Friday, October 19, 2018
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Where is the treasure buried?

Let’s go on a treasure hunt. The treasure is in the forest. We know that, as the sun rises, the trees begin to do their work. They turn carbon dioxide (CO²) into oxygen, the elixir of life. First question Where is the treasure buried? Bear in mind that, in the Iberian Peninsula, 1.5 million hectares are covered in forests of eucalyptus, to be turned mainly into office paper. In Portugal, (92,000 km²) we have eucalyptus planted on one million hectares. This amounts to 10,000 km², or 12% of the national territory. To visualise what this means, imagine a line connecting …

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Climate-neutral living in Portugal

Recently, Monchique was in the spotlight when the forest fires were being reported in the international press. The reason why these forest fires repeatedly rage across the Serra de Monchique and its neighbouring regions is closely linked to the investments of Semapa SA and its subsidiaries Navigator/Portucel and the industrial eucalyptus monoculture that is practised in an area of 2,500 km² to the North, both in Nave Redonda and São Teotónio (North-west), as well as in São Marcos da Serra (North-east). The main responsibility lies with the pulp producer Navigator (Semapa AG), which guarantees private producers the sale of their …

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On the way to torrid times

Why, every four years, do we vote for PS and PSD politicians, to see them alternately leading parliament as they engage in their constant power struggles? And why is it that this same parliament then approves a government of ministers and secretaries of state, who do nothing more than worry about how best to guarantee their high offices for the maximum amount of time, clinging to power and to their comfortable armchairs? Are they not obliged to treat the country well? Have they not taken take their oath? Is it not their duty to serve the country with wise decisions? …

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Europe needs a project

From Portugal to Norway on two rails… On this question, we were in agreement. It was an idea we had together during a long train ride. I was on my way to interview Per Espen Stoknes when a young man joined the train with his free Interrail ticket. It had been a nice gesture by the European Commission to offer such tickets to 18-year-olds, for the first time, enabling them to get to know Europe by train. Like me, he also wanted to travel to Gothenburg via Copenhagen. The train was standing in Hamburg at Platform 8 and the loudspeakers …

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The climate will be a lifelong issue

When our behaviour and knowledge don’t match one another, this is known as Cognitive Dissonance. The term refers to a situation in which we have conflicting feelings, thoughts and behaviours, creating an uncomfortable inner tension. It only disappears when one or other of the components changes and harmony is restored. The Norwegian psychologist Dr Per Espen Stoknes writes that many people behave in the same way as smokers do, when it comes to climate change: I smoke. I also know smoking leads to cancer.* Action and knowledge are at odds with each other and generate the type of discomfort known …

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Come on, let’s go and plant a tree!

Every breath connects me to you. Normally, air is an invisible background to my day to day life. I don’t pay much attention to it. But when there is pollution, smoke, fog, wind, snow or heavy rain, I remember that air is one of the four elements that form me and which I am made of. Help, I can’t breathe! When I am ill, and it becomes difficult to breathe, air becomes especially important once again. The “air is heavy” has a different meaning in several languages. The air enters my body, my lungs and my bloodstream and is carried …

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The transition begins inside me

Greenhouse gas emissions, caused by agriculture, transport and industry, disturb the balance of the climate, and ultimately Earth’s entire atmospheric system. The destruction caused by forest fires, which are practically impossible to extinguish and aggravated by strong winds, is enormous. Torrential rainfall, the result of climate change, destroys roads and bridges, costing taxpayers millions. Hail, drought and fires destroy the agricultural products of a country … Example 1 A forest of eucalyptus trees that are cut down every eight years by their owner to sell the wood and then allowed to grow again, is an investment that is neither ecological, …

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Monchique 2030 – Entrevistas

ENERGY/MOBILITY/FOREST “I live in a house that is completely sustainable, we have renewable energy. But I also like to travel, so I want to opt for more sustainable transport. Going by train instead of plane or even walking. Why not? Then I think that at the community level there are steps we could take together for better forest maintenance, which could contribute to reducing our ecological footprint as a community. It is not only about planting trees, but also about taking care of forests. The species have to be well-chosen and treated in a more sensitive way.”       …

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Climate neutrality in the laboratory

  Flying, travelling by car, eating meat and sausages, are some of the most aggravating factors of a person’s ecological “balance sheet”. How can you explain to people that less can be more? Not using the car also always means a reduction of stress, at least in the city. And whoever exchanges their car for a bike, improves their footprint and arrives at their destination feeling more relaxed. It is obvious that anyone who flies to New Zealand clocks up a lot of CO₂. What you save by not flying significantly reduces your environmental footprint. The experiment has been going …

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55 spontaneous species that cure

A handful of plants

55 spontaneous species that cure This is one of those books that are a must-have on the shelves of any plant lover, of anyone with an interest in alternative nutrition. With prefaces by the phytotherapist Anne McIntyre and the biologist and researcher Célia Cabral, Uma mão cheia de plantas – 55 espécies espontâneas que curam (a handful of plants – 55 spontaneous species that cure) is a guide to exploring 55 wild plants with surprising therapeutic properties. With technical information and images by Fernanda Botelho, this work provides the common name, the scientific name, the botanical family, the history, description …

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