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Environment and sustainability, Community development


Ecosystem of civic action for territorialized and holistic resilience in the surroundings of the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park in Portugal


Who is behind this?

Susana Torgal

Planeta Alecrim


Who is joining forces?

Câmara Municipal de Marvão


Junta de Freguesia de Beirã


Asociación ENSO



Idea pitch

We intend to create a civic living lab to build resilience and collectively overcome our local, communitary and ecological vulnerability, in the face of the global crisis scenarios we are actually dealing with.
The climate crisis is seriously threatening a highly vulnerable territory with very little capacity to adapt to its effects.
The human crisis poses a significant risk to a highly aged population in an area that is suffering an accelerated process of depopulation.

Where will your project idea take place?

The project takes place in the municipality of Marvão, heart of the Serra de São Mamede, Portugal.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

This area is one of the most depopulated, ageing and impoverished regions in Europe.
In this case, emphasizing the territorial approach, it is difficult to separate societal and environmental issues, since the ways of life generate a profound symbiosis between cultural, economic and social practices. They are deeply connected to the natural metabolisms of the territory.
As a territory, it presents very high levels of social and ecological vulnerability, which place it in a critical scenario in view of the profound disruptive changes that we, as a society, are globally facing: Covid19, Climate Change, Depopulation of the Rural Environment.

Who are you doing it for?

For the entire local community of the municipality.
Marvão has:
a very high ageing index, with 35 elderly people for every 10 young people in 2011
one of the lowest rates per capita of purchasing power in the surrounding areas
Alentejo ranks 284 of 290 in a ranking that examined the demographic situation and the future of the regions of Europe alongside their economic potential to deal with it.
Alentejo is considered as one of the regions in Europe with the least capacity of adaptation to mitigate climate change.
The 100% of the territory of Marvão is protected within the Red Natura 2000 and is regarded as a High Nature Value Farmland. It is considered that between 1951 and 2015 its runoff during the driest month of the year has suffered a decline of more than 20%.

How do you plan to get there?

Methodologically we base on:
- Doughnut Economics and the 4 transitions for resilience of the EARTH
- the 7 principles of the Resilience Thinking and the SDG's
- Operationally, it is proposed to articulate 4 action communities
Following actions will be the concrete interventions in this initial phase:
- Promotion and coordination of the ecosystem, based on the coordination of action communities of the ecosystem and their interactions with the DQHCI
- Creation of a curricular itinerary based on the socio-ecological capacities for the resilience of the territory to be implemented in the schools and centers of training and work of the territory.
- Support the development of entrepreneurship projects and social and circular economy initiatives by members of the action communities.

What are the expected results?

We expect
- that the ecosystem as a whole will be a reality operating at almost full capacity;
- that our thematic communities will be able to develop between 2 and 4 entrepreneurial projects of products/services based on the services provided by natural ecosystems, and at least 1 project of a more systemic nature to improve the social and environmental metabolism of the territory;
- that job opportunities and improvement in quality of life will be generated directly for the people who make up the thematic communities;
- that the territory as a whole, and its entire population, will be aware of the existence of the ecosystem and its relevance and of the opportunity they have to actively involve themselves in it leading, collaborating or monitoring any of the existing projects.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The ecosystem works as a civic living lab: a space of intensive generation of knowledge based on a horizontal model of governance that seeks to activate convergent dynamics of interaction for the agents of the civic realm: local administration, social fabric, local businesses, homes/citizens.
We see the territory as a community of communities and the ecosystem as a project of projects. EARTH intends to create action communities related to sustainable tourism, relocation of resources or upcycling of goods/services.
In short, we seek to promote new forms of attracting and fixing population with the focus on generation of opportunities for young people and families, supporting and promoting social-ecological initiatives that deepen in new models of redistributive and regenerative economy.

Why is this idea important to you?

The people who lead this project are part of the local community and, therefore, of the territory.
Some of us were born here and others come from abroad, but we all believe it can be an exceptional place to carry out our life projects in a prosperous and balanced way, both with the people we live with and within the own territory.
As part of the community, our future is highly interdependent with the future of all the people who inhabit or transit, today or tomorrow, through this territory.
Likewise, as part of the territory, we assume that our common future depends on the ecodependence relationship that we are capable of creating to guarantee the continuity and sustainability of life in it.
All this, for us, necessarily depends on the implementation and success of this project.

€ 94600,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personal costs:
- Ecosystem coordination (2 people): € 18,000
- Coordination of the thematic communities (4 people): € 18,000
- Administration and management (1 person): € 8,000
General expenses:
- Content and website creation: € 2,000
- Office expenses: € 1,500
- Travel and allwances: € 2,500

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Perhaps the most interesting thing for us is knowing if other agents or projects would be interested in connecting in some way with our project to carry out an effective exchange of information, experience and knowledge about the projects.


Susana Torgal

Adolfo Chautón

Idea created on May 26, 2020

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