Thursday, July 18, 2019
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Back to Mother Earth - Eco123

Back to Mother Earth

My most beautiful tree in Lousã. I had made an appointment with the filmmaker and cameraman João Pedro Plácido (aged 39)* at Coimbra station. We planned to walk together through a mountain forest in the Serra de Lousã. There, we wanted to look for a vivid memory of his, the most beautiful tree of his youth. At the age of 16 during a mountain hike, Plácido was walking on the path from Castelo de Lousã via Talasnal (3 km) and Vaqueirinho (2.5 km) up to Catarredor (1.1 km), one of Portugal’s famous schist villages. He was looking for herbs. Dusk …

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Earth, the Guardian Mother…

Nuno Bicho, aged 53, says that “finding a new site is like a personal journey into the past without recourse to science fiction.” He was at primary school when he felt drawn towards Archaeology, but it was by chance that he studied History. Later he received his PhD in Anthropology (Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas) and Archaeology (University of the Algarve) and he is currently Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Archaeology and Evolution of Human Behaviour (ICArEHB) at the University of the Algarve. Alongside others, he is leading an international project, a quarter of which is funded by the …

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Back to the future

An eco-company in transition Herdade Freixo do Meio is an agroforestry company with 560 hectares of good farming land, situated in the Baixo Alentejo, close to Montemor-o-Novo, roughly 100 kilometres to the east of Lisbon. The company’s business adheres to ethical standards of agroecology, based on the medieval ecosystem of the montado (pastureland planted with groves of cork-oak and holm-oak trees)*, and practises permaculture in order to guarantee future generations the basic resources needed to enjoy a life of food sovereignty. Through its users’ cooperative, the farmer Alfredo Cunhal Sendim (aged 52) organises a space for participants where the community …

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A adaptação às alterações climáticas

  Teve lugar recentemente o Seminário “Agricultura Sustentável” em Alte (Loulé), que reuniu agricultores, peritos em solos, profissionais no desenvolvimento de comunidades, políticos e estudantes. O Seminário foi organizado pela Câmara Municipal de Loulé, a Associação In Loco, e a Escola Professional Cândido Guerreiro (EPALTE), com o objetivo de dar a conhecer aos agricultores alternativas perante o desafio das alterações climáticas, custos de produção elevados e baixos preços de venda. O tema do clima e do solo foi abordado nas duas sessões principais, por Alberto Espírito Santo e João Tiago Carapau, da WeConsultants. Alexandra Pestana, da EPALTE partilhou experiências na …

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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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Rainwater: slow it, spread it and let it seep

Droughts, desertification, heat waves, floods: the consequences of climate change are intensified by a water balance that is out of equilibrium globally. In some parts of the earth, farmers, different initiatives and landowners are meeting this challenge with simple, local measures – and successfully. The principle they follow is always the same: rain should seep into the ground where it falls. Decentralisation instead of centralisation. One successful example of this is Tamera, in the municipality of Odemira in the Alentejo. Every organism needs water. Whether an area has sufficient water or not determines its value for everything that lives there, …

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Water here, but not there…

ECO123 spoke with the Administration of the Algarve Hydrographic Region, (Administração da Região Hidrográfica do Algarve) part of, the Environment Agency, (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente) based in Faro. The office in Faro has responsibility for the Algarve. There are five main offices across Portugal and the other offices have responsibility for the Alentejo, Tejo, the North and the Centre. The Environment Agency has five strategic goals: to increase the level of protection, recovery and enhancement of the ecosystem; to increase the level of protection of people and goods in a risk situation; to improve the knowledge and information available about …

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The colour of white coffee

There is little in life that is black and white. However, the present-day river Tejo (the Tagus in English) is just that. It’s black on one side and white on the other. Transparent water alongside dirty water. This separation of the waters in the middle of the river is not due to force majeure in the classic, divine sense of the expression, but rather in a much more contemporary sense: the pollution of the river Tejo is due to the major paper factories on its banks in Vila Velha de Rodão. Until recently, no one had the courage to point …

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We have reached a production of 74 million litres

Monchique’s water has been known since the time when the Romans occupied the Iberian Peninsula. Endowed with unique properties, this water, with its ‘strange flavour’ (as various consumers have mentioned ever since it first began to be produced commercially), has recently become a synonym for quality and well-being. After passing through a period of financial difficulty, the Sociedade da Água de Monchique, which had held the concession for the commercial exploitation of the region’s water since 1992, was taken over in 2010 by the Braga-based company WaterBunkers SGPS SA. It rapidly evolved from being an own-label brand to become a …

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Must we prepare for water rationing?

Teresa Fernandes, head of Communication and Environmental Education at Águas do Algarve, the company that is responsible for the region’s water supply, admits that there is a possibility of a water shortage in the medium to long term. However, even if it doesn’t rain, she guarantees that there will be no lack of water for the local population, at least before the end of this year. Is water becoming a kind of “blue gold”? In my view, water is more important than gold, absolutely anywhere in the world, because it is irreplaceable. We can’t live without water, which is fundamental …

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