Wednesday, November 14, 2018
pt-ptende
Home | Portugal | Report

Report

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 »
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 …

Read More »

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, …

Read More »
School at a time of rural exodus

School at a time of rural exodus

In remote regions, schools are shrinking, many are being closed. The pupils are being concentrated in centralised schools, have to travel long distances and become estranged from their families. For young families with children, life in the countryside is becoming even more unattractive. They are moving away, and the schools are shrinking even further. What is to be done? This is the question that is being asked by those in charge of education, headteachers and parents. In the Alentejo, children are becoming quick-change artists, twelve-year-old José Manuel forexample.* On his parents’ farm, he’s a country lad, able to perform any task …

Read More »