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Nº 105 – Minimising the Risk of Forest Fires.
An essay by Uwe Heitkamp

Saturday 18th September 2021. By now every serious democratic candidate has been given the chance to air their views on the forest fires in a 30-minute unscripted interview. Their replies to the question of what they are intending to do to break the cycle of forest fires in Monchique, or to stop them altogether, makes it look as if they didn’t really have a solution in mind. José Chaparro, Bruno Estremores, João Duarte and Paulo Alves are the four candidates who all want to become mayor, and all of them still have a real chance to make this happen. Unless …

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Time is money?

Humans always want more: more technology, more comfort, more consumption, more money. Their lifestyle throws up many unanswered questions. What is happening in the fields, the forests, the streets, the cities, the workplaces, the schools and universities? Humans shirk from concrete responses and decisions. Humans carry on, just like their machines, as if these questions – what is inside their food, their clothing, their medication? – weren’t relevant. Has industrialisation poisoned them and their Earth? How clean is the groundwater, the air they breathe? Does their lifestyle stand in the way of further development? Should Humans not simply switch off …

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A life of milk and honey

Forest gardening is the first sustainable form of multicultural agroforestry management in the history of humankind. Since prehistoric times, a form of forest gardening has been practised in the tropics (Mesopotamia), with forest cultures creating small clearings in order to replace the plant species that would provide the food, fibre and medicines for their communities.   Coming back to modern times, in the 1980s, an English horticulturalist, Robert Hart, adapted the age-old agroforestry techniques applied in a temperate climate and created the first temperate forest garden on 500 square metres of his farm in Shropshire, 120 km south of Liverpool. …

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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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Sanitize a village, remodelling a country!

You only become aware of the advantages of living in the countryside, in a village, and definitely a long way from the city and the coast, when you’re out walking, for example on a hike. Who wants to own a plot of land beside a beach that is flooded with salty water, or clean their teeth with water that tastes of salt or chlorine coming out of their apartment’s taps? Towns like Aveiro, Olhão, Faro, Albufeira, Portimão, Setúbal and Figueira da Foz lie more or less at sea level. With a spring tide at a time of climate change or …

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Comprehensive Regeneration

Human survival during climate change Gil Penha-Lopes is a Guest Lecturer at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon. He has been coordinating European and national projects on bottom-up climate change adaptation with a focus on community-led initiatives. He also lectures on the International Doctoral Programme on Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policies at Lisbon University. Gil also co-founded the European platform of community-led initiatives on sustainability and climate change (ECOLISE) and recently published a book on “Permaculture and Climate Change Adaptation”. The words that form the title have already started to appear and to be uttered at the events …

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Being happy, the human side of climate protection

What do people need to be happy? Recently, this question has not only been of interest to psychologists and Hollywood directors, but also to ecologists, economists and climate activists. Because – and this has been proved – happy people live more environmentally friendly lives. Only people who feel empty inside, only those who are unhappy or who are not at ease with what they have and are, have to drive big cars, go on long journeys or wear expensive brands of clothes. By contrast, happy people consume fewer resources and pollute fewer seas; fewer forests have to be felled for …

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Avoid News

Towards a Healthy News Diet News is to the mind what sugar is to the body We are so well informed and yet we know so little. Why? We are in this sad condition because 200 years ago we invented a toxic form of knowledge called “news.” The time has come to recognize the detrimental effects that news has on individuals and societies, and to take the necessary steps to shield yourself from its dangers. At core, human beings are cavemen in suits and dresses. Our brains are optimized for our original hunter-gatherer environment where we lived in small bands …

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