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The monopoly

Without it nothing works. And it’s been that way since 1976. It’s a business worth millions. Only someone who’s on the inside really knows what’s going on in there. It’s one of the big businesses that are still very profitable and in which the state and governments, regardless of their politics, continue to have the last word and where, until recently, it was the state itself that collected the profits. It’s become a legal drug, electricity. The electricity business in Portugal has been monopolised for too long. Permission to sell electricity allows you to accumulate wealth and arrogance that are …

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The commitment?

Witnesses and experts of the catastrophe that struck Monchique a year ago were heard at the public hearing in Monchique on August 3rd. One of the goals of those present, amongst whom was Rui Lopes, commander of firefighters, married and father of two, was to re-examine the failures of 2018. “Commitment” was the keyword of his speech. Please explain to us the meaning of the word “commitment”(compromisso). It can have several meanings: agreement, obligation or debt. When we talk about forest fires there has to be an agreement, a commitment on the part of all those taking part in the …

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The desirable future of solar energy in Portugal

As a researcher working on the governance of energy transitions in 2016, I was fascinated by the relatively slow growth of solar energy in Portugal despite the amazing potential. I crafted a research project to explore this with a focus on accountability relations, and successfully competed for a position at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation in Norway, where I feel fortunate to explore this and similar issues with some fantastic colleagues. Between 2017 and 2019, I have spent about five months in Portugal, studying the multi-sited and multi-scalar geographies of solar energy uptake, from the capital Lisbon to …

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The legacy I will leave to my children is whatever is left by the mine

Covas do Barroso, Chaves. Over the past few years, a teacher living in England from Covas do Barroso, Trás-os-Montes, has swapped Portuguese and English books for the Mining Journal, lithium market reports and the minutes of international mining conferences. Catarina Scarrott, a mother of two children aged 2 and 7, fights passionately for the land on which her family has lived for more than ten generations. This is the land to which she would like to return, were it not for the lack of access and services. This is the land that British company Savannah Resources wants to gut in …

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FF Solar Supplement

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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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