Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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There's no such thing as rubbish in nature

There’s no such thing as rubbish in nature

I you he she it, we you they. We are all throwing something away at this moment. It’s easy to say, isn’t it? Into the rubbish. Something away. Out of sight, out of mind. After me, the flood. Or maybe not? I’m standing in my kitchen collecting up the bottles from the past month. Eight empty wine bottles, and an empty bottle of olive oil. It’s the day I go to the glass container and clean up my apartment: bathroom, bedroom, living room, kitchen and study. I have also found a very practical solution for my used paper, which I …

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Modern Times

The year is 2020. There’s no one sleeping in the streets in Portugal any more. No one has to stand queuing in the soup kitchens of the charitable associations. The beggars have disappeared. The universal basic income in the Welfare State of the 21st century has arrived in southern Europe. Portugal, the smallest of the five southern EU countries, has decided to provide each of its citizens with a basic income. The EU’s pilot project is beginning. Prime Minister António Costa and his government, which has had a stable majority in a coalition in parliament with PAN since the last …

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Beggar in Lisbon

Support a universal basic income PROSPERITY + FREEDOM

From 25 to 29 September at the Assembleia da República, the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon, scientists and politicians will come together for the World Congress on the Universal Basic Income ( to discuss its introduction. What is a UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME? How does it work? How is it financed? Does it make economic sense? And, above all, is it socially fair? No strong democracy is based on losers. Digitalisation and automation, the abandonment of coal, oil and gas, and the adoption of renewable energy and robot technology are revolutionising our world of work. The world over, these changes will take …

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Our aim is to transform the ruins

Monchique is one of the municipalities in the country that has suffered most from depopulation and, in the last 40 years, its population has fallen by half, to around 5,000 at present. To reverse the trend towards depopulation and ensure the town’s sustainability in the coming decades, this Algarve municipality is focusing on incentives to retain and increase the local population, with support for the construction and reconstruction of buildings, exemption from municipal taxes and tariffs, and complimentary projects and technical support for people wishing to settle in the municipality, along with other initiatives. But will these measures be sufficient …

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Investing in the energy efficiency of residential properties

and decarbonising transport 2016 was the hottest year since records started being kept of the planet’s temperature in the nineteenth century. Governments now seem to be facing the problem head on at an international level, and, following the agreements established in COP 21, COP 22 in Marrakesh has accelerated the implementation of those processes by the countries involved. José Mendes, State Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, told ECO 123 what is being done in Portugal, and in different parts of the world, in an attempt to slow down global warming. In addition to electrifying the transport system, producing …

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Ecological building, healthy living

Rolf Disch, who was born in 1944, is an architect. He lives and works in Freiburg, Germany. Disch became well known thanks to his special architectural achievements in the field of solar house construction. In 2003, he won the Global Energy Award for this. He is the inventor and designer of the energy-plus houses. In 2009, he won the Utopia Award. Characteristic of his renovated and newly-built houses, housing schemes and office buildings is the fact that they are CO2-neutral and architecturally unique. They produce more energy than they consume. ECO123 visited this pioneer in the cabin of his “sunship”. …

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About a better life: Make our country a better place

I recently bought myself an Interrail ticket for 224 euros. I used it to travel for five full days within a fortnight through half of Europe. The idea that I could stop here and there, get out and take my time, increased the sense of anticipation. And so I consulted the timetables of Portuguese and Spanish railways CP and RENFE. In doing so, I was amazed to discover that there is only one rail connection between Lisbon and Madrid (and back). Why? For the 600 km between the two cities, the train needs 13 hours. I realise that we in …

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It’s difficult to know where I feel at home

Lourdes Picareta | Film-maker Lourdes Picareta was born 58 years ago in Santa Iría, in the heart of the Alentejo. She completed her schooling in Almada. She speaks Portuguese, German, French, Spanish, English and Greek. Two years after the 25 April Revolution, she moved to Germany to study history, art and German philology in Mainz and Munich. Afterwards, she started to become interested in journalism and joined German television, where she still works for several broadcasting institutions at the ARD. Every year, she makes three or four long documentary films, many of which are also broadcast by the French-German channel …

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The Island of Tranquillity

Vedanta Saraswati | Yoga A yoga teacher since she was 19, British citizen Vedanta Saraswati always wanted to be able to offer retreats. She decided to look around Europe to see if there was anything she could afford. To run a venue for this, you need fresh air and quietness surrounded by nature. So she came over from England to Spain and Portugal in the summer of 2005 and had no idea what she was looking for. A series of pictures went through her mind. One of them was of soft rolling mountains. Near Monchique, she found what she was …

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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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