Sunday, August 18, 2019
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KYOTO is everywhere.

KYOTO is everywhere.

High meat consumption causes many CO2 emissions: Why is it urgent to reduce our ecological footprint? What would it be like if human beings didn’t walk on two legs, but on all fours? And what if the meaning of life for the human being was just to be slaughtered by a two-legged pig and turned into sausages? We would be fattened with a cocktail of Brazilian soya-beans and artificial hormones and kept in a confined space, so that, after a year, we would be fat and overfed. Then we would be sent to an abattoir, where we would be anaesthetised …

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Heroes defending the climate

Reducing meat consumption is a challenge, a positive or a negative thing? The food in Monchique is based on pork… I think it’s more a change in habits. For me, it’s actually more pleasant. It seems that natural things look better … Vegetarian food looks attractive and it tastes better. Do you have your own vegetable garden? Yes, we have a little vegetable garden. And the citrus fruits all come from Lagos. We use them here at Óchálá. And from there we also get all the herbal infusions and plants with which we make the teas. We spend some time …

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Dealing with the elements

In reviewing this year, I see that dealing well with fires has nothing to do with heroism or cowardice, but with responsible attitudes. Let’s put our emotions to one side in the discussion about the fires and let’s deal with the subject in a level-headed way. Be careful, don’t play with fire, my grandparents warned me. At the age of five, I had found a box of matches in the kitchen cupboard and started burning leaves in the back garden. Today, two generations have passed and I agree with the advice they gave me. In the countryside, in the forest …

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For Nature and Sustainability

For Nature and Sustainability

Forests connect the soil to the sky. Trees are not only composed of their visible parts: trunk, branches, flowers and leaves, but they also have a root system that is complex and full of life. After the fires in Monchique, we decided to start a new botanical garden on a plot of 1.5 hectares that we had just purchased and which burned in the fire. Now we challenge the reader. You can participate, passively or actively, in this ECO123 project, choosing to plant a tree, or asking to have one planted in your name, in the new botanical garden. Become …

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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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Use Water Without Abuse

Tamera at the lake There is a community living in Tamera, in the municipality of Odemira in the Alentejo that now totals 200 people. With the assistance of the nature-friendly Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer, they created a model that demonstrates how productive agriculture based purely on rainwater retention is possible in a region that is dry in summer. In March 2007, I was invited to Tamera for a consultation. The question was whether it would be possible to create a model site for the production of healthy food for 300 people in an area of 130 hectares of dry landscape …

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Rainwater: slow it, spread it and let it seep

Droughts, desertification, heat waves, floods: the consequences of climate change are intensified by a water balance that is out of equilibrium globally. In some parts of the earth, farmers, different initiatives and landowners are meeting this challenge with simple, local measures – and successfully. The principle they follow is always the same: rain should seep into the ground where it falls. Decentralisation instead of centralisation. One successful example of this is Tamera, in the municipality of Odemira in the Alentejo. Every organism needs water. Whether an area has sufficient water or not determines its value for everything that lives there, …

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Water here, but not there…

ECO123 spoke with the Administration of the Algarve Hydrographic Region, (Administração da Região Hidrográfica do Algarve) part of, the Environment Agency, (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente) based in Faro. The office in Faro has responsibility for the Algarve. There are five main offices across Portugal and the other offices have responsibility for the Alentejo, Tejo, the North and the Centre. The Environment Agency has five strategic goals: to increase the level of protection, recovery and enhancement of the ecosystem; to increase the level of protection of people and goods in a risk situation; to improve the knowledge and information available about …

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The colour of white coffee

There is little in life that is black and white. However, the present-day river Tejo (the Tagus in English) is just that. It’s black on one side and white on the other. Transparent water alongside dirty water. This separation of the waters in the middle of the river is not due to force majeure in the classic, divine sense of the expression, but rather in a much more contemporary sense: the pollution of the river Tejo is due to the major paper factories on its banks in Vila Velha de Rodão. Until recently, no one had the courage to point …

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We have reached a production of 74 million litres

Monchique’s water has been known since the time when the Romans occupied the Iberian Peninsula. Endowed with unique properties, this water, with its ‘strange flavour’ (as various consumers have mentioned ever since it first began to be produced commercially), has recently become a synonym for quality and well-being. After passing through a period of financial difficulty, the Sociedade da Água de Monchique, which had held the concession for the commercial exploitation of the region’s water since 1992, was taken over in 2010 by the Braga-based company WaterBunkers SGPS SA. It rapidly evolved from being an own-label brand to become a …

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