Friday, July 19, 2019
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Report

Above the clouds, always towards the sun

Solar Impulse, the solar-powered round-the-world flight. Flying was always one of humankind’s dreams, in order to be able to observe the world where we live like a bird. But the beginnings were difficult, when the Wright brothers took to the air in their first gliders and later motor-powered aeroplanes at the start of the 20th century. Building on that, in the last 100 years, air travel has become one of the biggest commercial sectors with the highest CO2 emissions. Today, we are possibly witnessing a new revolution in air travel – without CO2. SolarImpulse 1 SolarImpulse is a Swiss company …

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Not only in Portugal …

… but all over the world, more and more people are asking themselves how humans could live their lives more sustainably. Ana Nunes and Carlos Abafa from Monchique are two of them. “Economy and ecology follow separate paths – it cannot continue like that in the future,” they say. Their question is based on a critique of the concept of the industrialised, throw-away society we currently live in, of life in a one-way street with endlessly growing mountains of rubbish, unrestricted exploitation of our planet’s natural resources, industrial intensive livestock farming, the monocultures of eucalyptus forests and dependence on fossil …

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Braga in Transition

The group ‘Braga in Transition’ first appeared in 2011, drawing on the artistic movement known by the name of ‘Projéctil’. According to Hélder Faria, one of its members, this occurred naturally because “it is always in an artistic context that awareness is raised.” “Our day-to-day work is a process of gradual change, we change habits slowly. We don’t detach ourselves radically from the system, and we’re attentive to what’s around us.” They believe that they must approach daily tasks in a positive frame of mind. “We can’t let ourselves become dispirited owing to the difficulties that all of us face …

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Transition in Linda-A-Velha

“This all began with a party”, recall Gonçalo Pais (38) and Fernando de Oliveira (45). Both live in the Lisbon dormitory town of Linda-A-Velha that packs almost 20,000 inhabitants into 2.32 km2. In the morning, the majority of adults head off to work, dropping their children off at schools along the way. And at night, they return to their respective slots in their tall blocks of flats. Since the opening of the largest supermarket in Pingo Doce’s chain in Portugal, the local weekly market with its direct trade in fresh vegetables and fish has died a death. The Transition initiative …

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Famalicão in transition

For a long time, people have been warning about the exhaustion of large-scale industrial production – threatened by factors of a natural, social and environmental nature. The worst-case scenarios will force the vast majority of people to radically alter their lifestyles. Oil-based products, and their highly polluting derivatives, are to be found everywhere in the daily lives of people in the big cities. If there is a break in supplies, it will occur suddenly. It was with this in mind that the group “Famalicão in Transition” was formed in 2011, says Manuela Araújo, the main driving force behind a group …

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Monchique in transition

It is nine years since the university lecturer Rob Hopkins(1) started a movement of change, in the small Irish town of Kinsale. The movement has been expanding ever since and today it is established or being established in several hundred cities. Monchique was the first place in the Algarve to join and create a small group to spearhead the project in December 2011. The project functions on the basis of trust, which means small localised groups, and 250 members at most. ECO123 spoke to one of the activists, Lesley Martin, who told us that she prefers to progress step by …

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Beja in transition

To find out more about the ‘Transition Movement’ in Beja, ECO123 interviewed the facilitator Pedro Franco. An agricultural engineer by profession, he does consultancy work in agricultural projects and permaculture design at the ‘Centre of Excellence for the Enhancement of Mediterranean Resources’(1). The movement in Beja is at an embryonic stage: it has 29 members and aims to make transition happen by adopting a “slowly but surely” approach. ECO123: What is the ‘Transition Movement’? Pedro Franco: Above all, it’s a civic, civil and apolitical movement. It is a group of people who are aware of a situation in the near …

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herdade de carvalhoso

Getting Portugal its grain basket back

Herdade de Carvalhoso There are ever more cases of business success for firms linked to the organic food sector but Herdade de Carvalhoso clearly represents a unique case within the Portuguese context. Located in Ciborro, just outside Montemor-O-Novo, in the Alentejo, a region historically considered the grain basket of Portugal, Herdade de Carvalhoso, founded in the 1970s, started out dedicated only to the production of cereals, primarily maize and rice. In the 1980s, particularly following Portuguese membership of the then European Economic Community, funds became available for investing in agriculture. This fact, associated with a high level of cereal production …

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águias-de-bonelli

Life in the Nest.

Once upon a time, there were two royal children who were brought up by two Bonelli’s eagles. On 15th and 18th March 2013, they slipped out of their two eggs that had been laid, carefully hidden away in a safe nest made of twigs and leaves high up in a pine tree deep in the forest. The queen had sat on the eggs for 42 days until they hatched. Meanwhile, the king of all the birds flew in circles, slowly using the good thermals to work his way upwards with his 175 cm wide wings to lofty heights to get …

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Eucaliptos cutter in Monchique

Monchique, and eucalyptus in Portugal.

At present, there is a population of 6,045 living in an area of 396 square kilometres, surrounded by hills and forests. 76% of these are eucalyptus plantations. During the most recent forest fires in 2003, 317 square kilometres of forest burned in ten days, i.e. 80% of the municipality. A trauma that still lives on today because the fire brigade were barely able to put the fires out. Twelve years before, in 1991, fires raged in Monchique for a week. Again and again, the upland forests catch fire and destroy the small-scale farming livelihoods of the inhabitants even more. And …

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