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Driving the Renault ZOE ZEN to
a HAPPY ENDING
or: How to save 10,000 euros in petrol over five years

Ten years ago, I decided to get rid of all machines, motors and engines that were powered by fossil fuels. At the time, I was driving an old petrol-guzzling Renault Kangoo and felt a pang of conscience each time I ate a piece of meat. Some of my colleagues were buying new cars at that point. Thinking about what I could do with my money, I decided to become independent, to liberate myself from the constraints of a society running on fossil fuels. I made a fundamental decision and didn’t buy a new car. Instead, I simply carried on driving …

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Enemies of trees and forests?
or an alliance for love of the tree?

Are we Portuguese enemies of trees and forests? The great agronomist Joaquim Vieira Natividade (1899-1968) drew attention to our dendroclasm or dendrophobia, seeking instead to cultivate a love of trees among the population. Few listened to him. We don’t really have forests in the ecological sense of the word, just a few remnants. What is commonly referred to as a “forest” is in fact a chaotic collection of shrubland, woodland and tree plantations of an industrial nature, frequently monotonous and dangerous because its trees are highly flammable. Are they monocultures? Perhaps not even that, since most of them are not …

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EDEN
The Botanical Garden of Caldas de Monchique

Here is some more good news! Over the next ten years, ECO123’s employees, friends, sponsors, subscribers and customers will plant more than 1,000 different young trees in the new botanical garden of Caldas de Monchique. To plant a tree, it’s not enough just to make a hole and put a plant in it. A biotope is a complex system that lives by giving and receiving, waiting and growing, while also resting in order to gain new strength and the ability to interact. This story will cover everything that is needed to make a tree feel good on the planet Earth. …

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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 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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“If the climate was a bank, it would have already been saved”

Thunberg stopped going to school and sat down in front of the Swedish Parliament. She was striking against the lack of action against the climate crisis. Her initiative very quickly went global and reached thousands of other young students across the world. Today, more than 4,175 strikes are taking place according to the #FridayForFuture website. Their message is straightforward: they want politicians to fight climate change to guarantee a safe future for the younger generations. Greta was able to involve not only her peers, but all generations, in the call for tackling the climate crisis, thanks to this existential narrative. …

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Learning to Love

An example for us all

Dinosaurs don’t exist any more They aren’t with us any more, it’s true, but they’ve accompanied me most of my life. I’m talking about dinosaurs, extinct for millions of years and an example for us all. To some extent, when we look at the past that was made with them, we can also see the future. Which must be made by us. I remember that, when I was a child, in the days of the magic cube, there was another small marvel with what was for me a rather peculiar name: Kalkitos. Kalkitos were strips of card with a scene …

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We are in the Air !!! (On Air !!!)

The atmosphere, like the skin of any organism, protects and nourishes this living planet. It protects against cosmic radiation, to which life is very sensitive; regulates the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect; allows the circulation of nutrients and other natural elements; is part of the water cycle; and is the layer where we and many other living things live, develop, reproduce, and evolve. Therefore, suddenly, the atmosphere is no longer something that is up there or outside, but it is the medium that keeps us alive. “Let’s go and play outside” is an expression that is used less and …

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soilution

Putting down roots in the “Soilution”

According to the dictionary Priberam, the soil is defined as: “i) the face or surface of the earth; the ground; ii) the material comprising the thin top layer of much of the earth’s land surface, esp. such material as will support the growth of plants; iii) a piece or stretch of ground, a site.” As someone who has studied biology, I consider the soil to be the connective tissue of this planet’s skin. So, I think that the definition of dead soil that I found in the Oxford dictionary should be replaced by one that expresses the idea of a …

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No more filling up at GALP?

No more filling up at GALP?

In past cultures, the earth was holy. It was taboo to dig holes in it. Coal, ores and other mineral resources were regarded as organs of Mother Earth. They were honoured; people took no more than they gave, and lived embedded in a cycle of living and dying, and hence in a world of abundance, where everything was provided for. When the taboo was lifted, metal was made into coins, weapons, tools and machines, and, coal and finally oil, were used to drive a new system that could be described with one short word: more. Everyone wanted more of everything: …

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