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Dirty money? That’ll be from Brussels and Luxembourg.

Saturday 2nd March 2024. Can you smell the money? My first forest fire arrived without any declaration of war, yet we are now engaged in a battle that has been going on for a lot longer than the war in Ukraine. It’s a climate war, which started on 11 September 2003 with a fire that blazed its way through Monchique to Silves and then came back, via Aljezur, right into the heart of the Odemira municipality, destroying over 40,000 hectares of forest before finally being extinguished only a week later. 400 km² multiplied by 20,000 tons of CO2 per km²! …

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Have a nice weekend

What is wrong and what is right? If only this were always so clear. A decision had to be taken. It’s always easy to be wise after the event. On the morning of 3 August 2018, a group of men assembled at the Lisbon HQ to discuss the day’s business, weighing up the pros and cons. Should they switch off the overland power lines in southern Alentejo and the Algarve, or should they allow them to carry on as normal? This was the kind of day when anything could happen: an ideal day for a misadventure, an ideal day for …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Out and about on foot at almond blossom time
Monchique Mountain Marathon 2017

How far can we still travel using our own bodies and on our own feet? Monchique Mountain Marathon 2017 is an offer to take you on several different guided walks and hikes. Between Christmas and the New Year, you can discover the Algarve uplands on twelve paths, some longer some shorter. Being out and about on foot opens up a unique opportunity to get to know Monchique with your own senses: the natural surroundings of the mountains with its streams, mills and waterfalls, the ancient forests of cork oaks and chestnut trees; the culture of regional music, local dishes and …

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nature tourism walking trails in Portugal

Speaking of nature tourism…

Every forest fire makes our country poorer, much poorer than we can imagine. It sets a whole avalanche of consequences in motion. More CO2 in the atmosphere causes temperatures to rise. Heat waves, torrential rainfall, storms and soil erosion are the consequences of climate change, which is itself aggravated again and again and more and more by forest fires. With every house that burns down, the risks increase, and hence the cost of insurance policies. The variety of flora and fauna declines. Agriculture and forestry are destroyed, bee populations die out. With every forest fire, there is less interest in …

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rota vicentina

My Way
Rota Vicentina: 14 + one day)

Via Algarviana – Rota Vicentina – Rota do Pescador   Day 1 – Aljezur – Odeceixe (18 km) On this first day of April, the sky is as I know it in April: unsettled. For the last two weeks, I’ve been walking the 250 kilometres along the Via Algarviana, with little more than a sense of the Atlantic in the near distance. Now I can raise my nose into the wind, smelling salt and all sorts of colourful things by the wayside. The lines on the paper of my map indicate a further 350 kilometres, which I welcome with a …

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The scene with long queues and lots of elderly people in the post office is repeated every month. More than a dozen people stand there in a queue and wait for their pensions. Most of them receive a sum that is way below €400. The money is paid to them in cash, and counted out in public before being handed over. The post office clerk counts the money out to the pensioner: ten, 20, 30 euros, one hundred, two hundred, three hundred euros, and then the money is stuck in the envelope which had previously contained the payment slip from …

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Ruins – a realisable utopia

Does Monchique really need a cable car? When organising a town or a city, the most fundamental requirement is, first of all, to define a strategic concept, however utopian this may be, that will enable everyone to understand what sort of human activity is essential there. The house is the first cosmic concept of organised and potentially positive space in the town’s dynamic construction, with all of its dreams and aspirations. Utopia is a necessary part of any visionary reform that can appeal to the town’s social imagination. The town mirrors the way in which social and personal relationships are …

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