It started with a conversation on the importance of the environment to the region and in particular, the issues with the exploration for gas and petrol in the Algarve.
This was followed by music, which attracted more members of the public to stop and listen, to what was being said.
There also was a petition circulating against the proposed exploration in the Aljezur, which is to start shortly. Unfortunately, I left to cycle back to Monte Francisco before the finish. But to me, it seemed the audience was growing all the time.
Despite the outcome of the IPCC latest report, COP21 and a new socialist government in Portugal. The new Portuguese Prime Minister says gas and oil exploration in the Algarve is to continue! A group of concerned citizens in the Algarve have been campaigning against the oil and gas companies efforts to explore and exploit potential fossil-fuel deposits. The campaign group Algarve Surfers and Maritime Activities Association (ASMAA) has been very active in raising public awareness of the issue.
These licenses are in areas that are environmentally sensitive, especially those off-shore and onshore the Algarve. With parts of the Algarve being designated areas of Natura 2000 sites. Also Algarve is economically dependent on fishing, sea salt, agriculture and tourism. All of which would be adversely affected by oil and gas exploitation, even without any accidents occurring. During off-shore exploration, seismic and sonar activity, have an extremely detrimental impact on marine life.
Our oceans are already being badly affected by pollution, global warming, acidification, overfishing and even excess carbon dioxide. Carbon Dioxide intoxication was also covered by Portuguese papers: Peixes podem ficar intoxicados em meados deste século. We are already feeling the affects of climate change, with major changes in our weather. JP Sottile, writing for the Truthout magazine puts the argument against further oil and gas exploitation quite well: Mother Nature’s invisible hand strikes back against the carbon economy?
I would call on the new Portuguese Socialist Government to cancel these oil and gas contracts. And to revitalise the last Socialist Governments investment in renewable energy developments and energy efficiency. The International Energy Agency (IEA) once praised Portugal’s efforts to strengthen its energy policy: Portugal 2009 review. Though I would not agree with all the IEA’s recommendations, especially with regard to privatisation.
I had only been in the Algarve for a week, when I found out about Faro’s first beer festival. It was during the weekend of Friday 3rd July till 0200hrs, Monday 6th July with the temperature in the high 30s. It was opposite the police station and entry was free. It was €2.50 for a festival glass (copo), and beer and food was purchased by vouchers. They had a number of kiosk, where money could be exchanged for vouchers. There were individual stalls for the different artisan breweries and food outlets, with plenty of space to sit down.
On the first day, I tried a pork dish and like festival in the UK, it was short on vegetables. But it could be described as a square meal, 250mm x 250mm (10 sq ins), bread was included.
The food outlets, were all selling bottles of Samual Adams and the Faro Motorcycle club selling, Trooper! There were a large number of Portuguese and Spanish artisan brewers represented:
Sovina, Cabbeer (Spanish), Moura, Octava Colina, Praxis, Rolls Beer, Ballut, La Cibeles, Rapada, Maldita, Deck Beer Lab, Post Scriptum, Letra, Mammooth (Spanish), Amphora, Zézé Blond, Marafada, Seleccáo 1927, Boheme and Vadia. Unfortunately, the weekist beer was 4.8% with most in the 7 and 8%. They were especially keen on stouts and porters, with some only selling the dark beers. Because of the heat, I stayed with the IPAs and wheat beers. The Spanish Mammooth’s wheat beer, was ‘interesting’, a very orange colour. One brewery, Deck Beer Lab, had a badge a bit like Brew Dog with Bath Ale’s hare in it. I was informed, it was an adaption of their restraunts sign, but instead of a pig, they have a rabbit. They also mentioned, the restraunt had being a around a lot longer than Brew Dog.
Also available in the park was a gym and puddings for people to really comfortable in. Though I would imagine, most CAMRA members would not be able to get to their feet again. There were also scenes of mothers openly breast-feeding the children, which might have brought about an early demise for some CAMRA members. Musical entertainment and cookery lesson went on throughout the day. It was very much a carnival atmosphere, with families very much in evidence.