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In the South: Journeying on foot
DAY 1 – Thirst – an unexpectedly great one

DAY 1 – Thirst – an unexpectedly great one

On a Sunday in October in this warm and dry year, at the tail end of a summer that shows no signs of wanting to end, I pull the door shut behind me, lock it, shoulder my backpack and start walking east, with my dog for company. I‘ve taken a week‘s time out for myself: a week with no computers, a life without Internet. In reality I want to take the track starting right behind my house, a trail leading into nature or, well, what is left of it after the great forest fire of 2018. After a few kilometres …

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On the Road to Nowhere

To Be or to Have, that too is the question here. Renault is celebrating its 122nd anniversary. What is there to celebrate exactly? Three stories come to my mind, completely different ones. The first is this: a seven-year old boy is hit by a car. The child, as noted in the police report, wanted to cross the street with his scooter at a pedestrian crossing. On doing so, the boy is hit by the car of a 48-year old driver. In the accident on Sunday evening the seven-year old was dragged along several metres by the car and was later …

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The Abuse of Power in Times of Crisis.
By Theobald Tiger

There are stories that all seem to resemble one another. It’s always about money and the lack of justice, including social justice. These stories tell of arbitrary actions on the part of state institutions, injustice, a lack of rights and the abuse of power. No, we’re not writing a story about China or the Philippines. Instead, we’re trying to keep our own house in order. This story was told to me by Maria N*, who is 67 years old and has been retired for a year. Every month she receives just under 400 euros. To earn this right, she paid …

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Time is money?

Humans always want more: more technology, more comfort, more consumption, more money. Their lifestyle throws up many unanswered questions. What is happening in the fields, the forests, the streets, the cities, the workplaces, the schools and universities? Humans shirk from concrete responses and decisions. Humans carry on, just like their machines, as if these questions – what is inside their food, their clothing, their medication? – weren’t relevant. Has industrialisation poisoned them and their Earth? How clean is the groundwater, the air they breathe? Does their lifestyle stand in the way of further development? Should Humans not simply switch off …

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Is there life before death?

The setting is Nepal. Looking out the window of his childhood home, M gazes across a green valley, with some mixed and conifer forest a little further down. M is from Merangdi, a village with a handful of houses in the Solukhumbu district. In fine weather, stepping out of his parents’ house and looking up towards the north, he can see the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, 8,848 metres high, in the sky. The tall summit towering above the valley and Province no. 1 is an imposing sight. M and his three siblings, two older brothers and a …

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It’s a Man’s Man’s World

People usually define success using external values such as money, status and bodily perfection. What human beings tend to leave aside are mental goals such as emotional well-being, the ability to enjoy life and to manage emotions, as well as the acquisition of the skills involved. You seldom learn these things at home, in school or at university. A cloak of silence covers any discussion of mental well-being and the management of emotions: not functioning is considered embarrassing. If humans want to find out how come they spend their lives running after money, work and a sick economic growth, they’ll …

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Dumpster Diving

Where? Lisbon, 7pm. Pling! A WhatsApp message: ‘You’re coming shopping tonight?’ ‘Shopping’ is code here for the ‘respiga’, Dumpster Diving. Wikipedia has it nailed down: ‘Dumpster diving (also ‘skipping’) is salvaging unused items discarded by their owners… from… waste containers.’ So, what does this look like in real life? At 8pm, we are waiting, with backpacks, head torch and rubber gloves at the ready, opposite our trusted organic supermarket. Half an hour later, we hear the comforting rumble of the wheelie bins, then wait till they are all lined up and the security guards are on their way. ‘Boa noite, …

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Is Eucalyptus Invasive?

Not everyone places economic growth at number one on their aspirational wish list. The area behind A’s house marks the beginning of a forest. If truth be told, A is living with B, his wife, inside the forest. On his plot of land, measuring one hectare, you’ll find over 500 trees of all kinds: umbrella pines, cork oaks, strawberry trees, willows, alders and ash, bay trees, birches and beeches, olive trees, cedars, chestnuts, and all kinds of fruit trees. Every tree, he says, has its own place, its own home. To him, the forest is the last paradise remaining to …

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The House is Falling Down
The trial against EDP Distribuição Energia SA has started

828 days have passed since the last great forest fire in the Monchique mountains. Now, in mid-November 2020, the judiciary is finally moving. Dare I say, a snail is approaching the finishing line? The third branch of power of the State is independent. In the dock, we have EDP Distribuição Energia SA, the company caught up in the tangled web of the former monopolist, which seems to be completely overwhelmed by its task. It transports electricity via transmission lines from the energy provider to the customers and end-users. The latter are starting to abandon EDP Comercial – now SU Electricidade …

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Forests, our Natural Heritage

Inspired by  https://florestautoctone.webnode.pt/ When I cast my mind back to the beginning of my time on earth, I remember my first visit to a forest, where the crowns of the trees provided shade for the soft soil underfoot. Huge, age-old and very strong trees, mostly beeches, oaks and pines. There were scattered birches and ash trees, trees that were both small and large, living together in their own universe. We would play hide-and-seek in the woods. There were caves and rock formations, many of which were overgrown with moss. It was always reassuringly cool, always a little damp, and occasionally …

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