1. Buy a 'Green' Property
purchase a 'green belt site' to construct your dream home. There are
plenty of ruins or restoration projects available (brown belt) to
re-stamp your Carbon foot print on without the environment
governments will tell you there is a desperate need for new housing
for the growing population. STOP, THINK AND LISTEN. Much like you do
for a pedestrian crossing. Think before you act. There may be a
larger global community in the world now, however it is migrating.
It is not necessarily increasing in your local area.
Governments are often prone to
instigating projects before thinking, wiping out green belt zones
in the name of progress. Then years later realising they didn't just
wipe out a community but a way of life.
Take an interest in your local
community, and ask why a disused building is not being
re-designated for use when a green belt planning application comes
2. Shop Locally and Sensibly
Portuguese towns and villages host a weekly market. Fresh, weekly
produce grown locally has a smaller carbon footprint than that of a
supermarket which uses unnecessary cellophane packaging (not
biodegradable). Weekly markets in Portugal are not just a place to
stock up on goods, they are also a social event. Get to know your
neighbours, give them a lift and have a gossip. - Good for you, the
environment and your social life.
Use your own basket or shopping
bag(s) when getting the weekly/monthly shop. Although most
supermarkets in Portugal have bio-degradable shopping bags, these
are still an environmental hazard. Most of our grandmothers and
mothers used the same bag or basket to do their shopping every day
of their lives. It wasn't a fashion statement, just a receptacle to
carry goods. Buck the trend, be your own fashion icon and refuse
to make refuse for the world and help us to make a change for
For many of us recycling in a new thing. However go back 30 or
even 50 years and your grand mother/father would have cursed you if
you threw away a coffee jar, bottle or piece of paper.
After the second world war people
were used to 'make do and mend' lessons we should all now take heed
of, not just for the thriftiness of it, but for the environment.
Your neighbour will most likely bottle either
tomatoes, olives, onions or all in a chutney. Glass jars are a
valuable commodity in Portugal during the spring summer. Give them to a neighbour, but don't smash them in
Utilise the 'Ponte Verde' recycling
bins for your waste plastic and paper/cardboard waste. If you are
having a party (or not) purchase bottles by the crate from the local
supermarket. Though you will pay a glass deposit, this will be
returned upon receipt of an empty crate of bottles.
Paper and cardboard is also
re-cycled in Portugal and while the inner tube of a toilet roll may
not be important to you, it is important to the rain forests of the
Amazon which are being destroyed to produce such items.
Try where you can to reduce as much
of the material waste as possible going into the communal bins. If
you do have to deposit rubbish, take your waste basket and empty
directly. This will reduce the amount of plastic deposited, which
can lead to a built up of noxious gases in a landfill site.
One of the keys to a
good garden, whether as an ornamental flower garden or as a
productive vegetable plot relies on good soil. Enlivening your soil
with your own compost not only saves money it saves the environment.
Separate your waste and save vegetable peelings, food stuffs (aside
from those containing meat)
5. Conserve Water
often hit by drought periods. Given that most of Portuguese are
conservative by nature, water shortage only occurs in the most severe
of droughts. To help combat droughts conserve water usage. Utilise
a borehole or a well for your water supply, but be aware of the
water your use. Have a shower not a bath. Turn the tap off while you
are brushing your teeth and only turn on for rinsing.
If you can fit a rain water
bowser-system onto you property do so. A rain water bowser
system can reduce your reliance on mains water supply for toilet
flushing, irrigating of a garden or if you want to wash your car
during the summer.
Dual Flush sanitary ware: There was
once a time when you visited the toilet, pressed a button and
everything just disappeared, however there are now even options on how to
flush away your waste more efficiently.
Given the option most
people wouldn't waste water on flushing away their waste, so when
you have the option install a dual flush system to ensure minimal
water loss. Or alternatively you could install a composting toilet like our ancestors in the
country used to use.
6. Switch off to Tune In
do not use an appliance turn it off the at the mains. Machines which
are on standby, draw electricity and can not only be costly to run,
but can drain nearby essential recourses in times of emergency
(power cuts etc)
saving light bulbs and turn off lights when you are not in a room.
7. Renewable Energy Sources
possible install renewable energy sources. If you can fit solar
panels for water or central heating do, investigate geo-thermal
8. Use Pencils Not Biros
The cost to manufacturer pencils and the environmental impact a
pencil has is ten times less than the a plastic sleeved ink pen
9. Rechargeable Batteries
them in your cameras, remote controls (tvs, videos, dvds, Ipods and
all other items which require them). Batteries contain corrosive
materials and can be difficult to dispose of, causing damage to the
10. Energy Values
about the energy efficiency of an appliance before you purchase it.
You could not only save Euros off your annual amenity bills you
could also save water and energy for the world.