Home | Portugal | Life

Life

Stop talking. Start planting.

Planting trees is the most effective measure against the overheating of the Earth. Maybe in a few years‘ time humanity will come to the realisation that part of our salvation lies in rebelling, i.e planting trees as if our lives depended on it and reanimating landscapes wherever possible… This is the way 48-year old Jochen Schilk puts it in his book Re-Greening the World “50 infectious stories about planting trees”. Rarely have I been sent a book in such an unconventional way. One Friday morning as I opened my letterbox down by the road there it was, wrapped in brown …

Read More »

Education in the spirit of the Prussian army
The way a person learns is the way a person teaches.

The way a person learns is the way a person teaches.

Born in Porto on 10 May 1951, José Francisco de Almeida Pacheco is a teacher, anthropologist and pedagogue. ECO123 had a chat with this resourceful educationalist, who has brought greater democracy to educational management, and asked him what value nature has in education in Portugal. Do you think that nowadays, when UN ambassador Jane Goodall is saying that human beings, the most intelligent creatures on Earth, are destroying their planet, it still makes sense to educate children? This was a question I asked 55 years ago, in 1968, when I was living in a country that was under a dictatorial …

Read More »

Go back to the land and live a simple life

Lesley Martin is 76 years old and is still teaching and practising permaculture. Her father was in the RAF, so she moved around a lot as a child, finding it difficult to describe where she comes from: “I was born in Wales, but my attachment to Wales is slight. I studied Architecture at university, but I really wanted to be a farmer…” After four years, she realised she absolutely did not want to be an architect and quit. This greatly upset her father, yet, some years later, he gave her the money to set up her own farm in Cornwall. …

Read More »

Nº 139 – Off to Portugal… by Rail?

Saturday, the 17th of December 2022 Now, the other day I was reading in ECO123 that the town of Monchique was threatened with extinction. And the same magazine carried an online job advert. What can I say? I’ll blame coincidence for the fact that I left Leipzig, unable to resist my curiosity, and started on my way to Monchique, nestling in the mountains of the same name. I wanted that job. And here is my story.   Travelling is supposed to be fun; it should be safe, as fast as possible and cheap too of course. Now for years we …

Read More »

Nº 136 – The 200 Plants of Portugal’s Southwestern Coast.

Saturday the 15th of October 2022. Today I would like to tell you about a book that is well worth reading, published in both Portuguese and English. This is in fact a publication that remains very topical today. The two authors offer up the 200 most important plants forming part of the natural world of Portugal‘s southwestern coast, so readers can get to know them, and have left this work for all eternity. Comprising 256 pages, this book forms an indispensable part of a sustainable life. It‘s like the salt in the soup and self-published, in the way everything that’s …

Read More »

Do it yourself and avoid waste

Homemade Shampoo Today we are going to talk about shampoo: a vegan alternative, without chemicals or plastics. I can’t imagine how many plastic shampoo bottles I’ve thrown away over the course of my life. Whether the bottle is 250 ml or 1000 ml, the flood of plastic never seems to end. Special soap for hair washing does exist, but it’s not always easy to find – and goodness knows where it’s been imported from, or rather, how much CO2 it has generated, even without counting my journey to buy it at the shop… plus, the never-ending list of ingredients makes …

Read More »

DAY 6
Salir – Cortelha – Barranco do Velho

DAY 6
Salir – Cortelha – Barranco do Velho

Right, the first one hundred kilometres are behind me. It’s turning out to be easier than I’d envisaged; after all, I’m hiking without previous training. The advantage compensating this lack of training is that I know the trail well and that I’m walking slowly, building up my physical form. The entire stretch of the Via Algarviana runs to around 300 kilometres. You have the first, the eastern part, from Alcoutim to Barranco do Velho, the central section from Barranco do Velho to Monchique and the westerly part from Monchique to the southwestern cape. I pack my backpack, take my hiking …

Read More »

DAY 5
From Alte to Salir. Moorish Fountains.

DAY 5
From Alte to Salir. Moorish Fountains.

19 km. I’ve now arrived in the heart of the Algarve. To be journeying on foot also means to gain direct contact with the people and their environment. And isn’t that what we journalists need and want to know? What makes the people of this country tick? What are they thinking, and: how are they? In Alte, right at the beginning of the fifth day of my hike I meet an elderly lady collecting a little brushwood at the empty and dried-out Ribeira de Alte, a brook which used to be home to fish and many other wildlife, a biotope …

Read More »

DAY 4
From Messines to Alte

DAY 4
From Messines to Alte

  I order my breakfast from next door. The price is 2 euros and forty cents and it’s eight o’clock when I hand over the key at reception and walk across to Senhor Jorge. One hot milky coffee and a cheese roll please. Bom dia. Two minutes later everything is standing on the counter and I take my breakfast outside onto the terrace. Messines has already woken up and I am studying the way ahead on the map. Aiming for the Vale Vinagre I am soon starting my small ascent. First of all out of town and through the underpass …

Read More »

DAY 3
From Funcho Reservoir Lake to Messines.

São Bartolomeu de Messines is the town associated with the writer, educator and legal expert João de Deus Ramos, who was born here in 1830 and went on to gain nation-wide fame at the time with his educational programme for children and adults. He studied law in Coimbra and died in 1896 in Lisbon. This is what I read when I reach the Casa do Povo, the House of the People. Carved in stone. I might be wrong but I’m under the impression that Messines wants to be more than just one of seven communities forming part of the former …

Read More »