European Pact, ecological transition and global landscape

Professor António Covas starts from John Lennon for his reflection

Now that we have a European Pact for Ecological and Climate Transition and a program we called “Resilience and Recovery”, I must emphasize that the Government's proposal is, in its wording, at least (mobility, decarbonisation, biowaste, forest, energy efficiency) rather than climate transition (the 2030 decarbonization goal) than ecological and landscape transition.

So, allow me readers to look for inspiration in the words and music of John Lennon “Imagine” and make a brief reflection on the ecological and landscape transition.

Imagine a society where human activity was conceived and organized in a socio-ecological perspective in which the role of landscape and ecosystems is crucial to order the territory and reconfigure city-countryside relations.

Imagine a society that assigns high political priority to the constitution of a strategic food reserve, thereby promoting the rebirth of multiple forms of agriculture, in close association with well-conducted agroforestry strategies, within the framework of more innovative and local production systems. of greater added value.

Imagine a society that gives high political priority to the multipurpose forest, through a diversified offer of goods and services ranging from carbon sequestration to energy biomass with mandatory passage through the provision of ecosystem services that are essential to quality of life of all living beings.

Imagine a society that gives high political priority to the policies of the sea and marine resources, in a multi-purpose strategy and in a continuum from the mountains to the ocean floor.

Imagine a society that gives high political priority to the construction of a renewable energy base with the formation of integrated and decentralized energy production centers, in integrated and decentralized microgeneration networks, in which the consumer also becomes an energy producer.

Imagine a society that gives high political priority to the formation of a polycentric network of small and medium-sized cities that help to rebalance the territory, city-regions perfectly integrated into the landscape and the surrounding ecosystems.

Imagine a society that places high political priority on reinventing the urban environment where landscape architecture and biophysical engineering can help restore the city's vital metabolism, renaturalize the circulation of some of its essential elements for life, imagine multifunctional gardens decorative, aromatic and bio-cleaners, through which one learns to respect the cycles of nature, in an atmosphere of comfort, beauty and spiritual health.

Imagine a society that assigns a high political priority to the values ​​of spatial planning and urbanism, where heavy collective equipment with greater physical impact are not the main actors in urban design, but where, following a strategy that aims to combat the monotony of suburbs and the monofunctionality of spaces, proceeds to the progressive conversion of an artificially zoned and compacted city into a city that respects the morphology of natural elements and the scenic values ​​of the humanized landscape.

Imagine a society where protected landscape areas are not sanctuaries or corporate school manifestations, but rather integrated spaces for production, conservation and recreation.

Finally, imagine a society where all human activity is conceived and organized to promote an economy of low entropy or carbon intensity, based on a low consumption of natural capital, matter and energy, and the intensive use of work and knowledge, building, on the basis of an economy of prosperity, a new human ecology.

Final grade

Finally, imagine a society made up of city-regions and networks of small and medium-sized cities that make their sustainability programs (mobility, environment, education and public health) and landscape balance their main reason for being.

The importance of landscape and ecosystems in the quality of life of citizens and, within this framework, the restoration of fragmented landscape mosaics and habitats through new infrastructures and green corridors.

The adoption of a local waste reduction, recycling and reuse policy and energy saving and efficiency programs that are the cheapest form of energy available.

The restoration of waterproof water lines and urbanized agricultural soils and the restoration of maltreated forests. The landscaping of the building is dispersed as well as the inhospitable places and the existing urban agriculture.

Finally, an innovative approach to the peri-urban articulation and mobility space that can generate a new structure of opportunities, in particular, in the way collective facilities, green spaces and ecological corridors and their links with agricultural holdings are programmed, agroforestry systems and rural amenities that serve tourism in its area of ​​influence. The SAL objective (local agrifood system) may be the pretext that was missing for such a desideratum.

Imagine that all of this was possible under the recovery and resilience program up to 2026 and that the profusion of stand-alone measures across these programs was managed by dedicated mission structures and administrations within our regions, inter-municipal communities and networks of towns and cities. . I very much hope that John Lennon's imagination inspired and guided our creative intelligence.


Author António Covas is a Retired Full Professor at the University of Algarve



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