, saving and investments, that combine economics with solidarity, an ecological perspective, cultural diversity, critical reflexion, participatory democracy and local development.” This is the definition that is expressed in the manifesto of the Portuguese Network of Solidarity Economy (RPES)(1), a project that is in full development and which ECO123 will be following closely. According to Júlio Ricardo, director of the Terra Chã Cooperative(2) in Portugal “there are huge numbers of solidarity economy events, but people don’t know about them because …

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Light in the European house?

How is one to uphold confidentiality on the one hand and transparency on the other, two such contrasting values in politics that are normally mutually exclusive? In the Brussels of the EU, it can be done. Political life there operates in the same way as in the German fairy-tale of Schilda, a village that once had to be re-built. However, it was only when their houses were finished that the villagers noticed that the architects had forgotten the windows. And so from then on they lived in the dark. But then the village head hit on an idea. They could …

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Combinations of Algarve Flavours

ECO123 went to meet some small producers who add value to Algarve gastronomy. Through their work, regional products are turned into culinary specialities that satisfy a wide range of tastes. Fresh Algarve goat’s cheese, honey and medronho brandy are some of these traditional products that are perfect for discovering the flavours of the Algarve. Traditional fresh cheese The Queijaria Martins in Portela da Nave in Salir, which opened in 2009, makes fresh goat’s cheese every day. This small factory, owned by Idálio Martins, distributes its product in Salir, Messines and Loulé. Aged 33, the owner of the cheese factory says …

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Villages with hope for the future

Rede Convergir – Centre Part of the “Rede Convergir” (Converge Network), the project “Há Festa no Campo!” (literally: There’s festivity in the countryside) aims to support the local development of Juncal do Campo, Freixial do Campo, Barbaído and Chão da Vã, four small villages in the district of Castelo Branco, by organising activities of a cultural and social nature. Promoted by a group of associations and other organisations and run by the Associação EcoGerminar (1), this project is funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (2), and is planned to last for three years, until 2016. According to Marco Domingues, chair …

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Bringing people and rivers together

Rede Convergir – North Throughout history, rivers have played a key role in the establishment of human communities, from which they drew their sustenance, and for the development of communication networks. The relationship between humans and rivers is an ancient one, and, for millennia, has been balanced and beneficial. However, in the last few centuries, and particularly in recent decades, the negative impact of human activity has become evident in the water courses. The unrestrained and generalised use of the rivers as a system for disposing of waste has contributed to a large extent to the marked degradation of the …

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