dinsdag 8 augustus 2017

Pan & Demeter Ecological Consultancy attended the 14th European Geoparks Conference, on São Miguel Island, Azores Archipelago, from 7th – 9th, September 2017.
As a member of the Scientific Committee of the Aspiring Geopark Estrela he did an oral presentation entitled: Aspiring Geopark Estrela: Diamonds are forever?


In this presentation Aspiring Geopark Estrela is viewed as a rough diamond which can be cut into many facets.

It is argued why Earth Sciences are not enough to understand the complex ecosystem of Serra da Estrela. In order to grasp all facets of this shiny diamond we also need Human Sciences to manage the area in a sustainable way and to let this unique mountain massif shine at his best.

Without knowledge and willingness it will not be possible to combine both the need for a socio-economic viable community in the Serra da Estrela and the sustainable management of its goods and services with the demand in urban areas for energy, drinking water, leisure, nature, culture and high quality food products. Aspiring Geopark Estrela creates a new momentum both for multidisciplinary research and cooperation of all 9 municipalities in managing the region.

On a historical basis major examples are shown of how facets of the rough Estrela diamond were cut by both its non-living and its living nature, the interaction of both and thus in short by its ecology. Additionally, the role of man in using the genius loci is highlighted and how his technology brought about socio-economic developments in the region, which may explain the present state of the art.

The importance of the phenomenological approach is underlined: understanding the different ways in which people look at nature. The goal is to get anyone around the table who is interested in the area so that good communication is initiated creating opportunities to achieve synergistic collaboration. In other words that all the different viewpoints from artist to scientist, from farmer to townsman, from child to adult, from resident to tourist, civil servant to entrepreneur and so on will fall in the right place. In addition we all have also a view where we personally stand for, being  a more emotional, spiritual view. This view may be called our interior side of sustainability. It all starts with our experience of beauty which connects us with the cosmos including Aspiring Geopark Estrela as a unique part of the world.
The integration of various disciplinary approaches in the field of Earth Sciences and Human Sciences was already targeted in the 19th century by the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa, who organised the scientific expedition to Serra da Estrela in 1881 including numerous academic disciplines.

To remain in the sphere of geosciences and using a metaphor as expression of the phenomenological approach as to optimise the communication between all players in the region, the ultimate goal of this contribution is polishing the existing qualities and supplying suggestions of cutting new facets of Estrela diamond.


Interview on Portuguese TV

dinsdag 1 augustus 2017

Eco-greening of the Mondego valley (Serra da Estrela, Portugal)
Aim of the project: (1) assessment of the role of traditional grazed olive groves for nature conservation and the smart and inclusive sustainable development in the European Union. (2) establishment of an organic group certification system for traditional olive systems in the upper Mondego valley in Portugal. (3) realisation of green farm payments for traditional farming in the Mondego valley. (4) organisation of an international workshop in Guarda (Domínio Vale do Mondego) on realising green payments in the EU.


Unfortunately this project was not awarded by the Van Tienhoven Foundation.