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Short Stories

Nº 126 – The right book at the right time.

Saturday 30th April 2022. The news that are missing from the media The „forgotten news“ of 2022 This year, the ranking of what has become known as the „Forgotten News“ is dominated by an environmental issue. The extinction of the butterflies A third of all butterfly species have already disappeared from our planet. The reasons for this are the lack of habitat and food plants, the use of pesticides in agriculture and finally climate change. However, butterflies have – similar to bees and other insects – an elementary role within the ecosystem: they contribute to the pollination of plants, creating …

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Nº 124 – Edible wild plants in Eco-gardens

Saturday 09.04.2022. Lisbon. It‘s a bright sunny Sunday morning in early April. A tiled azulejo panel in the parking lot of the Praia da Aguda in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park describes the beauty of this beach in verse. Down below the sea is throwing magnificently regular waves; seen from the cliffs the surfers appear tiny. Not easily overlooked with her flaming ginger hair is Filomena Aivado. Today Filomena and João Santos, founders of the Lisbon-based initiative “Hortas Ecológicas” are taking us on a stroll around the world of edible wild plants. This is part of a regular programme presenting indigenous plants …

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Nº 123 – Ana Pêgo and the unsustainable weight of marine pollution

Saturday 22th January 2022. “People hear the problem, they get scared faced with this problem and do want to change, but end up considering that it’s very hard and they won’t be able to do it.” It’s to counter this way of thinking that marine biologist Ana Pêgo works to raise awareness for ocean protection in communities. At the end of the day, change is within reach for each and any one of us. Step by step, we can all be agents of change. Known for being a woman on a mission, Ana the biologist sees marine waste as a …

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Nº 122 – Emission-free cooking and baking: for free and outdoors

Saturday the 15th of January 2022. It happened in 2016 and in 2018, then again in 2020 and once more now in 2022: every other year Faro hosts a meeting of the International Community of the Friends of Solar Cooking and Baking, by the name of CONSOLFOOD. This time the meeting is taking place between Monday 24 January and Wednesday, 26 January, and this time under the conditions of a global pandemic the event is held online at www.consolfood.org. Many people in developing countries still burn wood, charcoal or even rubbish on open fireplaces for cooking. The reason they do …

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Nº 121 – Empathy

Saturday 8th January 2022. Our dear friend, Bal Krishna, is dead. Bal just made it into the new year, before dying in the evening of the first day of 2022 at Portimao hospital where he’d already had to spend nearly three weeks. We are mourning a great, sensitive human being with a big heart. Whenever I visited him I felt accepted. Generous, modest and humble, he  often reminded me of the great Mahatma Gandhi. He loved to go swimming in the Atlantic sea at crack of dawn. A quiet and calm man, he was a pioneer in lending his calling …

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Nº 120 – What’s the problem with European railways?
3rd part

3rd part

Saturday, 1st January 2022. As early as 1883, long before the foundation of the European Union, a train connected France, Germany, Austria and Yougoslavia with Turkey: the Orient Express. Its passengers would cover some 3000 kilometers in three days: from Paris via Vienna and Budapest all the way to Varna, later on also from the Alps via Venice to the Danube and into the powder keg that was the Balcans. It was considered the train of kings, diplomats, writers and other legendary passengers in Mata Hari, Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich and Agatha Christie, who was inspired to write „Murder on …

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Nº 119 – What’s the problem with European railways?
Second part

Second part

Saturday 25th December 2021. Despite being a more environmentally-friendly alternative to airlines and road transport, Europe’s rail networks are underused. Today, a unified, European cross-border train network is more a fantasy than a reality. The reasons are many, ranging from decades of underinvestment over a ‘fortress’ mentality of national companies to liberalisation in the 90s. Here’s a guide to the many tracks one needs to navigate to understand the problem with European railways. What’s the problem with European railways? The current state of European railways is that of a patchwork, rather than a network. For decades, countries across Europe invested …

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Nº 118 – Derailed – how EU states are sabotaging European rail

Saturday, the 18th dezember 2021. 2021 has been proclaimed as the “Year of the Railway” by the European Commission. A „Europe Express“ trip taking in 100 cities and towns between Portugal, Slovenia and France was supposed to promote a new era in European rail. Yet the PR tour turned into a disaster. The promotional train demonstrated the the EU governments’ failure in railway policy. The journey through 26 states and across 33 borders required no fewer than 55 locomotives. For on Europe’s railway tracks, nothing really fits or connects with each other. Strange that, when EU politicians fall over each …

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Nº 117 – An autist called homo sapiens

Saturday 4th December 2021. Careful! This story is only suitable for animals of the species homo sapiens able to read freely and think for themselves, who have some interest in biodiversity maybe and want to know what is really hiding behind this grandstanding name. Those who are already enjoying a friendship with a pet, a „friendship“ in the true sense of the word, mind – are sure to undertake a first step in the right direction, into the nature of planet Earth and its still fairly colourful diversity of flora and fauna. The latter is however steadily shrinking. Why? Because …

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Nº 116 – Climate protection in Esgravatadouro – Caldas de Monchique
Why not become an active member of our Botanic Forest Garden

Saturday 27th November 2021. When winter arrives in the Monchique mountains, all life slows down a little, and the first rains turn the soil humid. Every year, at exactly this time we start planting our new biodiverse mixed forest on the areas destroyed by a forest fire in 2018: a major challenge and a present to the generations coming after us. In our own little nursery we have taken out time to prepare the many different seedlings for this moment, raising them over two, three or more years in planting pots. Now is the time to gift every little tree …

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