Sunday, December 15, 2019
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Sowing water…

… is an old Portuguese saying associated with traditional agriculture. A farmer never uses insecticides, pesticides and fungicides, those poisonous chemicals, to kill insects, weeds and fungi. They live with them, as every living thing has its place in the countryside and in the forest and the rainwater seeps into the soil to make it fertile and healthy. In this way the water is held back so that it doesn’t flow directly down the slope to the stream and permeates the soil to give it life and allow growth in the garden. ECO123 visited Carlos Fernandes (46), one of the …

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The monopoly

Without it nothing works. And it’s been that way since 1976. It’s a business worth millions. Only someone who’s on the inside really knows what’s going on in there. It’s one of the big businesses that are still very profitable and in which the state and governments, regardless of their politics, continue to have the last word and where, until recently, it was the state itself that collected the profits. It’s become a legal drug, electricity. The electricity business in Portugal has been monopolised for too long. Permission to sell electricity allows you to accumulate wealth and arrogance that are …

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The desirable future of solar energy in Portugal

As a researcher working on the governance of energy transitions in 2016, I was fascinated by the relatively slow growth of solar energy in Portugal despite the amazing potential. I crafted a research project to explore this with a focus on accountability relations, and successfully competed for a position at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation in Norway, where I feel fortunate to explore this and similar issues with some fantastic colleagues. Between 2017 and 2019, I have spent about five months in Portugal, studying the multi-sited and multi-scalar geographies of solar energy uptake, from the capital Lisbon to …

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FF Solar Supplement

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Kyoto

Willst du wissen, wie viel CO2 du während eines Jahres in die Atmosphäre pustest? Nein? Besser nicht? Dann gehörst du zu der Mehrheit derjenigen, die entweder gerade keine Zeit haben, oder vorgeben, keine Zeit zu haben oder die sagen, sie seien Vielflieger und es würde deshalb sowieso keinen Sinn machen, an diesem Test teilzunehmen. Du befindest dich damit in guter Gesellschaft. Die Mehrheit unserer Leser – die Mehrheit unserer Gesellschaft – die Mehrheit der Menschheit – ist nicht besonders mutig, wenn es darum geht, zukunftsfähig zu sein. Fast alle, mit denen ich persönlich gesprochen habe und das waren einige hundert …

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The dream of a solar village

The law slows things down. But change is coming and communities want to be at the forefront of energy transition. In the parish of São Luís, the first renewable energy community in Portugal may soon be born. The early summer sun shines down on six new solar panels on the roofs of residents in São Luís, Odemira. The slogan “Power to the people!” is being taken literally by this tranquil village in the south-west of Portugal. “We’re living in a very paternalistic market. But there is going to be a big change in the distribution of electricity in Portugal, and …

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Force to stop and rethink?

This year, a tremendous expansion of airports and air traffic was agreed in Lisbon. Transport – and more specifically aviation – is the sector that most contributes to the greenhouse effect. But we live on the threshold of a transformation. Do we want to travel by plane tomorrow? A story told between Sweden and Lisbon. Alexandre Seguro is 17 years old. On 25 July, he will sit the national maths exam, his last challenge in secondary education. Four days later, he will participate in the World Peace Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. The choice of transport was obvious to him: “I …

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European Day of Sustainable Communities

On 21 September residents of Cloughjordan ecovillage, Co. Tipperary, in Ireland, and the wider local community, will gather at the annual Apple Festival, to celebrate the harvest and those that tend the orchards, work the land and create delicious food. They will arrive bearing musical instruments, bags of fruit for juicing and home-made pies — there is stiff competition for the prize of best apple pie! Activities include a guided walk of the ecovillage’s 70 native varieties of apples, a tour of the adjoining community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm, which feeds over 100 adults and children, a workshop on seed-saving and …

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BEACON, a beacon in the dark?

Are journalists able to take a neutral stance? Who chooses the stories they work on, and who decides the way these are presented? Do they portray reality and describe it through their words – like someone dressing a mannequin in a shop window? What are these stories that journalists write? What influence does intuition have in their work? What is the perspective of journalists when they observe and ask, listen and touch, sense the taste and smell, and then tell their story? What pictures do they choose? Questioning yourself and your work also calls into question the meaning of what …

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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 …

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