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Interviews

For better or worse

Over the last thirty years, I have often been asked where I come from and where I was born. Does this matter? And, if so, why? What can you deduce from knowing that someone was born in Metz, Monchique or Minden? Isn’t it enough just to be European? What if the woman in the queue behind me asks me once again and I reply that I’m from Monchique? Will that be of any help to her? In what way? Does it explain anything about the person inside me? When she smiles and shakes her head, I look at her and …

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Oxytocin or Le P’tit Cirk

How will it end? It’s the old motto: “trust is good, but control is better”. We are sitting in a small circus tent in Monchique, eagerly awaiting the performers. It’s dark and cosy. There are more than 500 people filling the tent tonight. There is still a quarter of an hour to go. In my mind, I’m thinking of a film about the acrobat Philippe Petit. He’s the man who, one day in August 1974, when I was a young man, I saw dancing whilst balancing on a high wire reaching more than 60 metres between the Twin Towers of …

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Do we have a hope in hell?

It’s not yet too late to avoid the worst consequences of accelerating climate change – a position that can be justified by the mainstream scientific evidence available to us today. But governments and civil society must do something effective to lower our carbon footprint in the next ten years. So argues the leading UK environmentalist Jonathon Porritt in his new book Hope in Hell, due to be released this summer. Jonathon Porritt served as chair of the Ecology Party (now the UK Green Party) from 1979 to 1980 and from 1982 to 1984. He is a former director of Friends …

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Berry boom in the wild southwest

The latest trend in monoculture – apart from the super-intensive cultivation of olives and avocados – can be found under plastic on the southwest coast of the Alentejo. Seemingly endless rows of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries stretch out in polytunnels in the Natural Park of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast. In late 2019, the Portuguese government decided to expand agriculture in the park, a measure that has raised questions about law enforcement, natural values and who is actually monitoring the use of water in the area. “It’s turning into another Almería,” says Maurício, from Aljezur, concerned about the …

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Co-creating solutions at a local level

Co-creating solutions at a local level

Municipalities and local representatives can be pioneers and drivers of deep decarbonisation and profound social transformation. This is the firm belief of BEACON, or “Bridging European and Local Climate Action”. The European project seeks to promote climate action, co-operation and learning amongst municipal representatives and the dissemination of good practices – in order to implement the Paris Agreement and the targets for 2030. Financed by Germany (the European country with the highest emissions and the sixth highest worldwide), in Portugal the project involves five municipalities and is coordinated by the Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes – cE3c (Faculty …

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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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Giacomo Scalisi

What is the value of culture?

Could culture survive without being dependent on subsidies? Giacomo Scalisi has been working for a number of years as an actor, artistic director and cultural programmer, and during his career he has worked on different projects, in different theatre companies and on the organisation of international festivals. In 1998, he came to Portugal to join the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB) as a cultural programmer for theatre and new circus, leaving here in 2008. At present he runs his own projects in the field of artistic production. This Portugal-based Italian recognises that culture depends on subsidies for its survival, but …

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Find that calm point in yourself

Erika Dux (65), a doctor of medicine from the University of Düsseldorf and trained in a wide range of additional disciplines, such as Chinese-Japanese Bo-Meridian Shiatsu therapy, has been living in Portugal for 35 years and works privately as a doctor. She has three grown–up daughters. Why do people become ill? I’m afraid I really can’t answer that question for you. What are the causes of illness? For different reasons: people get an infection, have a genetic illness or a metabolic disorder, or are affected by exhaustion and intoxication caused by pollution, environmental degradation, or precarious housing. How do you …

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Nature is alive!

Indigenous forest A current website recently attracted my journalistic attention. Here I must point out that I only recommend websites these days where the creators identify themselves with their name and address. I no longer look at anonymous rubbish as a matter of principle. I do the same with telephone calls. I do not waste valuable time or my attention on people who call me from hidden numbers. As the creators of this website worked in a transparent way, I simply rang them up and asked them for an interview on the topic that had led them to put this …

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Think global. Act local.

Think global. Act local.

ECO123 met Vítor Aleixo (aged 64), the Mayor of Loulé, in the corridor of the Town Hall at 8:45 am. He approaches us and takes a bunch of keys from his pocket. He finds the right key, opens the large door and invites us to go into his office. We want to know how he manages the political balance between the tourism economy and climate change. Good morning, Mayor. What does a politician need to bring to his role, in order to strengthen trust in the democratic system? A politician has to uphold ethical principles and values ​​of respect for …

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