Sunday, August 18, 2019
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Interviews

How do you break free?

Once you know your tipping point… Kathi Heusel, a holistic coach from Austria, and Bart Delember, a Belgian kite-surf-instructor, both in their mid-thirties, are living in the Western Algarve. One day, they reached their tipping point regarding the gigantic amount of plastic waste in the ocean and in their day-to-day life. Finding it unacceptable to see how much garbage, and especially how much plastic, is currently floating in the ocean – they decided they actively wanted to live their lives in a different way. Most people probably feel the same, says Kathi Heusel in a conversation with ECO123. But what …

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BEACON, a beacon in the dark?

Are journalists able to take a neutral stance? Who chooses the stories they work on, and who decides the way these are presented? Do they portray reality and describe it through their words – like someone dressing a mannequin in a shop window? What are these stories that journalists write? What influence does intuition have in their work? What is the perspective of journalists when they observe and ask, listen and touch, sense the taste and smell, and then tell their story? What pictures do they choose? Questioning yourself and your work also calls into question the meaning of what …

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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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Think global. Act local.

Think global. Act local.

ECO123 meets Vítor Aleixo (aged 63), 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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The municipalities are becoming increasingly aware

We are in Lisbon, Cais do Sodré, near the Tagus river, with the 25th of April Bridge in the background. It is February 2019. We are exchanging ideas with Dr Sofia Simões, an environmental engineer. She is 48 years old, married, and the mother of two children, aged nine and thirteen. She works on a national scale for the Faculty of Science and Technology at Lisbon’s Nova University. A while ago, she began to think and work on a supranational scale for various countries in the European Union. She returned from Brussels yesterday. “I have lived in Sweden; I also …

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Before it was considered rubbish, today it generates electricity

“All cities are different. But, when it comes down to it, we’re all working for the same thing. Some follow one path, some follow another. Some might happen to lead the way, while others tend to follow along behind.” Fabíola Oliveira, from the forestry office, and Maria Elisabete Mato, an adviser to the mayor, have brought from the north of Portugal the solutions and challenges that are being experienced in Viana do Castelo. You presented the other municipalities with the inspiring example of a biogas plant. What are the advantages of this process? Maria Elisabete Mato: We have an intermunicipal …

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Innovating amid desertification and record temperatures

In Coruche, a municipal strategy has been initiated with the aim of lowering the consumption and improving the reuse of resources. But difficulties are being encountered in the implementation of far-reaching changes in a municipality faced with desertification, an ageing population and the disappearance of family-based agriculture. I talked with Patrícia Moreira, from the department of land use development and planning, and Rosa Lopes, who is the council’s representative in matters relating to waste management, as well as energy and water efficiency. Coruche started last year with severe flooding, and later had record high temperatures, with several days at 46º. …

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Ansião. The council that stopped the fire

While climate change is a common challenge, the local realities all differ from one another. ECO123 talks to Marcelo Afonso, a municipal councillor and adviser to the mayor in Ansião, who is passionate about the walking trails in the enormous oak forest in his municipality. To what extent is climate change a concern in Ansião? Unfortunately, our population is rather dispersed and ageing, which makes our need to adapt to climate change a challenge. We have to change people who are highly resistant to changing certain habits that they have maintained over many years. They often don’t understand (or don’t …

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After saving the Sado, let’s now save the planet

As the host of the first BEACON regional workshop, Setúbal Council recently signed the mayors’ agreement, committing the municipality to reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Climate change is now more than just a threat: the city has just finished the unprecedented task of dealing with the floods. With plans to expand the port in Setúbal and with some of the most polluting industries in the country, it will not be easy for the municipality to achieve the goal by switching from conventional lighting to LEDs. Setúbal’s strategy for climate and energy is on the table – …

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Eternal Forest

The Eternal Forest Project

Evgenia Emets, aged 39, grew up in Moscow and Kiev, later coming to Portugal via London, where she lived for ten years and completed her art studies. Whether by coincidence or not, in London, she met her future husband Victor from Poland and they travelled together through Portugal, visiting the solar village Tamera, in the Southern Alentejo. Shortly afterwards, they began making plans to move, their original dream being to create a community in one of the abandoned villages somewhere in Portugal. That’s how they ended up in Ericeira in October 2017. Evgenia has just completed her first 40-minute-long documentary, …

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