There are several plane trips that MEP Francisco Guerreiro is obliged to make throughout the month, between Portugal and the cities of Brussels and Strasbourg, for professional reasons. To offset the ecological footprint of these flights, he took the initiative to promote a reforestation action in the municipality of Loulé, which took place last Friday morning, in the parish of Alte.
With a view to offsetting CO2 emissions from flights, the European Parliamentary Group “Os Verdes| Free European Alliance” proposed, in 2022, to the Municipality of Loulé, to finance the carrying out of a reforestation initiative with native trees and shrubs (and the respective maintenance for a minimum period of two years), on land owned by the municipality.
This proposal was well received by the Loulé Municipality, which made municipal land available on the site of Azinhal to carry out the planting. And it was precise “this manifested openness” that led Francisco Guerreiro to choose Loulé, in addition to the fact that this is a municipality “several times affected by fires and which has a very large rural component”.
Those present at that time saw, therefore, around 120 arbutus trees planted during a morning when several people put their hands in the earth. From the outset, municipal technicians from various organic units, but also students and teachers from Escola Profissional Cândido Guerreiro involved in the FertiAlte project – Alte Aerobic Composting Unit – who had the opportunity to apply some of the compost produced within the scope of the project in this initiative -, and 2 students who represent the classes most directly involved in the project “Ambassador School of the European Parliament”.
On the other hand, this plantation also had the participation of those on the ground defending the forest: members of the ICNF, Civil Protection, Sapadores Florestais, and the Association of Forestry Producers of Serra do Caldeirão, the latter being the entity that will also be responsible for planting around 58 carob trees on the municipal land, for maintaining the entire reforested area (5852 m2) for a minimum period of two years, and for improving the existing cork oak grove in the northern part of the land (5050 m2). It is estimated that this initiative promotes, among other benefits, the fixation of atmospheric CO2, the retention of water in the soil, and biodiversity.
“It is with policies and with politicians who have this awareness that it makes sense to be in Politics”, underlined the councilor for the Environment and Climate Action, Carlos Carmo. For this official, this initiative “fits perfectly with what the Municipality’s policy is”, with emphasis on the fact that it was the first Municipal Climate Action Plan approved in Portugal, along with the set of actions emanating from the Agenda for Sustainability and Biodiversity. Making the territory more resilient, maintaining the identity in terms of biodiversity, and contributing to carbon neutrality is, according to the councilor, objectives of this reinforcement of the green spot in the territory.
António Martins, president of the Parish Council of Alte, joined at the moment and said that, at a time when climate change is part of the global agenda, “all of us, in some way, should offset our carbon emissions and the damage we cause to the environment with other initiatives that allow its recovery”.
Francisco Guerreiro wants this initiative to become an example to be replicated by others. “I hope to be able to open a door so that my colleagues, the other 20 Portuguese MEPs, can do a similar job and, basically, guarantee that I can offset these ecological costs with transport. But also that more municipalities carry out this type of initiative”, he added.