Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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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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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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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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Four for the Climate

How our family tries to lead a CO2-neutral life A family of four sits at the table having dinner. As they do, the two adults talk to the children about a somewhat boring topic: climate change. Their 13-year-old daughter had come home from school, had sat down at the computer and played with the WWF’s footprint calculator. She wanted to work out her family’s ecological footprint. The result for this four-person household: 42 tonnes of CO2 per year. The evening’s discussion gradually develops into a family project. Each of them wants to actively save on CO2 emissions in order to …

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Plants on our path

When we go for a walk in the countryside we are far from understanding the value of the magnificent plants that live in the soil. Over and beyond their beauty, they can accompany us on our life’s journey, protecting our health and healing the body and mind at times of recuperation. Each year, more than 2,000 new plants are discovered. They are used in medicine, food, the environment, clothing, biofuels and the making of poisons. At present there are about 5,500 plants used for human consumption. A short four-kilometre walk in the heart of Monchique with the specialist in wild …

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20 Rules for regenerative water management

How we can become a part of the water cycle, using water without using it up. Only plant a variety of indigenous tree and bush species together; Fit gutters and build water tanks to collect the water from roofs; Only farm organically; don’t use any agro-chemicals in the garden, instead use goat or horse dung; Don’t seal off any areas in the garden or farm (e.g. with concrete) or cover them with plastic sheeting. The rainwater must be able to seep into the ground; Break up monocultures in the garden too, at least with hedges, or leave a corner of …

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Slow Cooking

Can you imagine being able to cook your lunch just with the power of the sun? The first thing you need for this is a good sofa. The only local manufacturer of solar cookers is Sunok. Shall we try it out to see if the device is worth the money? The product comes from Lisbon and is represented by Senhor Nuno Martins. ECO123 obtained the smaller model for two people for this test. It’s priced at 400 euros, without the sofa. At first sight, that is not exactly cheap for an average household, given that a normal gas or electric …

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If we conserve nature…

When I was still a child, at the age of eight, I learnt in geography that there were still under three billion people living on the planet. The amount of life concealed by this number meant nothing to me. Now I’m 50 years older and, in that time, the world’s population is supposed to have almost trebled. Is that right? Do you understand what I have written there, and am myself trying to understand? There are now seven and a half billion people living on our beautiful blue planet EARTH. And the number isn’t falling. I have another look at …

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Energy-packed nourishment for the vegan backpac

Energy-packed nourishment for
the vegan backpack

The search for inner peace is doubtless the origin of hiking and pilgrimage. Many people hike along different Ways of St. James to Santiago de Compostela and along the Caminho Português. Getting around on foot is a matter of topical interest. And so I have put together some basic vegan provisions for autumn and winter days. Walkers depend on compact foodstuffs that are full of energy because it’s good if our backpacks don’t get too big and heavy. As a dedicated walker, I have of course tried out all the recipes myself, and the muesli bars and whole-grain crackers still …

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Seeing things from the “Other Side”

When they met, Artur was vegetarian and worked in the field of permaculture; Carla, who has been a crudivore for about two years, had been a vegetarian for 20 years, and worked professionally in teaching yoga, in functional medicine and macrobiotic cooking and Ayurveda. “I was interested in finding a location to open an organic grocery and Artur was looking for a place to open a vegan restaurant; we were both independent and started to look at shops and got to know each other better; we ended up falling in love,” Carla explains, with a twinkle in her eye. Their …

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