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Life in the Nest.

Once upon a time, there were two royal children who were brought up by two Bonelli’s eagles. On 15th and 18th March 2013, they slipped out of their two eggs that had been laid, carefully hidden away in a safe nest made of twigs and leaves high up in a pine tree deep in the forest. The queen had sat on the eggs for 42 days until they hatched. Meanwhile, the king of all the birds flew in circles, slowly using the good thermals to work his way upwards with his 175 cm wide wings to lofty heights to get …

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Templo Hindu

To eat and pray for more

An old proverb tells us that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. In the case of the Templo Hindu in Lisbon, I wouldn’t be surprised if some devotees had started by visiting the canteen. In Lisbon, as throughout the world, there is no shortage of Indian restaurants. But restaurants, Indian or not, are just that: restaurants. A canteen in a Hindu temple, which serves home-made Indian food, is, in comparison, a parallel universe and probably the best way for one’s stomach to visit India without leaving Lisbon. Hinduism is the main religion of India, and nutrition …

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feira da ladra

One person’s rubbish is another’s treasure

Guide to second-hand shops The purchase of used items tends increasingly to be linked to the crisis, but second-hand shops have always existed all over the place. There are lots of people for whom buying used goods is a lifestyle, either for financial reasons, or because what they are looking for is no longer produced. Some shops specialise in clothing, some in records, furniture or books, and others are more general and sell all types of things, rather like mini-versions of Lisbon’s Feira da Ladra. This market is still the place for second-hand items par excellence, despite the proliferation of …

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Eucaliptos cutter in Monchique

Monchique, and eucalyptus in Portugal.

At present, there is a population of 6,045 living in an area of 396 square kilometres, surrounded by hills and forests. 76% of these are eucalyptus plantations. During the most recent forest fires in 2003, 317 square kilometres of forest burned in ten days, i.e. 80% of the municipality. A trauma that still lives on today because the fire brigade were barely able to put the fires out. Twelve years before, in 1991, fires raged in Monchique for a week. Again and again, the upland forests catch fire and destroy the small-scale farming livelihoods of the inhabitants even more. And …

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The wrong life cannot be lived with reason…

Already on the Alfa Pendular service. With a CO2 emission of but four kilograms, the journalist leaves the Portuguese south behind to speed north at 220 km and recalls his immediate past. A few days ago, he’d taken to his wardrobe in order to dig out his old, best suit to check that it would stand up to the needs of this mission. He needed a suit in tip-top condition and that also fitted him well as he was due to play the role of a wealthy investor. A test but the means by which he hoped to open the …

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Herdeiros da Revolução

Heirs of the revolution.

Hiking signifies a return to our roots, to our innate speed, and to an original form of life. It will repeatedly remind us that it is only for a short time that we are guests on this planet, which we have subdued. Wouldn’t we do better to see ourselves just as part of the whole: with nature, the forests, the animals, with all our earth’s resources? We also go walking to see with our own eyes how the countryside develops from year to year. When we go walking, our thoughts become sharper. All our senses are awake and feel, see, …

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The bill for our lifestyle

The IPCC is the body responsible for assessing climate change. It was set up by the United Nations Environment Organisation and by the World Meteorology Organisation. Its aim is to be an independent scientific body, focusing on analysing climate change and its main environmental and socio-economic implications. Its collaborators, from all over the world, carry out specialist work, but on an voluntary basis, which ensures that there is a wide range of opinions and points of view which are reflected in the conclusions they present.

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transporte de eucaliptus

Truck driver

ECO123: We would like to know a bit more about your work. Do you transport eucalyptus? Driver: Yes. Is the eucalyptus going to the factory in Setúbal? These ones are going to Setúbal. To make what? Those are to make cellulose, pulp, paper. How much money do you get per tonne? A tonne for the producer? Yes. 42, 43 euros. At the factory. The factory pays. They pay, once it’s there. And how many tonnes do you transport? It depends on the wood. The vehicle’s maximum is 30 tonnes. Does a eucalyptus forest pay well? Here and now, cellulose is …

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Rui Andre

Rui André

President of Monchique municipal council: ECO123: How can we create a Portugal without forest fires? Rui André: In Monchique, there have been a number of fires, but the strategy of a very powerful initial attack has enabled almost all of them to be put out right at the start. Given the vulnerability of the region, we see these results as being very positive, but we have also been quite lucky. In other places, and with the same strategy, unfortunately this year there have been fires like the ones here in 2003. There’s a lot of work ahead of us. There are …

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João Manuel Antunes

Lieutnant-Colonel; Chief of the Nature and  Environment Protection Service ECO123: In your opinion, what it the solution for the forest fires in Portugal? GNR: Allow me to begin my response by stating that fires are not fought, fires are avoided. This leads us to the prevention phase. Immediate prevention, let’s call it, which implies raising the awareness of people who live in the rural areas so as to draw attention to behaviours which should be avoided and to prevention campaigns which must be implemented periodically before the summer period. For short- to medium-term results, campaigns and awareness-raising among the young …

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