In Climate Change, Portugal, AIDGLOBAL, Sustainability, 2023, (e)mission (im)possible,

Portugal hosts seminar on strategies to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis

On November 13, the Seminar "Developing Strategies to Address Climate Change" took place at the Lisbon Youth Center (CJL) of the Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth, I.P. (IPDJ), in Moscavide, Lisbon, which highlighted the importance of the transformative role that Civil Society Organizations have at the forefront of the Climate Crisis.

It was the third of 6 Multiplier Events to be promoted under the “(e)mission (im)possible” project, carried out by European organizations and partners committed to action against the current climate emergency. There were 30 participants and speakers, including employees of the Regional Directorate of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo (DRLVT) of IPDJ, I.P., Loures City Council, OIKOS – Cooperation and Development, Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), FEC - Fundação Fé e Cooperação and young people from Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde de Lisboa (ESTESL).

The welcoming and opening words of the session were given by Eduarda Marques, DRLVT Director of IPDJ, I.P. and Director of the Lisbon Youth Center (CJL), who gave a brief contextualization of the Institution, recognized by the Council of Europe as a space where Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Democracy are promoted, which fosters Volunteering, Associativism, the promotion of non-formal Education and Citizenship, aimed at the areas of sport and youth, betting on initiatives that lead young people to reflect on various themes, not only on a world in ecological transition but also on their contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sofia Lopes, Project Office Manager at AIDGLOBAL, presented the Agenda and moderated the two panels of the day, alluding to environmental sustainability.

The topics under analysis were diversified and rich, addressed by the present entities. The Municipality of Loures, represented by Ana Catarina Sabino, Environmental Engineer and specialized in Sanitary Engineering, presented the "Climate Neutrality Strategies" that have been implemented in the Adam Barata Park, within the scope of adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change, in order to respond to glocal challenges that contribute to reducing carbon emissions and making the region more resilient. Concern about energy efficiency is one of the priorities of the Municipality's Climate Action Plan (PAC), which implies the  rational use of energy and new technologies as a strategy to reduce consumption and the environmental footprint of the territory.  

The same speaker also introduced the "PAB_LivingLab: Vive a Descarbonização no Parque Adão Barata", a project focused on reducing the carbon footprint and creating a more sustainable urban environment, of which the Municipality is a partner and AIDGLOBAL is the promoter.

Ana Catarina Sabino pointed out that the park's facilities “perform different functions that promote the well-being and health of those who visit it, bring people closer to nature and contribute to the preservation of biodiversity”. He also mentioned that the activities promoted in the park motivate the adoption of low-carbon lifestyles and, in it, the visitor can experience, in an interactive and dynamic way, the decarbonization laboratory, while enjoying the green space.

José Luís Monteiro, Biologist, Activist and Project Coordinator of OIKOS – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento, began his presentation by highlighting the work, the strategic axes of the Organization (Environment and Climate Change; Food Security and Social Economy, Access to Social and Basic Services and Citizenship and Human Rights) and the priority SDGs of his intervention, including SDG 13 – Climate Action, both nationally and internationally.

The relationship between the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and surface temperature, as drivers of the environmental crisis, and the importance of committing to more funding to support third countries in mitigating and adapting to climate change, taking into account responsibility and equity principles, were highlighted.

According to José Luís Monteiro, the most vulnerable countries still do not have solutions for the losses and damages caused, with regard to adaptation to Climate Change and response to the disasters that plague them. Mozambique is one of the countries in the southern hemisphere, where there are several natural disasters (cyclones, floods,...) that have marked the lives of Mozambicans and the territory itself. Biodiversity and fragile ecosystems need to be preserved.

Then, Federica Tosi, who holds a master's degree in Cooperation and Development, and currently Project Assistant at AIDGLOBAL, brought to the session the Carbon Calculator – a tool that calculates the CO2 emissions generated from the main daily activities: from transport, electricity consumption, cooking gas, air travel, … – and encouraged NGDOs to measure their environmental impact.

Federica Tosi began by explaining what is meant by carbon footprint, followed by the enumeration of the objectives related to the activities controlled by the Organizations, the indirect emissions associated with the contracted consumptions (eg heating, electricity, water…) and derived from the production chain (eg work trips, waste production, delivery of materials, …). She then explained how the tool should be used to calculate avoided emissions, giving as an example the AIDGLOBAL Delegation in Mozambique. She also added that "for future projects we must improve our performance, in terms of reducing the carbon footprint, and empower other entities to calculate their own carbon footprint".

A coffee break followed, when the opportunity was taken to network and get to know each other, reinforcing the connections and comparing points of view on the topics that had just been discussed.

The break was followed by the 2nd panel of the event, led by Marta Almeida, Principal Investigator and Vice President of the Center for Nuclear Sciences and Technologies of the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST). She was one of the guest speakers who addressed “Air Quality and Urban Parks: how NGOs can make a difference: the example of Parque Adão Barata”, highlighting the importance of green spaces and the work that has been implemented by partner organizations in the park, within the scope of the “PAB_LivingLab” project, in order to reduce the carbon intensity of PAB activities and services in Loures.

In her exposure, she spoke of air pollutants, which are evaluated from fixed monitoring stations and determine the dose received by the individual, which directly influences the impacts on health, in relation to factors that contaminate the outside air (natural, anthropogenic sources, traffic, chimneys and fugitive emissions), indoor sources (residential combustion of biomass, cigarettes, food preparation and occupation – the person himself) and ventilation.

Alerting more to the problems of airborne particles that affect human health and adopting measures to improve air quality are two of the objectives that Marta Almeida identified in her communication. To conclude, she highlighted four future challenges: “improving and updating air quality assessment, identifying cost-effective technologies and developing less polluting materials, and empowering NGOs”.

Soon after, Tiago Faria, researcher at IST and professor at the Lisbon School of Health Technology, presented “GreenComp: Skills for Sustainability”, which aimed to mobilize participants to make a joint reflection on Education for Sustainability, impediments and facilitations for the application of sustainability and what can be done by each citizen in favor of a more sustainable world.

His lecture focused on GreenComp, a reference framework for sustainability skills at the EU level, which provides common points for students and educators and includes four categories of action, namely “incorporating sustainability values”, “embracing complexity in sustainability”, “predicting sustainable futures” and “acting for sustainability”, which is established as a catalyst in promoting educational practices and joint learning in order to minimize the environmental impact and responsibility for the health of the planet, in order to systematically change attitudes, mindsets and practices. Education plays a major role in changing behaviors.

In the end, he invited those present to participate in a dynamic, for which they were divided into groups to discuss, together, the gaps they find in teaching, at the level of skills for sustainability. Without interruption, they had the opportunity to get to know the different points of view and the meeting ended with the message What can and should I do to help make change happen, to implement positive climate action?  

AIDGLOBAL takes the opportunity to thank all participants who contributed to the success of the project's 3rd Multiplier Event for being willing to challenge themselves and consolidate their motivations to counter the climate emergency.

The Meeting was held within the scope of the European project “(e)mission (im)possible”, co-financed by the Erasmus + Program of the European Union, with A Sud – Ecologia e  Cooperazione ONLUS, the promoting entity, and AIDGLOBALIroko – Desarrollo Forestal Sostenible , Bosque Y Comunidad, Fondazione Ecosistemi, Universidad de Cádiz and Un Ponte Per as partner entities. The initiative also had the support of IPDJ, IP | CJL and the collaboration of the project "PAB_Living Lab – Vive a Decarbonização no Parque Adão Barata" (Environment Program, EEA Grants).