A few days ago one of our directors bough some assorted stamps from the local post office in Aljezur for Christmas cards that he was sending out. What really surprised him was a stamp for 80c that was included in the mix, and clearly promoted offshore oil and gas exploration, while relegating into the background alternative energy technologies.
Image of Energy promotion Stamp released in September 2015 in selected areas - excluded were Algarve & Alentejo
With our petition against the granting of a TUPEM licence to ENI/GALP consortium just days away from finally (after 18 months) being debated and voted on in the Portuguese parliament by MPs, it is understandable that we are truly cheesed off.
It has been a long road since we started the anti-oil campaign in the Algarve, personally it started for me in 2009, and 8 years on, I look back and realise how much we have achieved in these 8 years. Whatever anyone may say, the fact is that through our efforts we woke-up not only the Algarve but also Portugal to the threat that oil and gas exploration will bring to the country.
So far we have reached over 70,000 people directly, and many more hundreds of thousands indirectly.
During this time, we have also come face to face with people driven by greed, fear as well as the power driven networks that are present in this beautiful country that is Portugal.
We would be totally naïve if we were not aware that powerful interests are at play both at a local level as well as international, and when you add to the mix some of the cultural legacy of Portuguese politics you realise the cesspool that we have been thrown into. It has not been easy; it has not been fun … and at times it has been soul destroying, but our conviction that there is a need to act against this threat remains strong.
Part of their strategy is to wear all of us down. They have resources that we don’t have, but on the other hand we have resources they lack – we have compassion, empathy and high doses of emotional stability and stamina. We care …
On the 21 December we will be in Lisbon once again manifesting our position against oil and gas exploration in the Portuguese offshore and onshore.
Below, we lift the veil another little bit, and give you some more background as to why you should join us, and why you should add your voice and be present in this manifestation.
We all have a responsibility to future generations; we have a duty to fight for the preservation of our habitats and planet, because the alternative legacy that we will leave is just devastation and destruction. I am not prepared to leave them that … are you?
Join us on 21 December in Lisbon in front of Parliament – we will be there from 10H00 until 18H00.
A Bit of Background around the Controversial Stamp - Energy
Under the pretext of promoting the “Portuguese Sea” and its “Future”, the privatised Portuguese Post Office on the 17 September 2015 launched a subversive campaign coordinated by the late Mário Ruivo, a Portuguese marine scientist that was actively involved in the communist party since the early 50’s and was an active player in the 1974 uprising.
It is clear that there was great influence of the oil and gas exploration lobbies supported by the government of the day (PSD/CDS) under the oversight of Assunção Cristas, the Minister responsible for the sea portfolio at the time.
One can assume that it was under the leadership of Assunção Cristas, that this section of the “subversive brainwashing" project was “outsourced” to CTT.
The project comprised of two deliverables – a book and a set of 4 stamps.
- The Book titled “Do Mar Oceano ao Mar Português” (From Ocean Seas to the Portuguese Sea) (ISBN: 978-972-8968-68-7) – was a bilingual publication coordinated by Mário Ruivo, and authored by various specialists - Emanuel J. Gonçalves, Fátima Moura, Fernando J.A.S. Barriga, Joaquim Romero Magalhães, Márcia Marques, Maria Eduarda Gonçalves, Maria Isabel João, Raquel Ribeiro e Telmo Carvalho. 4200 books were printed.
- The 4 stamps represents – tourism (0,45€ with a print run of 155 000); fishing ( 0,62€ with a print run of 110 000); transport (0,72€ with a print run of 145 000 ) and energy (0,80€ with a print run of 115 000) and they were initially distributed only from shops in Restauradores in Lisboa, across Porto district, Zarco in Funchal and Antero de Quental in Ponta Delgada. Absent were all the major areas affected by oil and gas exploration, namely the Algarve, and Alentejo.
The Designer B2 Design
B2 Design is a very well connected Portuguese Creative Designer Agency, with a "who's - Who" list of clients, amongst them you find for example the "Gulbenkian Foundation" the "Luso-American Foundation" and off course "CTT" themselves. When one takes into account what appears to be a close relationship between B2 Design and Gulbenkian (Owner of Partex Oil and Gas) one starts to understand how some interests may be promoted at the oil and gas exploration altar.
B2 Design was commissioned by CTT to conceptualise and design the stamps and other supportive designs.
We now need to take into account that during this period of time, there was already major anti-oil sentiment in the Algarve and Alentejo.
There's no doubt in our minds that the government has gone to great lengths to misinform individuals manifesting their position as being against oil exploration - with statements such as: the intention of government is only to access what resources Portugal has in its offshore, and that Portugal had no intention of drilling at all. It's ONLY "PESQUISA" we where all told, over and over.
We can’t but be amazed at the lengths the government took until now to “hogwash” their real intent.
Let’s keep in mind that the stamps and book were released in September 2015. Once again, facts come to light that give weight to our anti-oil drilling stance and our continuous warning – it is clear by just looking at the Energy stamp that priority has always been to drill our offshore for oil and gas in spite of continuous denials over the years.
The same way, that it is our intention to continue opposing such actions.
On 21 December political parties represented in the Portuguese Parliament have once again an opportunity to really act responsibly and to finally vote to stop all concessions for oil and gas exploration in Portugal – lets hope that for once they will all act responsibly and stop it once and for all.