Joana. Change facilitator and advocator of a minimalist and regenerative lifestyle.
Attracted and inspired by the sea and Jacques Costeau, since early age, the place where I’ve always felt most serene and complete was next to the water. In spite of that, I recently discovered that contact with the forest and the land, brings me a different well-being that surprised me, but that having searched my oldest memories, I also met as a child but no longer remembered.
Environmental Engineer by training, curious and passionate about learning and doing for myself, I worked in the last years, between 2017 and 2019, in tourism and until recently developing a project and business in responsible tourism, The Great Village. But in 2020, with the pandemic, the desire to promote change took on a new dimension.
The time for small changes was ending and giving room to the biggest change, which today, I believe we will all have to do in the coming years, and which I decided to start.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi
Despite this, and at the same time, I started to intensify the changes that were within my reach, more immediately, and that are more or less within the reach of all of us. I share with you, and very briefly, just three of the ones I did.
[Food] 2020 was finally the year when I adopted a plant-based diet. Today, the products of animal origin that I still consume are very few and I continue to make an effort to eliminate them from my diet. In addition, my concern about what I consumed has intensified as to the origin and seasonality of the products. If I have been going to the biological street markets in Lisbon for more than ten years, there are still times when I shop during the week or last minute in other places and the approach I have adopted has already a name – “climatarian”. This, although not necessarily excluding meat, is concerned with reducing the impacts of the diet on climate change. If the products come from the other side of the world or if they are produced locally, they have very different impacts and these are the impacts that I try to avoid when choosing between pears from the West or grapes from Argentina.
[Organic waste] this was another aspect that I decided I would have to change. They come from the land and to the land they must return! We cannot perpetuate this discontinuity in the nutrient cycle that impoverishes soils and continue to feed a waste management problem, particularly in cities. So, I took advantage of the Lisboa a compostar program to start, on a regular basis, depositing these wastes in the community composting bin in the area where I live. The deposition of the wastes is easy as we are given a code for a padlock, allowing the users to go to the composting bin at the most convenient time. Perfect!
[Mobility] this was (and still is) truly a stone in my shoe. After almost ten years of commuting between the center of Lisbon and Alenquer, working in tourism allowed me to reduce the kilometers I traveled on a daily basis, but more recently and for professional reasons, I had to get more in the car again.
Today, despite this, I have already taken another step towards smooth mobility. I invested in a conventional bicycle, my first bicycle, as odd as this might sound! and whenever I can, I use it to commute within the city of Lisbon. Oh and for those who wonder if it’s electric … no, it isn’t. After some research and conversations with people with a lot of experience in the daily use of this transport, I ended up choosing for a conventional bicycle. The reasons turned out to be of a different order, but believe me, those Lisbon hills that seemed impossible to do on a “normal” bicycle are also very doable! and the feeling after climbing them is fantastic and having crossed another limit, which I had probably imposed on myself! I did it 😉
Here is my grandfather, João Gaspar, who I never met, but who is my ancestor with whom I most identify, for all the memories I received from him over the years, via my family. A sportsman, a nurse, a humanist and… a cyclist!
There are many other small habits that I have been adopting, and I still believe that they can make a difference, but right now, my belief is that alone, they will no longer be enough. Time is scarce.
“It is time to make peace with nature” António Guterres