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  In the night of Sunday, 5 August 2018, a swath of fire crawled over the Picota peak, from the north to the south of the Algarve, up the entire mountain and back again, destroying our beautiful mixed forest and gardens in Esgravatadouro near Caldas de Monchique on the southern side. Friends helped us fight the fire with buckets and hoses. Some of the fires would keep flaring up, but we didn’t give in nor did we accept to be evacuated. When the police did evacuate us we returned half an hour later to continue fighting the fire. No fire …

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Nº 116 – Climate protection in Esgravatadouro – Caldas de Monchique
Why not become an active member of our Botanic Forest Garden

Saturday 27th November 2021. When winter arrives in the Monchique mountains, all life slows down a little, and the first rains turn the soil humid. Every year, at exactly this time we start planting our new biodiverse mixed forest on the areas destroyed by a forest fire in 2018: a major challenge and a present to the generations coming after us. In our own little nursery we have taken out time to prepare the many different seedlings for this moment, raising them over two, three or more years in planting pots. Now is the time to gift every little tree …

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Nº 105 – Minimising the Risk of Forest Fires.
An essay by Uwe Heitkamp

Saturday 18th September 2021. By now every serious democratic candidate has been given the chance to air their views on the forest fires in a 30-minute unscripted interview. Their replies to the question of what they are intending to do to break the cycle of forest fires in Monchique, or to stop them altogether, makes it look as if they didn’t really have a solution in mind. José Chaparro, Bruno Estremores, João Duarte and Paulo Alves are the four candidates who all want to become mayor, and all of them still have a real chance to make this happen. Unless …

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Nº 97 – Will we be able to change our attitude towards nature?

Saturday the 24th July 2021 Avoiding emissions, reducing our footprint… – life today is really a lot about mindfulness. Mindfulness? asks one of ours volunteers who comes in on a Friday morning to water the trees she looks after in the Botanical Garden. What is it I should be mindful of? The birds in the forest, for instance. Listen to this nightingale over there singing its song. Remember its song, make it your own. This, claims 84-year-old German professor Gernot Böhme*, is to find art in ecology. Böhme is virtually unknown in Portugal to date, his many books not available …

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Come and plant your tree… Crowdfunding www.eco123.info

Annual subscription: now only €15 down from €18   Planting a tree reduces your CO2 footprint. Our 2025 goal is ‘Zero Emissions’. Subscribing to ECO123 ONLINE means playing your part in financing Monchique’s Botanic Forest Garden: planting trees, irrigation, forest care. Up to 15 January 2022 we offer 500 annual online subscriptions at the reduced price of €15 each, in a crowdfunding drive to raise €7,500 (incl. 6% VAT = €450). With this capital ECO123 will fund the forest fire emergency sprinkler system. Shifting 250 metres of soil €3,500, material (pumps, pipes, return valves, sprinklers) €2,600. Plus 23% VAT (€1,400). Grand …

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Nº 90 – My World Tour
Ten steps towards climate neutrality.
Step 3 – How do I break away from fossil fuels?

Saturday 5th June 2021 Every year, every citizen living in Portugal emits on average some five tons of CO2. Now, the goal is absolute climate neutrality. How can we achieve this? The first two steps described here were about learning new skills. I took a big step right at the beginning. Cutting meat out of my diet, taking part in vegetarian cookery classes and using a permaculture course to kickstart the cultivation of locally grown food on my own land results in a cut of 20 per cent in emissions. Going on to avoid the supermarkets’ freezer sections as well …

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Nº 89 – My World Tour
Ten steps into a different world, by Uwe Heitkamp
Step 2 – A hike inside the forest and the planting of trees

Saturday the 29th of May 2021 There is no me (you) and my (your) environment, only me (you) as an integrative part of this one world: an integral part rather than separated from it. There is a close bond between ourselves and nature, the living environment making up this planet. Is this true? Since starting to live in the forest I feel closer to the elements, now more so than ever. What does this mean in practice? For one, I’ve already had to familiarise myself with the consequences of climate change several times over. And I feel that I have …

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Nº 84 – Biodiversity is the only solution

Saturday the 24th of April 2021 So here’s the bad news. The EU counts among the major drivers of forest destruction. This is shown in a report just published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) looking at the consequences of international trade on deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats between 2005 and 2017. This means that 16 per cent of global tropic forest logging in connection with international trade are down to the EU. This places the EU at number two in the „World Ranking of Forest Destroyers“, behind China (24 per cent) and ahead of India (9 per …

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Nº 79 –
Obituary
The Unconditional Lightness of Being.

Saturday, 20th March 2021 It was a tragic accident. He fell at home, in his garden, from a height of three metres, off his ladder, sustaining lethal injuries. My friend Carlos has now entered the eternal hunting grounds. For me he was an Indian, who came to Monchique from the Alentejo and a foreigner in a community, a friend of nature, wise and modest, calm and well-read, a rather quiet but always attentive fellow. There will be no second Carlos in this world. He gifted us wonderful trees, two pecan nut trees, a chestnut and a cork oak, a token …

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Nº 78 – Curtains up!

Saturday 13 of March 2021 A few days ago I witnessed a very interesting spectacle. One of the reasons for participating in a videoconference with 67 people was to learn how the situation of the forests in Portugal might be improved, but also to present my idea of the Botanic Forest Garden in Monchique. However, all of a sudden the Internet started to take on a life of its own. Someone was stuttering and uttering load animal groans from the dark recess of the World Wide Web, seemingly trying to take part in the discussion, however in their very own …

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