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Marching for action on climate change

droughtRallies are being organised across Portugal and around the world this weekend to promote action rather than words in tackling the problem of climate change.

The international mobilisation effort “to build a cleaner, fairer, safer world” is being staged to coincide with the United Nations summit meeting on climate change in New York.

The summit is the first time world leaders have sat down to discuss the problem – some say the biggest in history - since the summit in Copenhagen five years ago. Little has been achieved since then to stop the climate situation worsening.

The biggest street marches, some perhaps involving hundreds of thousands, will take place in New York and other cities including London, Berlin, Paris, Delhi, Rio and Melbourne. Groups large and small are expected to gather in Lisbon, Porto and at other locations in Portugal, such as Faro, Tavira and Silves in the Algarve, and in the Azores.

The various organisers hope that globally it will be the biggest climate change mobilisation ever. Nearly 400,000 people have signed up on an Avaaz digital site to say they will be taking part.

Greenpeace, Oxfam and the World Wildlife Fund are among the many organisations supporting the effort to get world leaders to recognise the groundswell of public opinion.

The widespread belief is that the world can be powered entirely by renewable energy and make economies more sustainable. The transition to a clean energy future would among other things create millions of new jobs.

Activists say they want world leaders, without any further delay, “to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet.”

Put simply, according to Avaaz campaigners, “we need to break free from the shackles of the fossil fuel industry in order to address the climate crisis. We’re already seeing the devastating impacts of climate change around the world, with the poorest and most vulnerable being the hardest hit.

“There can be no climate justice without economic justice, but there won’t be any economic justice without facing up to our climate reality.”

As previously reported in Portugal Newswatch, one of the messages from top scientists attending an international conference on climate change in Lisbon was that the world must expect increasing deluges, droughts, firestorms, landslides, avalanches, gales and tornadoes.

It is predicted that the Mediterranean could rise by half a metre by 2050 and wipe out coastal communities. Southern Europe generally is likely to get hotter and dry up. The farming of fruits, cereals and vegetables in southern Iberia may have to be abandoned; tropical species of mosquitoes may move north bringing with them diseases such as malaria and encephalitis.

In Portugal's southernmost region an irreversible process of desertification may be already underway. It could become as dry as the Sahara countries of North Africa.

The message from marchers this weekend is that global action must be taken now to stop this sort of thing happening.

© Len Port 2014


News from Tavira on Sunday

The Tavira anti-climate action involved meeting at Beterraba shop near the municipal market then an eco-minded walk around the Salinas ending up at Praça da republica in Tavira at 1pm.

Despite the rain (climate change?) the meeting went well and over 30 signatures added to the global campaign to get government heads to agree meaningful targets and to push the green energy and reduced pollution agenda.

Below are some points that could help get local discussions started and we intend to follow up this campaign with some concrete actions on environmental quality.



Ways to help fight Climate Change

In the Home:

   Look at using Solar Energy for heat and electricity

   Install a wood-burner to heat in winter

   Grow your own herbs & vegetables (try containers)

   Eat healthy using as much local food as possible (organic where possible)

   Share any excess or surplus with friends/family

   Tolerate temperature changes with clothing

   Use washing products that are less harmful to nature

   Use healthy and local cosmetics

   Try to use unbleached cotton and natural fabrics

   Exercise regularly and take note of your local area, help to keep it  clean.

   Drive more efficiently

   Reduce excessive water use

   Use less plastic bags/packaging and recycle as much as possible. Combine  with neighbours for organic compost and land use.

In your local area:

  Travel by foot, bicycle or public transport where possible and avoid unnecessary journeys

  Buy local food, cosmetics and other products

  Campaign for information from your council to see how much is produce locally and get contacts of local suppliers.

  Ask you council for air/water quality regular results.

  Campaign for supermarkets to display local producers and their products.

  Ask your local council to provide land for community vegetable gardens and try to get this close to schools

   Ask your council to publish regular details of recycling efforts and  what happens to un recycled materials.

   Join local regular exercise groups/clubs

Nationally and Globally

   Get Politicians to take up your causes and report back to you what they have achieved or the problems they face. Work with them to overcome these


  Organise energy supplies to obtain 100% clean supplies-let’s hear the problems in doing this!

   Governments to support healthy diets and living and to support local  producers with legislation to supermarkets to use and name local suppliers.

  National/Global regular measurements of air/water quality and highlight areas of concern from pollution.

  Set legislation with environment as top priority

  Bureaucracies to ensure new technologies to reduce consumption and encourage local production are assisted by easy take up from consumers

  Work with UN to get global charter to protect environment from all countries.

  Environmental rating of Hotels and tourist activities.


About Len Port

Len Port has been a journalist for 50 years, working as a staff reporter, broadcaster and freelance correspondent for many leading news organisations. He covered events in the Far East in the Sixties, and in Northern Ireland and South Africa in the Seventies. Since moving to Portugal in the early Eighties, he has edited regional magazines, contributed to national dailies in Britain and written several books, two of which are currently available as ebooks with Amazon.


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+2 #5 Edward Montague 2014-09-22 16:34
We, the British branch of Avaaz Portugal urge all Brits to join us in campaigning for compensation to pay for our wasted 'investments' in Portugal.


The recent Portuguese feel Inferior to British pamphlet makes it quite clear that the way this basketcase country - as with Spain - thinks about the UK was well known when they applied to join the EU.

The UK must have been re-assured at the time by both the countries concerned and Brussels that any mis-behaviour would be compensated.

However this process has clearly never been activated - or all of us British mistreated and frustrated in Iberia when attempting to live here or to be economically active would know about it.

With the understanding that the Iberians would not give any assistance - we urge you to petition Brussels for this compensation. To cover both direct loss; anticipated loss (a business); lost health and unreasonable stress.
+2 #4 Peter Booker 2014-09-22 16:24
And how many of us retirees forgot World Alzheimer Day on Sunday 21st?

I think there may be something in this climate change stuff, because governments are not forcing it down our throats.

My standard measurement is street lighting. There are zillions of street lamps in the world lighting empty streets, and wasting energy. I count the street lamps in our village, and compare the number of people. There are roughly three times as many lamps as people. In my youth, lamps were turned out at midnight. If they went out at midnight nowadays, we should save about half of the electricity bill, and thereby contribute to saving the planet. Until they do the obvious big things, why should we individuals labour over the minuscule?
+4 #3 Enid 2014-09-21 17:34
To motivate those that doubt climate change but still want to march about 'something' - can the Portuguese march organisers Avaaz bundle in Racism and Animal Rights as well ? Also Chemicals in crops ?

That would get a broader spectrum of 'concerned' and 'aware' people. And show Portugal is aware of and shares these values and issues too.

Just a passing comment - It always seems odd that the annual World Racism Day always passes without notice in Portugal. Yet gets many hundreds of thousands out in the streets elsewhere !
+2 #2 TT 2014-09-21 15:36
I tend to agree @RCK. Whilst it is good that some responsibility has to be taken to 'clean up our act', climate change has been proven to be a natural, cyclic phenomenon, but politicians have seized upon the opportunity to use it as yet another excuse to fleece us of our hard-earned.
+1 #1 RCK 2014-09-21 13:03
Climate change/Global warming. Apologies to the believers - but I personally don't believe a word of it. Meanwhile, as an aside, Portugal has officially had it's coldest August for 14 years and so far, September seems to be heading in the same direction. I truly believe, that future generations will look back at our generation, in the same way that we look back at the flat earthers of yesteryear. I expect I will get hammered for this posting, but feel I am part of the silent majority.

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