Monday, April 22, 2019
pt-ptende
Home | Portugal | Report

Report

An oasis comes into being on the burnt land of Monchique

The landscaping project plans for the planting of 1,000 different species of native trees and shrubs in the Barranco do Esgravatadouro valley. The first 50 young trees have been planted since 30 December: various species of oak (quercus canariensis and quercus ilex, among others), cork oak, ash (fraxinus excelsior), chestnut, walnut, beech, willow, lime, maple, birch, elm, magnolia, camellia, as well as carob, laurel and pepper-trees. The terrain has been mapped out carefully and the themes are well-defined: paths will link several islands of trees placed at different levels. The first trees have been planted along the stream that rises …

Read More »

What is a smart city?

We are in Évora, in the city’s historic centre, in the year 2013. More than 90% of the buildings are over 40 years old. Of the homes to be found here, 2,424 are primary residences (56%), 739 are secondary residences (17%), and 1,163 are unoccupied (26.8%). There is a negative trend. From its peak in 1930, when 22,446 people lived in the city’s historic centre, to the last Census in 2011, when there were only 4,719 inhabitants, the area lost 80% of its population. The process of population decline began with the first large fall in 1940. The ageing rate, …

Read More »

Monchique 2018

What did you lose and what did you gain from the fire? The Karuna Retreat Centre has been totally devastated. Basically, all the structures that existed there disappeared. The forest disappeared. I feel that a fire, when it comes in a natural way, cannot cause so much devastation. If we look 360 degrees around us, Karuna is surrounded by eucalyptus trees on all sides. We have more or less three hectares. We had cleaned everything: there were no eucalyptus, all the medronho trees had been pruned and the weeds had been cleared around them. So there was no reason for …

Read More »
eucalyptus-trees

Where is the treasure buried?

Let’s go on a treasure hunt. The treasure is in the forest. We know that, as the sun rises, the trees begin to do their work. They turn carbon dioxide (CO²) into oxygen, the elixir of life. First question Where is the treasure buried? Bear in mind that, in the Iberian Peninsula, 1.5 million hectares are covered in forests of eucalyptus, to be turned mainly into office paper. In Portugal, (92,000 km²) we have eucalyptus planted on one million hectares. This amounts to 10,000 km², or 12% of the national territory. To visualise what this means, imagine a line connecting …

Read More »

On the way to torrid times

Why, every four years, do we vote for PS and PSD politicians, to see them alternately leading parliament as they engage in their constant power struggles? And why is it that this same parliament then approves a government of ministers and secretaries of state, who do nothing more than worry about how best to guarantee their high offices for the maximum amount of time, clinging to power and to their comfortable armchairs? Are they not obliged to treat the country well? Have they not taken take their oath? Is it not their duty to serve the country with wise decisions? …

Read More »

Europe needs a project

From Portugal to Norway on two rails… On this question, we were in agreement. It was an idea we had together during a long train ride. I was on my way to interview Per Espen Stoknes when a young man joined the train with his free Interrail ticket. It had been a nice gesture by the European Commission to offer such tickets to 18-year-olds, for the first time, enabling them to get to know Europe by train. Like me, he also wanted to travel to Gothenburg via Copenhagen. The train was standing in Hamburg at Platform 8 and the loudspeakers …

Read More »

Come on, let’s go and plant a tree!

Every breath connects me to you. Normally, air is an invisible background to my day to day life. I don’t pay much attention to it. But when there is pollution, smoke, fog, wind, snow or heavy rain, I remember that air is one of the four elements that form me and which I am made of. Help, I can’t breathe! When I am ill, and it becomes difficult to breathe, air becomes especially important once again. The “air is heavy” has a different meaning in several languages. The air enters my body, my lungs and my bloodstream and is carried …

Read More »

For sale

Horst adored going to the cinema. He just had too little time, and even less money, to be able to buy a ticket every time. He was lucky enough, however, to live right next to the cinema. On the first floor, above his bar, there was a framed picture in the living room, which covered a hole in the wall, like the one in a camera obscura. One day, he told me his secret. He took the picture down and showed me, with a wink, what could be seen through the hole. And so he swept me away to the …

Read More »

Monoculture: an outdated model

Fritjof Capra v. René Descartes The mechanical world view of things presupposes simple linear mathematical thinking. Primary school maths, year 3: taking the example of an area measuring 100 metres by 100 metres, which makes 10,000 square metres or one hectare, an agro-industrial farmer harvests around ten tonnes of fruit from the area of one hectare. From then on, this numerical value counts as the measure of all values for a business plan. You can use it to calculate your profit in advance, get easier access to EU subsidies, or even a bank loan. So, the investors’ expectations about the …

Read More »
The Curse of Money

The Curse of Money

What is the connection between a Nepalese migrant worker in Odemira, the biggest municipality in the Alentejo, who works in an agro-industrial company like the British-Belgian-Portuguese Vitacress (RAR group) or the German Gemüsering GmbH Stuttgart*(4) – along with many other multinational agro-businesses – and the Portuguese forest fires? You might think, at least at first glance, none at all; there is no direct link, and anyone who made one would possibly be doing so with malicious intent. But it’s not so simple in a globally networked world, where capital for investments can quickly be shifted from one country to another. …

Read More »