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Ecology

Pesca e turismo

Resilience. Sustainability. A Good Life.

People who are addicted to drugs are mostly in a bad way. They actually need some therapy to get off the poison. But not every addict takes the decision to detox and then have therapy: not with heroin, nor with alcohol and even less so with smoking, whatever it is that is being smoked. Many people maintain their dependencies and live well, or so they say. It’s similar in our economy. It has settled into dependency. Our economy is addicted to subsidies, especially in one business sector. In tourism, all the poison is injected by Brussels and Lisbon. This time, …

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Choose your shipwreck.

Ilha da Barreta We begin our voyage on board the ‘Praia das Conchas’ catamaran. It’s a 35 minute hop providing due time to appreciate the wonderful landscape of Ria Formosa stretching from ‘Portas do Mar’ in Faro through to our destination, Barreta or, as it is more commonly known, ‘Desert Island’. To these names, many locals also humorously add on the epithet of ‘pirate island’. With the experienced Captain Raúl Vicente at the helm, the voyages passes peacefully and calmly while opening an insight into the dynamic that men and nature can daily draw upon. On arriving at ‘pirate island’, …

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From pizzas to slow-travel

Case 1 From pizzas to slow-travel We wander the streets in which the traditional white of the facades throws back the light and the heat of a January day managing to conjure early spring. We pass a resident and various visiting international tourists, who without exception all greet us with a smile and a “Bom dia” almost as warm as the magnificent weather. We feel something genuine and find it difficult to believe how this village, less than a decade ago, lay in ruins and was down to seven inhabitants. Located in the council of Vila do Bispo, in the …

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Garranos

Faia Brava

On the trail of wild horses Once again, I’m out and about on foot. We have left the off-road vehicle behind where the terrain became impassable. We carefully follow the tracks on the paths over the hills. It has been raining, the weather bringing moisture and the cold over from the Serra de Estrela. There are hoofmarks of wild horses in the ground. Here and there, some quite fresh horse droppings can be seen in the grass of the reserve, a few older cowpats too. The ones that are still warm show us that we are on the right track. …

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LPN

National green fuel

There is nothing new about the rise in forest fires resulting from the predominance of eucalyptuses in Portuguese forests. However, ever since October, environmental organisations deem the situation has taken a turn for the worse due to the entry into effect of decree-law No. 96/2013 (1), the controversial legislation termed “The Eucalyptus Law”. This legislation allows for landowners to plant eucalyptuses on plots of less than five hectares without bothering to notify the national Institute of Nature and Forestry Conservation. In practice, this is swiftly driving an increase in this forestry type, which according to the non-governmental organisation Quercus, already …

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Larus cachinnans

Love at first sight.

Monchique. Henk Hin has always loved being part of nature. At least, that’s where he feels at home. Since he decided to settle in Portugal, he has been passionate about taking photographs of animals and plants. He always wanted to learn how animals really live and what curative properties rare plants and herbs have. You have to be quiet, move slowly, have lots of patience and keep coming back. Animals stay where they are, or they come back, if you are quiet and don’t disturb them. But young people don’t learn that, nor do they learn about looking properly. “Over …

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Mobility

People and Mobility.

Let’s start with the good news. Portugal is in 6th place in the global Climate Change Performance Index (1), directly behind Denmark and Sweden and ahead of both Switzerland and Germany. And the bad news? The reduction in greenhouse gases coming from emissions from industry, agriculture and forestry, from power stations, from buildings and households but especially from transport and mobility can mainly be attributed to drastic cuts during the economic and financial crisis. Important though a balanced national budget may be, savings alone are of little help when major investments in the right ideas and projects are lacking. Political …

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ECO123 Tesla Testdrive

The Future Now.

There it is in front of the door, and it looks like a completely normal car. Could even be a BMW. You don’t feel the difference until you’re sitting in it. On the dashboard, I find a 17” touch screen. It’s the car’s nerve centre. Roberto explains how it works. The computer (or the NSA) controls the navigation system, the internet connection, the front and rear cameras, the built-in telephone, the media centre, energy consumption and all the other personal control functions which you have to adjust yourself before setting off. You can say that the car is a machine …

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Solar Impulse

To tell the story of SolarImpulse – the first solar aero plane project – we have to begin seven years ago in Switzerland. Here the idea was born. This summer the initiators and pilots André Borschberg and Bernard Piccard flew with it across the USA covering more than 5.600 km despite being confronted with heavy weather challenges. SolarImpulse, the first airplane ever to fly day and night on solar energy only, proved the reliability and efficiency of clean technologies and renewable energies. SolarImpulse took advantage of Switzerland’s long tradition of technological innovation, research and entrepreneurial excellence. Over the centuries this …

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Ecological fabrics

Ideals: the road to success

At a time when clothing-related allergies are becoming increasingly worse, the online shop Tecidos Ecológicos (Ecological Fabrics) has invested in supplying ecological fabrics. This means that the manufacture of the fabrics is sustainable (1) because, by avoiding the use of chemicals, the effect on the health of the planet and its inhabitants is reduced to a minimum. But also because all types of synthetic dyes or those produced through genetic manipulation are avoided. All the items sold by Tecidos Ecológicos have certification from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards), an organisation involving the USA, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan. The …

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