Saturday, October 19, 2019
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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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Out of balance

The future of the world’s climate will be decided in the cities and by the way in which human beings feed themselves. Never before have so many people lived in urban centres, such as those in Asia, Africa and South America. But megacities in their present form are huge consumers of resources. Governments that want to put the 2015 Paris COP21 agreement into practice must start now on the transformation of the structures in their cities. Because cities also drive you mad, as is shown by a study made by UN-Habitat – “For a better urban future”. City dwellers are …

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My Homeland: the Alentejo.

This lovely film is a journey back to the place where she spent her childhood, Santa Iria near Serpa. That is where one of the best organic olive oils is produced; it goes by the name of Risca Grande. Lourdes Picareta, who has been living in Germany for many years and works for German television all over the world, fulfilled a long-cherished dream and came back to the place of her childhood, from where she embarks on her cinematographic journey. To Serpa, Vila Viçosa, Montemor-O- Novo, Portalegre and Vila Nova de Milfontes. She gets into her old white Renault 4 and goes to magic places to …

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Greenpeace on the Digital Conference re:publica

Volker Gassner (l-r), spokesman Greenpeace Germany, Jürgen Knirsch, trade expert, and Stefan Krug, Director of the Political Representation Greenpeace Germany, speaking on 02.05.2016 on the re: publica in Berlin. The environmental organization announced at the press conference that makes it public secret TTIP papers. See the file here: [gview file=”https://eco123.info/wp-content/uploads/TTIP-Leaks.pdf”]

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Being happy, the human side of climate protection

What do people need to be happy? Recently, this question has not only been of interest to psychologists and Hollywood directors, but also to ecologists, economists and climate activists. Because – and this has been proved – happy people live more environmentally friendly lives. Only people who feel empty inside, only those who are unhappy or who are not at ease with what they have and are, have to drive big cars, go on long journeys or wear expensive brands of clothes. By contrast, happy people consume fewer resources and pollute fewer seas; fewer forests have to be felled for …

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