Saturday, October 19, 2019
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Business as usual?

Thirty-eight kilometres off Portugal’s bathing and surfing beaches, four raw materials companies are searching for oil and gas in the sea. In itself, this would hardly merit a mention – after all, our planet’s raw materials are already being plundered everywhere – were it not for the fact that there have been protests, sometimes fierce ones, from all parts of society that are concerned about social and ecological issues. Even some areas of business are signalling a clear rejection, especially tourism, which is responsible for 10% of the country’s income. There’s an outcry. There are three questions. Why are companies …

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In the shade of the big fig tree in my garden, I often sit and ponder the world. I wonder, for example, why, in my microcosm, more and more storks are losing interest in the flight from Europe to Africa? Or why the swallows are starting their acrobatic flights as early as January and setting off in search of a mate? Why the brown dog tick, well known for tick-borne diseases, clings to my dog’s neck in deepest winter at a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius and sucks its blood despite a tick collar? And, while I’m peeling and eating …

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Let Us Build Aquaponics In Our Garden

Want to make your world a greener place? Let Us Build Aquaponics In Our Garden The number of people who take care to enquire where and how their food is produced is growing steadily. More and more people want a guarantee that their foodstuffs, whether vegetables, salads or fish, are produced locally, in an ecologically impeccable manner, and in harmony with nature. Fruit and vegetables produced oneself or grown in the region, ok; but fresh fish too? Aquaponics = Hydroculture + aquaculture. The number of people who take care to enquire where and how their food is produced is growing …

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UROBORO makes itself useful

Good news from the Higher School of Art and Design in Caldas da Rainha – IP Leiria  Uroboro* is a completed research project that has led to an everyday product which also has the objective of promoting environmental education in the home. It is an invention for cutting the disposal chain of biodegradable waste in urban areas and for finding individual solutions. Its inventor, Marco Balsinha (32), shows that is possible to avoid up to 30 percent of biodegradable waste with earthworm composting. Using his worm composter, the outcome of his final Master’s project at the Higher School of Art …

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GEA – a different kind of footprint on earth

GEA means “planet earth” in Greek, and it is the watchword of a company that appears to be a kind of utopia come true. Not just a factory of footwear and other accessories, GEA – Waldviertler creates new values and has opened its doors to teach two young Portuguese people everything about the craft of the shoemaker. We present the story of a footwear company which serves as an example of how we should walk on earth. And we’re not just talking about shoes. The way in which we walk on earth is extremely important and it contributes directly to …

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In search of one’s homeland in Europe

The train may not be the fastest or most modern means of transport but it is one of the most ecological and least polluting. I set off from the Spanish station of Huelva, close to southern Portugal, with Austria as my destination for a report about GEA, a company based on ecological economics. In total, I covered almost seven thousand kilometres by train in the course of thirteen days. A journey to the heart of Europe, and with several stories in my luggage. The stationmaster’s whistle near one of the carriage doors on the platform at Huelva could be heard …

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Trust in the village of tomorrow

In a small village in the hills of Portugal, there are three shoemakers living and working. They are the last of their profession. Together they have a total of 250 years’ experience. They tell stories about their occupation from six generations. But when asked about the future, they shrug their shoulders, shake their heads, and say nothing. They look in embarrassment at their shoes and are silent. That is the situation in a village where even two generations ago there were still 12,000 people living, and where there are now less than 3,000. The old people get buried and the …

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Heini and the Noah’s Ark

Heini Staudinger (62) is in charge of the GEA – Waldviertel factory, where he has been putting an ecological and sustainable economy model into practice since 1984. This alternative entrepreneur never trusted the banking systems, nor the global economy, and his investments have been made through private financing. Heini comes over as a kind of prophet, not a religious one but one of action, who regards his company as a Noah’s Ark in the current economic system. ECO123: Do you believe in an ecological economy? HS: Everything that is not working towards that is stupid. To believe in an economy that …

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Licence To Spill?

When we talk about the sea, it’s mostly about beaches, holidays, the weather or grilled fish for the lunch table. But we have never given any thought to a small, somewhat faded, yellow plastic duck which reached the shores of Carrapateira in the municipality of Aljezur in August 2004, because we didn’t hear about it. Newspapers don’t earn any money from such stories. But if plastic ducks could talk, this little children’s toy would have had many stories to tell of its world trip lasting approximately 12 years. World trip? The story starts on 10th January 1992 on the container …

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Fisherman Zeca Àguas

That’s the way life is

Interview with the fisherman Zeca Águas (55), from Portimão. ECO123: Nowadays, when you observe the amount of fish in the sea and compare it with a generation ago, do you notice any differences? Zeca Águas: According to my experience of 15 years ago, both in terms of my studies or from what I can see with my eyes, including soundings, we have 75% less fish today. Many species are affected because no one has been concerned about them until today – only now. For the first time, last year, they took the trouble to introduce a closed season. They didn’t …

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