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Ecology

We can be heroes, just for one year…

Humanity is facing a grave crisis. This crisis originates in a small molecule: carbon dioxide. There isn’t a high concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, but its effect is enormous. Through the release of carbon dioxide, we are warming our planet as we are permanently burning petrol, diesel, coal, gas and other fossil fuels, emitting CO2 – lots of CO2, tons of it in fact. ECO123 is writing today about the climate crisis, a formidable challenge which demands action-based solutions. How can we solve this problem?   There’s no point in beating about the bush: eight months after the challenge …

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Nature Reserve destroyed by avocado plantation

Clive Viney is the co-author (with Ray Tipper) of the book “Algarve Wildlife: The Natural Year.” As a nature lover and a long-term resident of Tavira, he is alarmed at the erosion of land and the destruction of natural habitats in the nature reserve near Castro Marim. Part of the Reserve has been given over to “the latest fad of avocado planting”. He is asking questions and demanding answers from IICNF (Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests), SPEA ( Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds) and other agencies. His actions have prompted the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment to …

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Salgados

People have short memories. They barely notice slow changes, because they are always moving on, without paying any real attention to a place on a regular basis. Recognition of the value of nature suffers because of this deficit in human awareness. Increasingly people are living in urban areas, in a permanent state of unease, in a space and a time that overshadows nature. In the deceptive safety of the city, nature is used merely for decorative purposes. A tree here and an avenue there, seemingly refuges of peace and quiet, such as Central Park in New York and the Botanical …

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Do it yourself and avoid waste

Today I will focus on oral hygiene and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. When I buy toothpaste it almost always comes in a cardboard box as well as the tube, which annoys me. Why double the packaging costs and waste? And is it necessary to use plastic? I produce a very practical salt for oral hygiene and put it in a used but well cleaned small jar that in this way is used again and doesn’t have to go to the bottle bank. Whatever container you use to store your dental salt in, it can always be reused. Recipe for …

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For they know not what they do

The photos are clear. Two employees of the municipality of Monchique are spraying herbicides onto public pavements. The two men suspect perhaps that they are doing something they shouldn’t, because otherwise they wouldn’t be wearing white full-body suits, mouth protection or gloves. They are protecting themselves – but who is protecting the people, plants and animals? When I ask them why they’re doing that and if they know what they’re doing, they wave me away angrily. Clear off! they shout. But I stay. Less than 15 minutes later, a mother pushes her pram over just these cobblestones. A cat, a …

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Photos - Uwe Heitkamp

Another Festival

People who want to focus the general public’s attention on a special idea or product organise a festival. That is typical of our part of the world. A beer, wine, orange and medronho brandy festival, bird watching, ham, sausage, and confectionery festival. One festival follows on the heels of another throughout the year. They could also be called fairs or jamborees. What is certain is that the 5th Ameixial Walking Festival will be taking place this year from Friday 28 April to Monday 1 May in the southern municipality of Loulé. And in fact it’s good publicity for a different …

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What should I take with me on my hike?

Via Algarviana GR13 Hiking signifies a return to our roots, to an original form of life and to our innate speed. All our senses are awake and feel, see, smell, hear and taste nature. When we go walking, our thoughts become sharper. This old pilgrims’ path is about 330 kilometres long. It takes us 14 or 15 days to walk it. A good rucksack and no more than 10 kilos of luggage for men. Important things are: one pair of long trousers and one pair of shorts, two shirts, one pullover, two pairs of non-slip socks made of wool/flax and …

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Planet of no apes?

The apes are dying out. Until now, large areas of the rain forest in Sumatra and Borneo – where the vegetation grows on wet peatland – were being further deforested to make way for agricultural palm oil plantations. Through arson, the now dried-out peat and the methane stored in it caught fire. For more than three months, fire fighters and the military tried to put out the fires. In vain. Stinging clouds of smoke covered large parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Schools were closed. The normal day-to-day life of the people living there became impossible. Even with smoke masks on …

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Portuguese Hike

I was on a journey and awoke at night, but I wasn’t sure to start with if I had already been asleep and dreaming, or if I hadn’t slept at all yet, whether dream and reality weren’t just two states that merged together and overlapped with each other? Somehow, images and voices had blended together in my subconscious. I turned the light on and looked at my watch. Five past midnight. Some drunks were mumbling away in the next-door bar. The yellow neon glow of a street light came through the blinds into the bare room, where I was trying …

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biomassa

The forest is full of energy

Words can be interpreted in different ways. The same does not apply to numbers. Numbers are just numbers, and that’s it. Statistics from the year 2012 show that Portugal imports about 80% of the energy it consumes. Most of this comes from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. There should be more arguments against these facts so that the situation could become more environmentally friendly. Some countries in Europe have taken great strides forward in ecological terms, in particular Germany, which now produces about 8% of its energy from biomass. What don’t we do the same in …

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