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Investor warning

The University of Aveiro (UA) warns that, due to climate change, rainwater in Portugal, especially in the inland areas, will fall by 30%. Paula Quinteiro is the researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) who is directing this study, and she appeals to those who have political responsibilities in this matter to promote a more effective use of rainwater. She calls for more rainwater to be kept in tanks and other forms of storage, and demands a more thoughtful, economic and sustainable use of this water. The results of the research linked to the “CLICURB” project point …

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Ribeira de Quarteira resists luxury tourism

It’s called ‘Cidade Lacustre’ or ‘Vilamoura Lakes’ and was dreamed up by André Jordan. The millionaire, who has just published his memoirs, was the owner of the largest resort in the country – two thousand hectares and five golf courses around Vilamoura Marina – and he wanted to extend it to Ribeira de Quarteira by building a luxury city on the water. The project included a yacht, lift so that millionaires from all over the world could moor outside the doors of their villas. In 2008, the ‘Cidade Lacustre’ received a favourable report from the Portuguese Environment Agency and was …

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Unsung Heroes

If the entire population of Lisbon was wiped out within nine years, how would we react? We are all aware of the war in Syria, which has been tearing the country apart since 2010, causing the death of an estimated 500,000 people and forcing millions of others to flee their homes and become refugees. In this age of mass social media, we can sometimes become desensitised to the suffering of nameless citizens who live in faraway countries, but at Aljezur International School the students, teachers and parents have a special interest in the news from Syria.  Since 2015, they have …

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Fast

izzy’s market, vila do bispo   If you are en route to Cabo de São Vicente, you should take the opportunity to visit IZZY’S MARKET in Vila do Bispo. This restaurant is a little hard to find, being located in a housing development between the town hall and that supermarket with the blue and yellow logo. Furthermore, it isn’t always easy to find a place to park in Senhora do Amparo. The place in question is a small café which also doubles as an organic food shop. We can particularly recommend the lunchtime dishes of the day. When we were …

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Some pearls in the necklace are still alive

Algarve: He’s a photographer, who cherishes the Algarve weather and relates to the region like a fine piece of filigree jewellery. His name is Filipe da Palma. What drives him, he confesses, is the opportunity to go out and take photographs… and to feel everything around him. “This nourishes the deeper side of me, it’s what keeps me sane.” He does this because he feels the need to share the beautiful, but also the ugly, something that lies between identity and reality: “I also like to show the wounded Algarve, the scars and small tumours that are scattered throughout the …

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Nature Reserve destroyed by avocado plantation

Clive Viney is the co-author (with Ray Tipper) of the book “Algarve Wildlife: The Natural Year.” As a nature lover and a long-term resident of Tavira, he is alarmed at the erosion of land and the destruction of natural habitats in the nature reserve near Castro Marim. Part of the Reserve has been given over to “the latest fad of avocado planting”. He is asking questions and demanding answers from IICNF (Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests), SPEA ( Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds) and other agencies. His actions have prompted the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment to …

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Salgados

People have short memories. They barely notice slow changes, because they are always moving on, without paying any real attention to a place on a regular basis. Recognition of the value of nature suffers because of this deficit in human awareness. Increasingly people are living in urban areas, in a permanent state of unease, in a space and a time that overshadows nature. In the deceptive safety of the city, nature is used merely for decorative purposes. A tree here and an avenue there, seemingly refuges of peace and quiet, such as Central Park in New York and the Botanical …

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Tourist or traveller?

Traveller: a kind of historian who goes in search of the identity of a group of people, undergoing different experiences, documenting them and learning from them; tourist: he who experiences products designed by the tourist industry, the “fast-food” version of the traveller. Travel writing on the Algarve is full of travellers who feel the pulse of the land and its inhabitants, living with them and observing their lives without judgement. A. H. Stuart (1) writes: “the English tourist can be described as a person who travels for pleasure, experience and understanding. The tourist who fails to uphold the rules of …

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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 Last Word

Finally, some good news. António da Encarnação from Monchique is 81 years old, and he has had to watch many forest fires over the course of his long lifetime. In 2018, he lost his home, lots of chestnut trees and cork oaks; in 2016, he lost another home. But he has never lost heart, or his good spirits. António has worked all his life as a farmer, growing food in his fields for himself and other people. The quality of his products — which he still produces despite his age and bouts of ill health — is well-known beyond county …

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