Demonstrators at the Tavira march in 2019

Tavira climate change march

Why we need to save the Centro de Experimentação Agrária de Tavira (CEAT)

Citizens, residents and students from Tavira will march in unity on Friday, March 13 to protest against the global lack of action on climate change.

How real is it? Climate change science leaves no room for doubt. The 2018 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report has confirmed what has been known for decades: increased frequency and severity of ex-treme weather events such as violent storms and prolonged droughts are a result of climate change, and humankind has to act to stop it.

But what is the response in the Algarve and in Tavira, for example?

Simon Pannett, president of REconomia, Tavira, said: “Expert advice is not only calling for the reduction of carbon but for the planting of more trees. The climate in the Algarve is one that needs to be water aware and yet monocul-ture and mass tourism are increasingly depleting our water resources. We will walk on March 13 to call, once again, for local regeneration, resilience and the need for politicians to act instead of just talk. Here in Tavira, the agricul-tural research centre could help provide answers, yet its very existence is threatened by underfunding, the construction of a new road and another ur-banisation project.”

And Lionel Kafcsak of Tavira in Transition added a further concern: “While it is clear that road traffic will have to be diverted, it is incomprehensible why the authorities have chosen the worst possible route. The road will not only cut through an important research centre and ecological reserve, but it will also bring traffic and pollution to the gates of our schools. What example will this set for our children, their perspective for a greener and safer future?”

Tavira in Transition, REconomia Tavira and Cidadãos pelo CEA Tavira – Centro de Experimentação Agrária de Tavira, alongside other active citizens have been meeting since the last Global March in Tavira in September 2019. At that march, over 250 people came together alongside local politicians in recognition of the global issue. But the actions of local government evidently contradict all their promises to work for a future that benefits the planet and the people.

A look at the town of Mértola, just across the border in the Alentejo, demon-strates that things can be done differently. Mértola’s interdisciplinary project integrates a research centre, a residence scheme for scientists, a museum combining the arts, science and agricultural heritage. By 2050, Mértola aims to be a pathway for ecosystem regeneration and resilient, healthy food pro-duction. Tavira could and should be leading a similar initiative for Portugal, with the CEAT as its basis.

The people of Tavira demand a public meeting on these important issues. “If not we, then who? If not now, then when?” – they say.

The march will begin at 5pm at the agricultural centre next to the Tavira train station. The march will stop briefly outside the Câmara Municipal for state-ments and then conclude in the Jardim do Coreto, next to the site of the con-troversial bridge.

In the evening, there will be a screening of the documentary “The Story of Plastic” at the Clube de Tavira.

There is much to do to support the local movement for a better future. So, if you want to get involved, email [email protected]

Photos: SUE HALL

Demonstrators at the Tavira march in 2019
Demonstrators at the Tavira march in 2019