We had the massive fire in Pedrogão area that according to locals saw more than 100 people dead and over 200 injured, and more recently we saw over 3 tons of “naphthenic oil” spill in Peniche on the 7 July that resulted in at least three beaches being closed and massive negative environmental and economic impacts to the tourist region which will be felt in the upcoming months by local communities.
- The spill has had a negative impact not only on the beaches, local tourism industry but also on the fishing industry.
- The Pedrogão fires has shown the extent of political game plays, and highlighted the risk of misuse of donated funds and goods - and the abuse of public trust.
Four weeks after the disaster – the reality on the ground is that many people are facing a very bleak future. It has also shown us that who's saving the day and reaching the people, are the volunteers on the ground, and some civic organisations - not the ones that we would have expected to do so.
I can’t understand the lack of support infrastructure, the lack of vehicles to distribute the goods to affected people, the lack of government employees – with all the funds raised I’m amazed at the incompetence displayed to manage a disaster of this magnitude.
Peniche oil spill
Then as a wake-up call on the anti-oil front, we saw the effects on a small scale how an oil spill will destroy local economies and the environment, and the negative impacts which will be felt for months.
The Minister of the Sea and the government’s pursue of offshore oil exploration in spite of major opposition, the rough riding over real issues and the sweeping under the carpet are without a doubt serious areas of concern.
Faced with the reality of what took place in the past 4 weeks, I can’t help but fear for our future in Portugal if everyone of you do not stand-up and state that enough is enough.
We are facing probably the biggest challenge that Portugal has had to face in the past 40 years. We desperately need ethical leaders, good management of our real resources – our people, our natural habitats, our real economy (not the Russian roulette economic model currently at play)
In the upcoming months – we need to hold our leaders accountable!
We need to make them understand that it is not ok – to play political games and ego wars. We need to get them to understand that we do not want Portugal to rubber stamp CETA; that we want the oil exploration contracts declared null and void, and no new contracts in the future; that we don’t want eucalypt plantations; that we don’t want deep sea mining - that all we want is an ethical leadership that really looks after the interest of the people and not of big corporations, a leadership that really does the right thing for all and not for the few.
You have a chance in 1 October 2017 to pass a strong message to government during the local municipal elections with your vote.
Use it wisely …