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Short Stories

Helping dogs and cats?

Saturday, 24th february 2024. In the light of current events, we’d like to postpone our story about the Navigator Company until next week and take the opportunity to ask what happens when a need is greater than the services on offer? What happens when an association looking after a town’s abandoned and sick animals, dogs and cats, providing them with food, shelter and medical attention, runs out of money, as the task is proving simply too big and the need far greater than can be remedied with the funds that the association has available? This situation leaves only two possibilities: …

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ECO 123 follows the money. Where does the money come from and where does it go?

Saturday, 17th february 2024. The European Investment Bank (ElB) is the European Union’s long-term lending institution, owned by its 27 Member States. It finances sound investments that contribute to EU policy objectives. EIB’s projects strengthen competitiveness, drive innovation, promote sustainable development, enhance social and territorial cohesion, and support a fair and swift transition to climate neutrality. ECO123 took a closer look at the bank’s activities. The EIB Group, which also includes the European Investment Fund (EIF), underwrote a total of €88 billion in new financing for over 900 projects in 2023. These commitments are expected to mobilise around €320 billion in investment, …

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Zero Emissions soon in Torres Vedras?
Portugal’s first municipality with a serious climate action plan

Portugal’s first municipality with a serious climate action plan

Saturday 10th February 2024. Portugal has 308 municipalities. One of these is Torres Vedras. Located 54 km north-west of Lisbon, it covers an area of 407 km². The medium-sized city, which is home to 83,072 people (2021 census) and spreads across 13 parishes, is governed by the Socialist Party and its mayor Laura Maria Jesus Rodrigues. Last week, on 31 January, the municipality’s Climate Action Plan was presented to the public at a well-attended event in the auditorium of the Environmental Education Centre. The city’s inhabitants now have the opportunity to comment on it publicly from 2 to 15 February. …

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The Global Economy in 358 Pages.
From Antiquity to the Present Day

From Antiquity to the Present Day

Saturday 3rd February 2024. The small publishing house “Haupt”, based in Bern, Switzerland, has published an interesting and important book. Telling the story of the spice trade over 5,000 years, it was written by Norwegian journalist Thomas Reinertsen Berg and translated from Norwegian into German. Why isn’t this book also available in Portuguese and English translations? And why does a Norwegian have to write a book about the history of spices when Portugal played such an important role in their trade, alongside the Netherlands, England, China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka? Wouldn’t this also have been a suitable topic …

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Last Museum before America!

Saturday 27th January 2024. Now, here for once we have not just talk – things are actually delivered. Last Monday, the new museum of Vila do Bispo was inaugurated by Mayor Rute Silva in the presence of the president of the Algarvian CCDR (Coordination and Development Commission) José Apolinário. The new Museum Vila do Bispo is called O Celeiro da História – The Barn of History – and is the result of the restoration of the former Celeiros de Vila do Bispo – EPAC. The formerly dilapidated building has been transformed into a public cultural centre. A public centre of …

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Rural exodus.
An op-ed by Uwe Heitkamp

An op-ed by Uwe Heitkamp

Saturday 20th January 2023. Monchique, Portugal. According to the latest most recent census of 2021 there are still 5,462 residents living here. We’ve seen better times, when Monchique still boasted 14,779 residents. That was in 1960. At the time everybody was in work, meaningful, worthwhile work. This dictatorship thing wasn’t great, true, but at least you had your stock of medronho at home. Right? Exercising his profession, a shoemaker would earn what he needed to live. A farmer had his shoes made to measure at home by travelling shoemakers from Monchique. Monchique provided the potatoes, the bacon and the sweetcorn …

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Where, in God’s good name, are we headed?

Saturday 13th January 2023. Right now, in wintertime, is a good moment to start thinking about the coming summer and to take some decisions on how we citizens in Monchique and elsewhere in Portugal should prepare for the coming drought and forest fires. Personally, I’m someone who likes to combine my experiences from yesterday and the day before with a perspective for the future. Monchique is a case in point here. It is ourselves who have provoked the high number of forest fires, because some large-scale landowners have planted monocultures nearly everywhere, thus destroying the traditional, long-established, organically grown forest, …

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The drip-drip principle

Saturday 6th January 2024. Bom dia to you in this New Year. Business as usual? Or can we look forward to something new after all? Well, on 10 March we will be electing a new government (in Portugal) – and between 6 and 9 June a new European Parliament.There will also be elections in Russia, as well as in the USA. The Donald Trump horror show shows no signs of abating. Some hold on to the belief that everything will remain the same. Others have not yet given up hope that something new, something better is just around the corner. Politics is …

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So here’s the good news.

Protecting existing forests and reforesting suitable areas could fix some 226 billion tons of carbon dioxide, representing an active contribution to climate protection. This is the conclusion reached by a 200-strong group of researchers headed by scientist Lidong Mo of ETH Zurich (Switzerland) in the renowned journal Nature. As long as forests remain intact, they are able to absorb carbon dioxide from the air and compensate greenhouse gas emissions. This is not about “planting trees on a massive scale”, emphasises ETH professor Thomas Crowther. Rather, this is about supporting communities and farmers on the ground, in order to increase biodiversity …

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Interview with CEO from Pepper Motion

Saturday, 23rd December 2023. Many of us view driving – so comfortable, isn’t it? – as a liberation from arduous walking. As for me, I’ve been fighting for years against the noise levels of the Algarve Autodrome, where at this time of day test drives are once more taking place in preparation of some car race or other. It’s the combustion engine that transforms petrol into smelly exhaust fumes, deafening to boot when the southwesterly blows from the Atlantic, bringing with it the never-ending noise. These days, quiet, clean and environmentally-friendly alternatives are available in motoring. There just needs to …

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