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“ The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun” - Phil Edwards

Salty but sweet, I´m ready !!

Kids

Vitamin Sea, that´s all they need !!

Let the sea set them free !!

Experiences

Collect moments not things, have stories to tell not stuff to show!!

Sea you soon, right now !!

Rentals

You can´t buy hapinness but you can rent a surfboard !!

The ocean is where I belong, I´m in !!

Yoga

“It´s all about where your mind´s at” - K. Slater 11 times world surf champion

Today I work in instead of workout.

Ready for us?

Yes, yes yes

Surf Lessons

“ The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun” - Phil Edwards

Salty but sweet, I´m ready !!

Kids

Vitamin Sea, that´s all they need !!

Let the sea set them free !!

Experiences

Collect moments not things, have stories to tell not stuff to show!!

Sea you soon, right now !!

Rentals

You can´t buy hapinness but you can rent a surfboard !!

The ocean is where I belong, I´m in !!

Yoga

“It´s all about where your mind´s at” - K. Slater 11 times world surf champion

Today I work in instead of workout.

Ready for us?

Yes, yes yes

future-surf-school-

Much more than just another surf school

At Future Eco Surf School we aim not only to teach you how to surf, but we also want to share with you our stoke and connection with nature and especially with the ocean. This can be a life-changing and inspiring process if done in a conscious and committed way.

Get to know a typical day with Future Eco Surf School

A Sustainable Surf School

future-surf-school-interaction

Sustainability

At Future Eco Surf School we believe we can make a difference.

That together we can do more and better to help create a healthier planet and a fairer society.

Being conscious that with small steps we accomplish a long walk, we are at this stage restructuring our internal and operational procedures and strategies. It will allow us to enjoy nature to the fullest with minimum impact.

Blog

Read the latest on our blog

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Consider the below guide to Algarve Surf spots, from north to south and from west to east.

If you are looking for where to surf in the Algarve either if you are a beginner or intermediate level surfer.

We will not include a few gems that are hard to reach, difficult to surf or have hardcore local surfers.

This way you avoid the surf spots where you would probably lose your time. So you can go straight to the surf spots that will be easier to reach and to surf.

Odeceixe beach

Beautiful beach, not so crowded. Beach break sandbar with a small river mouth, car parking lot very close by, snack bars and toilets on location.


Amoreira beach

A very consistent surf spot. Beach break sandbar with a small river mouth, crowded by summer. Car parking lot very close by, snack bars and toilets on location.


Monte Clérigo beach

Beach break with a few rocks, strong currents on specific tides, more powerful waves than the previous spots. Car parking lot by the beach, snack bars, and toilets on location.


Arrifana beach

As it’s a beach break protected from the main swell direction and predominant wind it has consistently clean surf and smoother waves than the previous surf spots.

When the surf gets big it’s one of the few places that still are surfable for the average surfer.

Due to this Arrifana beach is the most popular surf spot around this area and you should expect plenty of crowd throughout the year.

There’s even a great right-hand point break that only works on bigger swells and is only advisable for quite experienced surfers due to the exposed rocks and punishing waves.
Expect some walking as there are plenty more cars than parking slots. Snack bars and toilets available on location.


Vale Figueiras beach

Beach break mostly sand but some rocks here and there. Not so crowded, no facilities at the beach (no snack bars, no toilets). There is a small car parking lot by the beach and another one further up the road.


Bordeira beach

The largest surf spot on the west coast so a long walk will mean way more space in the sand and in the water than most of the other surf spots around. Consistent on waves, very exposed to the dominant wind, one snack bar, no toilets, plenty of car parking slots but expect minimum 10/15 min walk to reach the surf spot location.


Amado beach
Consistent beach break, relatively protected from the main wind direction and quite a large beach make it the most popular surf break in the Algarve so expect good waves but also plenty of crowds. There are toilets, snack bars, and lots of car parking slots by the beach.

A guide about Algarve Surf Spots

Cordoama beach
Beach break with some rocks, the most consistent surf spot regarding wave size, has some powerful waves, and often very talented surfers around. Has toilets, a snack bar, a car parking lot right at the beach, and breath-taking views from the lookout from the top of the 100 meters high cliffs


Castelejo beach

Beach break with some rocks, beautiful beach, usually some nice wave formation, a bit protected by the dominant winds. Has toilets, snack bar and car parking lot.


Tonel beach

The most southwestern wave in Europe has a unique location. It´s a beach break with some exposed rocks, has some strong currents on specific tides, and is located in the surf vibe village of Sagres. There is a snack bar but no toilets, anyway it´s walking distance from the village.


Mareta beach

The most western surf spot on the Algarve south coast, it needs big northwest/west swells or small south swells to come alive, has great waves when conditions gather. Located in the heart of Sagres, gets crowded easily. All facilities in walking distance.


Zavial beach

Very famous surf spot on the south coast, the most consistent regarding wave size, waves are powerful and often offer barrels. Expect a crowd of all levels, there are toilets, a snack bar, and a car parking lot.


Meia Praia de Lagos

Very inconsistent surf break except for south swells and especially southeast swells. It works occasionally at the peak of summer and more often in the peak of winter. Walking distance from trendy traveller-friendly Lagos downtown and has a great surf vibe.


Praia da Rocha beach

Besides Zavial is the most consistent surf spot on the south coast, waves are smooth and gentle making it great for beginners and intermediate but not so challenging for advanced surfers. It’s the main beach of the 2nd most populated town in the Algarve so it’s kind of a surf city itself. It can get crowded on the main peak by the pier but as it’s a 2km long sandy beach it can handle plenty of surfers. 

Praia da Galé beach

The best surf spot around Albufeira town, it’s a mix of sand and rocks beach break. The wave is quite rideable, especially the left-hander.  Has all the necessary facilities close by.


Praia da Falésia beach

Nice beach break, especially the left-hander by the pier. It’s a short but strong wave. Not very consistent as most of the south surf spots. All facilities close by. 

Praia de Faro beach

Expect a long walk to surf the best sandbar location a bit down the beach. It’s the closest you can get from the airport as they are side by side make sure to avoid the high tide and score the low tide. All facilities close by.


Praia ilha de Tavira beach

Way better on the low tide, need a local boat short trip to get there, but when it works you might just need boardshorts as by summer and fall it offer some nice warm surf days. One of the most consistent surf spots when the occasional southeast swells come in.


Hope you find the waves of your life, in this Algarve surf guide to find the best surf spots, and remember to play safe, respect the surf etiquette, make friends and share the surf stoke 🙂

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Is Portugal’s Food system sustainable?

One of the single largest reason for humans’ transgression of the key planetary limits is the global food system.

Worldwide, agriculture, forestry and other land use are responsible for 24% of global emissions. Inside it are practices such as crop cultivation, livestock practices and deforestation.

High meat and fish consumption is high in Portugal, according to a recent study from Galli et al (2020).

But also noticeable food wastage, and high urbanization level.

The team behind the study demonstrated food consumption in Portugal is the single largest reason (≈30%) why the Portuguese trespass the carrying capacity of Earth ecosystems.

Let’s take a quick closer look at some of this study’s main conclusions.

The Global Food System: A Systemic Problem

Throughout the 20th century, food demand has been largely met.

This was thanks to staple crop yields providing plenty of wheat, maize, soybean or rice.

But today’s agricultural practices put long-term food security at risk.

Soils are getting depleted.

Biodiversity is being lost at a rate of 150-200 species of plants, insects, birds or mammals a day. Entire ecosystems are at the risk of collapse. To name a few.

As if the above wasn’t bad enough, around 11% of the global population today suffers from chronic undernourishment.

On the other side of the spectrum, in 2016, there were 2 billion overweight adults. The unbalance in global dietary patterns is undeniable.

John Elkington (who coined the term triple bottom line) shared an interesting view on the book The Green Swans. That today more people have access to more calories, but these have worse quality.

We both know there’s a final piece in this story.

How our food system is screwed the answer is food waste.

Something only humans create since there is no such thing as waste in the natural world.

A Systemic Problem

According to Pauli Gunti’s book The Blue Economy, thanks to the Fungi Kingdom, mushrooms and other organisms recycle the nutrients of what we humans would call ‘leftovers’ back into the soil. The end of the story?

Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption goes to waste.

The scientists behind the study say the issue of food security and distribution isn’t just one where the tech industry comes to save the day by turning efficiency into full power mode.

Rather, they argue, it is extremely important to study cities – the hotspots of the world population and the place of consumption for most (79%) .

It is important to look for and implement solutions for some of the food system problems.

Such focus includes understanding the internal trade systems and how to improve urban links with national, regional and local production.

What’s the case for Portugal?

Is Portugal a Sustainable Country? The Portuguese Food Footprint

Portugal has a high meat and fish consumption – in fact, the highest per capita food footprint in the Mediterranean.

Moreover, the country’s high levels of food wastage.

1 million tons of food waste per year.

It is a fact that 62% of its population lives in coastal urban areas, which made Portugal an interesting case.

The municipalities of Almada, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Guimarães, Lagos and Vila Nova de Gaia – which have recently joined forces in an innovative project, the Ecological Footprint of Portuguese Municipalities.

This municipalities were selected as case studies as they made data access easier.

Besides checking the specific food footprints of the citizens living in these municipalities, researchers also applied a policy framework.

This policy framework is to assess local food system policies and to understand critical policy gaps needed to facilitate the transition to more sustainable pathways.

The results?

The year is 2014. Despite a national resource availability – aka bio-capacity – of only 1.28 gha per capita, the average Portuguese demanded 3.69 global hectares worth of natural resources and ecological services – aka Ecological Footprint – to sustain their lifestyle and overall consumption pattern.

This means a consumption rate that’s nearly three times higher than what the country can support.

The Portuguese Food Footprint: A Risky Dependance On External Countries

The footprint results reveal that the Portuguese food system is deeply interconnected with, and reliant upon, food systems around the world.

In fact, Portugal is highly dependant on the availability of food resources from Spain, France, Brazil and Norway. Just to maintain stable access to food.

Results also show that food consumption in Portugal tends to protein-based food such as Meat and Fish and Seafood as opposed to Fruit, Vegetables, and Bread and Cereals, contributing to the country’s high food footprint.

Portugal’s great external resource dependency is worrying considering that many other European and Mediterranean countries are running ecological deficits and external resource dependencies too.

Within a global ecological overshoot setting in which the world’s ecological assets are being spent at a nearly 70% faster rate than they are regenerated.

The COVID19 outbreak raised awareness on the risks associated with food globalization. Together with the impact of climate disasters, some countrieseven experienced food shortages.

The need to build systemic resilience and bet on agri-ecological systems becomes increasingly clear and urgent.

The Gaps in the Portuguese Food System

portugal agriculture food sustainability

The researchers suggest investing in more robust datasets and assessment frameworks.

Moreover, local institutions need to work on their ability to fully implement their responsibilities regarding food production, transformation, distribution, consumption and waste creation.

And there’s also a local government gap in the sense that larger-scale approaches and multi-level co-operations are missing.

Researchers are suggesting that strategic local policies could also be re-framed.

This would include a greater focus on issues. Issues such as sustainable agriculture policies, food waste reduction and the spectrum of circular activities around food.

In this way, shifting to calories-adequate diets or changing consumer’s food preferences could lead to a reduction in the ecological deficit of Portugal .

This is ranging from 10% (via calories reduction) to 19% (via major decreases in seafood and meat consumption).

All in one, shifting dietary choices away from animal proteins and towards the consumption of more cereals, legumes or vegetables requires the development of national dietary guidelines, and not only local actions.

Does Portugal Have Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems?

Because of their proximity and close interaction with relevant economic and societal actors.

Small cities like the Portuguese ones analysed in the study need to play a key role in promoting resilient and prosperous food systems.

Facilitating collaboration at different scales and sectors is therefore highly important to guarantee stable supply and access to food overtime for the Portuguese.

There’s high consumption of meat and seafood that considerably drives the Portuguese footprint.

Together with the fact that a large share of the Portuguese food Footprint is placed outside borders.

There’s the need for the creation of governance structures and specific policy interventions at a national and local level is remarkably important.

While food consumption should be a priority sector for intervention to shift unsustainable trends. There are holes in urban food policies within Portugal that undermine the country’s ability to take restorative action.

Therefore, facilitating a transition to sustainable national and local food systems in Portugal requires timely action.

Perhaps starting from those policies and initiatives that, without requiring major economic investments, would make the adoption of alternative dietary patterns and the strengthening of sustainable food governance possible.

Check our sustainability plan here .

[Image credits to Diogo Nunes, Orlova Maria and Photo by Karim Sakhibgareev on Unsplash]

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Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Our planet is seriously under threat, social and environmentally speaking. It is up to everyone. From governments and corporations of all sizes to regular citizens to stand up for the causes that resonate the most with us.

As ocean and beach lovers, surfers are no exception.

We believe, should even set the example when it comes to protecting the ocean and having a sustainable lifestyle. 

1 – Mind your surf equipment and shop sustainable surfboards. And all the rest because this is just a test to check some stuff out

Depending on the elements that compose them, as well as where they are produced and how they are transported. Surfboards, leashes, waxes or surfboard bags all have their environmental and carbon impact. This means not all the products for sale are equally sustainable – some are more eco-friendly than others. 

For instance, when it comes to energy consumption.

A shaper or a surfboard factory using renewable energy is likely more sustainable. More sustainable than one using energy from a fossil-fuel-based energy grid. Assuming the solar panels are used efficiently and disposed of responsibly.

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Wood surfboards are also more eco-friendly.

If this wood comes from a forest that is managed responsibly (usually PEFC or FSC certified). Even better if the wood is sourced, transformed, manufactured and used locally.

The conclusion: surfboards made from renewable, recycled or and/or upcycled materials or others that reduce toxicity are also more eco-friendly.

So are you thinking about getting a new surfboard ?

Check where and how it is produced and what eco-friendly alternatives are out there.

Mind that there’s a new set of standards known as the Ecoboard Project that certifies surfboards as more eco-friendly than the norm.

Also, remember you can extend the lifecycle of someone’s surf gear.

Why not look for a (likely more affordable) second-hand surfboard?

If you are worried these eco (but also different and unknown) surfboards may affect your surf performance: don’t.

Mick Fanning says in the video below unless you’re in the top 1% you won’t feel a difference.

“If you’re not on tour, you should definitely be riding a sustainable surfboard”.

Where can I find this kind of sustainable, eco-friendly surf gear, you may be wondering. Here in the Algarve, Portugal, we greatly advise shopping at The Bunker Algarve

https://vimeo.com/333477898

2 – Wetsuits: sustainable and eco-friendly wetsuits

susustainable wetsuit benefits eco friendly

How important is it to get a planet-friendly wetsuit?

Very, since the wetsuits most commonly sold on the market today are made from neoprene – which is either made of drilled petroleum or mined limestone.

If you have a wetsuit and you didn’t carefully look at the materials making it. Yours most likely. Belongs to this category. And that’s ok!

Rather than leaving a – still in good shape wetsuit aside – the most sustainable and eco-friendly thing to do next is to use it for as long as you possibly can.

Repairing it whenever needed.

Doing this meaning extending this product’s lifecycle, and if everyone did it, I meant that less of them needed to be produced, hence, less pollution coming from (what you be a reduced) production.

Choose to repair and along the way you will also be either mastering the art of sewing or paying someone a few bucks to do it, strengthening the local community.

But when you indeed need to get a new wetsuit, there are some innovative companies selling more sustainable and eco-friendly wetsuits made of neoprene alternatives.

Most of these wetsuits are made from plant-based and chlorine-free rubbers such as Yulex (from Patagonia) or NaturalPrene.

When it comes to performance most are equally good or better – there is only one downside: price. Which is always the problem when the market is still a small one.

But if you can afford to pay 10-15% more, you’ll be helping the market to grow.

Eventually, with time and more consumers entering the market, costs and price will come down.

3 – Sustainable surf wax and sunscreen

Did you know surf wax is mostly the product of hazardous petrochemicals that are fossil-fuel-based?

Once these toxic chemicals get to move from the surfboard to the water they are harmful for oceans – polluting marine ecosystems and damaging reefs.

But there’s a better way. New, more natural and organic ingredients are showing up and they look like a very interesting alternative. For instance beeswax is 100% natural and contains no harmful additives.

At the same time, sunscreens are also something to keep in mind since they also contain harmful chemicals – such as octinoxate and oxybenzone – that leave marine ecosystems, in danger.

How’s so? Because naturally, sunscreens tend to wash off and end up being dissolved into the water. Harming reefs and fish species.

So the next time you are getting a new sunscreen, make it is not made of these harmful chemicals. If it is ethically-produced, palm-oil free and comes in a plastic-free plastic packaging even better.

At Future Eco Surfing School we’re proud to partner with Eqlove .

Eqlove is a certified organic cosmetics and wellness brands inspired by surfing.

4 – Be sustainable by minimizing the impact of your surf travels

Now that we know that being a sustainable surfer includes being mindful of our surf gear, the next obvious thing to look at is the pollution surfers cause when we go surfing.

John John, says that not everyone has the privilege of living a few steps away from a dream wave!

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

The thing is: almost everyone needs some kind of transportation to get to the ocean.

If you think the recent fly shame trend started by Greta Thunberg is not something to be worried about because you actually don’t fly much, you better check youmatter’s piece comparing plane and car pollution.

Put shortly, it states that unless you are taking 3 other people in the car (for thermal cars).

Driving can be as polluting as flying. 

What’s the alternative then?

Well, either you join a local WhatsApp or Facebook carpooling group (or start one if there is none) or (if it is doable) you can always go by bike or motorbike.

Public transportation, especially trains and buses, may perhaps be an option too? 

Despite all this, of course we all want to travel the world and surf the world’s best breaks – keep going after them!

Just try to find a healthy balance in how you travel: perhaps you can surf abroad every other year while surfing at home in between. Or perhaps you can make Indonesia and Australia in one trip, rather than crossing the world twice within a short period of time.

In the worst-case scenario, remember you can always offset your emissions. Put shortly, this means investing in projects that help store the atmospheric carbon you emit.

Some common examples of carbon offsetting include soil regeneration projects.

They often store more carbon than trees, planting autochtone (local) trees or installing solar panels in underdeveloped villages. 

5 – Avoid plastic pollution: be sustainable and help protect the oceans

surf sustainable plastic pollution ocean

Being a sustainable surfer goes beyond surf itself.

Besides keeping up with the basics – not throwing trash away (including cigarette butts), taking our reusable bags when we go shopping, carrying around our water bottles and recycling whenever and wherever possible.

There are way more sustainable changes a sustainable surfer needs to worry about.

If you give Bea Johnson’s – one of the first and most influential personalities of the zero-waste lifestyle movement – zero waste home a quick read, you understand there is way more we can do. You see, a few R’s come before recycling. 

First, we should refuse the things we don’t need (like free samples or flyers) and reduce what we do buy to what is truly essential, adopting a more minimalist lifestyle.

Besides, we should always try to reuse the things we own it for as long as we possibly can, repairing them whenever they get broken or damaged. And only then after that should we rot what’s biodegradable or recycle what’s not. 

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Choosing clothes that are made from natural fabrics.

Such as cotton (even better if it is organic) instead of those made from microplastic fibres (such as nylon, polyester or acrylic).

Plus, as we’ve been before, purchasing from small and local producers helps not only the environment but also the local economy.

Remember the bulk shop? There’s a really nice one here in Portimão, Algarve, Portugal, known as Armazém Integral – give them a try!

There are also some easy and cheap things we can do differently when it comes to plastic.

We can take our own reusable veggies/fruits bags (plastic or fabrics) when we go shopping and shop in bulk shops. So we can refill our supplies of commodities such as oil, sugar, rice, lentils or laundry detergent. Use solid bath and shampoo soap (avoiding plastic packaging) and bamboo toothbrushes. 

6 –  Take part or organise beach cleanups and protect the ocean from plastic pollution

If you get your friends and family to take a (reusable, even a small) plastic bag with them every time they go to the beach.

Encourage them to go for a healthy beach walk grabbing the plastic they come across, that’s already a great win.

But taking part in an organised beach cleanup is a whole different story. Not only you get to know new people who share the same ocean protection values, strengthening your community ties.

You are also in close contact with the ocean and dedicating your time and attention to prevent other species – from whales and dolphins to fish, birds to crustaceans – from getting hurt and potentially dying.

That feeling that you are contributing to the greater good that we are all wired to contribute towards (including terrorists – you’ll be amazed by Rutger Bregman’s book Humankind: a hopeful story) is definitely worth it. 

7 – Support local and global organizations working to protect the ocean 

Despite all the important and valuable changes we can do in our lifestyles to live a more sustainable life and protect the ocean, there are causes needing urgent attention and dedicated professionals in different fields.

That’s why supporting (either financially or with your time and expertise) NGOs  – especially local and national ones – helps you have a broader and more immediate impact. 

So why not support those networks working hard and sometimes against powerful interests with their work?

There is likely a national Surfrider Foundation, a WWF team or another organisation close to where you live. They are doing relevant work – be it in protecting the ocean or other common natural treasures. Help them out!

Here in Portugal, we are lucky to have ANP/WWF team who helps protect our ocean, forest, water and climate.

But there other movements like Zero, Geota, LNP and many others doing a great job too – and becoming associate costs as little as 5-10eur/year.

Check out our sustainability plan here.

[Image credits to Brandon Compagn, Austin Neill, Claudio Schwarz and Tyler Nix on Unsplash]

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Consider the below guide to Algarve Surf spots, from north to south and from west to east.

If you are looking for where to surf in the Algarve either if you are a beginner or intermediate level surfer.

We will not include a few gems that are hard to reach, difficult to surf or have hardcore local surfers.

This way you avoid the surf spots where you would probably lose your time. So you can go straight to the surf spots that will be easier to reach and to surf.

Odeceixe beach

Beautiful beach, not so crowded. Beach break sandbar with a small river mouth, car parking lot very close by, snack bars and toilets on location.


Amoreira beach

A very consistent surf spot. Beach break sandbar with a small river mouth, crowded by summer. Car parking lot very close by, snack bars and toilets on location.


Monte Clérigo beach

Beach break with a few rocks, strong currents on specific tides, more powerful waves than the previous spots. Car parking lot by the beach, snack bars, and toilets on location.


Arrifana beach

As it’s a beach break protected from the main swell direction and predominant wind it has consistently clean surf and smoother waves than the previous surf spots.

When the surf gets big it’s one of the few places that still are surfable for the average surfer.

Due to this Arrifana beach is the most popular surf spot around this area and you should expect plenty of crowd throughout the year.

There’s even a great right-hand point break that only works on bigger swells and is only advisable for quite experienced surfers due to the exposed rocks and punishing waves.
Expect some walking as there are plenty more cars than parking slots. Snack bars and toilets available on location.


Vale Figueiras beach

Beach break mostly sand but some rocks here and there. Not so crowded, no facilities at the beach (no snack bars, no toilets). There is a small car parking lot by the beach and another one further up the road.


Bordeira beach

The largest surf spot on the west coast so a long walk will mean way more space in the sand and in the water than most of the other surf spots around. Consistent on waves, very exposed to the dominant wind, one snack bar, no toilets, plenty of car parking slots but expect minimum 10/15 min walk to reach the surf spot location.


Amado beach
Consistent beach break, relatively protected from the main wind direction and quite a large beach make it the most popular surf break in the Algarve so expect good waves but also plenty of crowds. There are toilets, snack bars, and lots of car parking slots by the beach.

A guide about Algarve Surf Spots

Cordoama beach
Beach break with some rocks, the most consistent surf spot regarding wave size, has some powerful waves, and often very talented surfers around. Has toilets, a snack bar, a car parking lot right at the beach, and breath-taking views from the lookout from the top of the 100 meters high cliffs


Castelejo beach

Beach break with some rocks, beautiful beach, usually some nice wave formation, a bit protected by the dominant winds. Has toilets, snack bar and car parking lot.


Tonel beach

The most southwestern wave in Europe has a unique location. It´s a beach break with some exposed rocks, has some strong currents on specific tides, and is located in the surf vibe village of Sagres. There is a snack bar but no toilets, anyway it´s walking distance from the village.


Mareta beach

The most western surf spot on the Algarve south coast, it needs big northwest/west swells or small south swells to come alive, has great waves when conditions gather. Located in the heart of Sagres, gets crowded easily. All facilities in walking distance.


Zavial beach

Very famous surf spot on the south coast, the most consistent regarding wave size, waves are powerful and often offer barrels. Expect a crowd of all levels, there are toilets, a snack bar, and a car parking lot.


Meia Praia de Lagos

Very inconsistent surf break except for south swells and especially southeast swells. It works occasionally at the peak of summer and more often in the peak of winter. Walking distance from trendy traveller-friendly Lagos downtown and has a great surf vibe.


Praia da Rocha beach

Besides Zavial is the most consistent surf spot on the south coast, waves are smooth and gentle making it great for beginners and intermediate but not so challenging for advanced surfers. It’s the main beach of the 2nd most populated town in the Algarve so it’s kind of a surf city itself. It can get crowded on the main peak by the pier but as it’s a 2km long sandy beach it can handle plenty of surfers. 

Praia da Galé beach

The best surf spot around Albufeira town, it’s a mix of sand and rocks beach break. The wave is quite rideable, especially the left-hander.  Has all the necessary facilities close by.


Praia da Falésia beach

Nice beach break, especially the left-hander by the pier. It’s a short but strong wave. Not very consistent as most of the south surf spots. All facilities close by. 

Praia de Faro beach

Expect a long walk to surf the best sandbar location a bit down the beach. It’s the closest you can get from the airport as they are side by side make sure to avoid the high tide and score the low tide. All facilities close by.


Praia ilha de Tavira beach

Way better on the low tide, need a local boat short trip to get there, but when it works you might just need boardshorts as by summer and fall it offer some nice warm surf days. One of the most consistent surf spots when the occasional southeast swells come in.


Hope you find the waves of your life, in this Algarve surf guide to find the best surf spots, and remember to play safe, respect the surf etiquette, make friends and share the surf stoke 🙂

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Is Portugal’s Food system sustainable?

One of the single largest reason for humans’ transgression of the key planetary limits is the global food system.

Worldwide, agriculture, forestry and other land use are responsible for 24% of global emissions. Inside it are practices such as crop cultivation, livestock practices and deforestation.

High meat and fish consumption is high in Portugal, according to a recent study from Galli et al (2020).

But also noticeable food wastage, and high urbanization level.

The team behind the study demonstrated food consumption in Portugal is the single largest reason (≈30%) why the Portuguese trespass the carrying capacity of Earth ecosystems.

Let’s take a quick closer look at some of this study’s main conclusions.

The Global Food System: A Systemic Problem

Throughout the 20th century, food demand has been largely met.

This was thanks to staple crop yields providing plenty of wheat, maize, soybean or rice.

But today’s agricultural practices put long-term food security at risk.

Soils are getting depleted.

Biodiversity is being lost at a rate of 150-200 species of plants, insects, birds or mammals a day. Entire ecosystems are at the risk of collapse. To name a few.

As if the above wasn’t bad enough, around 11% of the global population today suffers from chronic undernourishment.

On the other side of the spectrum, in 2016, there were 2 billion overweight adults. The unbalance in global dietary patterns is undeniable.

John Elkington (who coined the term triple bottom line) shared an interesting view on the book The Green Swans. That today more people have access to more calories, but these have worse quality.

We both know there’s a final piece in this story.

How our food system is screwed the answer is food waste.

Something only humans create since there is no such thing as waste in the natural world.

A Systemic Problem

According to Pauli Gunti’s book The Blue Economy, thanks to the Fungi Kingdom, mushrooms and other organisms recycle the nutrients of what we humans would call ‘leftovers’ back into the soil. The end of the story?

Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption goes to waste.

The scientists behind the study say the issue of food security and distribution isn’t just one where the tech industry comes to save the day by turning efficiency into full power mode.

Rather, they argue, it is extremely important to study cities – the hotspots of the world population and the place of consumption for most (79%) .

It is important to look for and implement solutions for some of the food system problems.

Such focus includes understanding the internal trade systems and how to improve urban links with national, regional and local production.

What’s the case for Portugal?

Is Portugal a Sustainable Country? The Portuguese Food Footprint

Portugal has a high meat and fish consumption – in fact, the highest per capita food footprint in the Mediterranean.

Moreover, the country’s high levels of food wastage.

1 million tons of food waste per year.

It is a fact that 62% of its population lives in coastal urban areas, which made Portugal an interesting case.

The municipalities of Almada, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Guimarães, Lagos and Vila Nova de Gaia – which have recently joined forces in an innovative project, the Ecological Footprint of Portuguese Municipalities.

This municipalities were selected as case studies as they made data access easier.

Besides checking the specific food footprints of the citizens living in these municipalities, researchers also applied a policy framework.

This policy framework is to assess local food system policies and to understand critical policy gaps needed to facilitate the transition to more sustainable pathways.

The results?

The year is 2014. Despite a national resource availability – aka bio-capacity – of only 1.28 gha per capita, the average Portuguese demanded 3.69 global hectares worth of natural resources and ecological services – aka Ecological Footprint – to sustain their lifestyle and overall consumption pattern.

This means a consumption rate that’s nearly three times higher than what the country can support.

The Portuguese Food Footprint: A Risky Dependance On External Countries

The footprint results reveal that the Portuguese food system is deeply interconnected with, and reliant upon, food systems around the world.

In fact, Portugal is highly dependant on the availability of food resources from Spain, France, Brazil and Norway. Just to maintain stable access to food.

Results also show that food consumption in Portugal tends to protein-based food such as Meat and Fish and Seafood as opposed to Fruit, Vegetables, and Bread and Cereals, contributing to the country’s high food footprint.

Portugal’s great external resource dependency is worrying considering that many other European and Mediterranean countries are running ecological deficits and external resource dependencies too.

Within a global ecological overshoot setting in which the world’s ecological assets are being spent at a nearly 70% faster rate than they are regenerated.

The COVID19 outbreak raised awareness on the risks associated with food globalization. Together with the impact of climate disasters, some countrieseven experienced food shortages.

The need to build systemic resilience and bet on agri-ecological systems becomes increasingly clear and urgent.

The Gaps in the Portuguese Food System

portugal agriculture food sustainability

The researchers suggest investing in more robust datasets and assessment frameworks.

Moreover, local institutions need to work on their ability to fully implement their responsibilities regarding food production, transformation, distribution, consumption and waste creation.

And there’s also a local government gap in the sense that larger-scale approaches and multi-level co-operations are missing.

Researchers are suggesting that strategic local policies could also be re-framed.

This would include a greater focus on issues. Issues such as sustainable agriculture policies, food waste reduction and the spectrum of circular activities around food.

In this way, shifting to calories-adequate diets or changing consumer’s food preferences could lead to a reduction in the ecological deficit of Portugal .

This is ranging from 10% (via calories reduction) to 19% (via major decreases in seafood and meat consumption).

All in one, shifting dietary choices away from animal proteins and towards the consumption of more cereals, legumes or vegetables requires the development of national dietary guidelines, and not only local actions.

Does Portugal Have Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems?

Because of their proximity and close interaction with relevant economic and societal actors.

Small cities like the Portuguese ones analysed in the study need to play a key role in promoting resilient and prosperous food systems.

Facilitating collaboration at different scales and sectors is therefore highly important to guarantee stable supply and access to food overtime for the Portuguese.

There’s high consumption of meat and seafood that considerably drives the Portuguese footprint.

Together with the fact that a large share of the Portuguese food Footprint is placed outside borders.

There’s the need for the creation of governance structures and specific policy interventions at a national and local level is remarkably important.

While food consumption should be a priority sector for intervention to shift unsustainable trends. There are holes in urban food policies within Portugal that undermine the country’s ability to take restorative action.

Therefore, facilitating a transition to sustainable national and local food systems in Portugal requires timely action.

Perhaps starting from those policies and initiatives that, without requiring major economic investments, would make the adoption of alternative dietary patterns and the strengthening of sustainable food governance possible.

Check our sustainability plan here .

[Image credits to Diogo Nunes, Orlova Maria and Photo by Karim Sakhibgareev on Unsplash]

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Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Our planet is seriously under threat, social and environmentally speaking. It is up to everyone. From governments and corporations of all sizes to regular citizens to stand up for the causes that resonate the most with us.

As ocean and beach lovers, surfers are no exception.

We believe, should even set the example when it comes to protecting the ocean and having a sustainable lifestyle. 

1 – Mind your surf equipment and shop sustainable surfboards. And all the rest because this is just a test to check some stuff out

Depending on the elements that compose them, as well as where they are produced and how they are transported. Surfboards, leashes, waxes or surfboard bags all have their environmental and carbon impact. This means not all the products for sale are equally sustainable – some are more eco-friendly than others. 

For instance, when it comes to energy consumption.

A shaper or a surfboard factory using renewable energy is likely more sustainable. More sustainable than one using energy from a fossil-fuel-based energy grid. Assuming the solar panels are used efficiently and disposed of responsibly.

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Wood surfboards are also more eco-friendly.

If this wood comes from a forest that is managed responsibly (usually PEFC or FSC certified). Even better if the wood is sourced, transformed, manufactured and used locally.

The conclusion: surfboards made from renewable, recycled or and/or upcycled materials or others that reduce toxicity are also more eco-friendly.

So are you thinking about getting a new surfboard ?

Check where and how it is produced and what eco-friendly alternatives are out there.

Mind that there’s a new set of standards known as the Ecoboard Project that certifies surfboards as more eco-friendly than the norm.

Also, remember you can extend the lifecycle of someone’s surf gear.

Why not look for a (likely more affordable) second-hand surfboard?

If you are worried these eco (but also different and unknown) surfboards may affect your surf performance: don’t.

Mick Fanning says in the video below unless you’re in the top 1% you won’t feel a difference.

“If you’re not on tour, you should definitely be riding a sustainable surfboard”.

Where can I find this kind of sustainable, eco-friendly surf gear, you may be wondering. Here in the Algarve, Portugal, we greatly advise shopping at The Bunker Algarve

https://vimeo.com/333477898

2 – Wetsuits: sustainable and eco-friendly wetsuits

susustainable wetsuit benefits eco friendly

How important is it to get a planet-friendly wetsuit?

Very, since the wetsuits most commonly sold on the market today are made from neoprene – which is either made of drilled petroleum or mined limestone.

If you have a wetsuit and you didn’t carefully look at the materials making it. Yours most likely. Belongs to this category. And that’s ok!

Rather than leaving a – still in good shape wetsuit aside – the most sustainable and eco-friendly thing to do next is to use it for as long as you possibly can.

Repairing it whenever needed.

Doing this meaning extending this product’s lifecycle, and if everyone did it, I meant that less of them needed to be produced, hence, less pollution coming from (what you be a reduced) production.

Choose to repair and along the way you will also be either mastering the art of sewing or paying someone a few bucks to do it, strengthening the local community.

But when you indeed need to get a new wetsuit, there are some innovative companies selling more sustainable and eco-friendly wetsuits made of neoprene alternatives.

Most of these wetsuits are made from plant-based and chlorine-free rubbers such as Yulex (from Patagonia) or NaturalPrene.

When it comes to performance most are equally good or better – there is only one downside: price. Which is always the problem when the market is still a small one.

But if you can afford to pay 10-15% more, you’ll be helping the market to grow.

Eventually, with time and more consumers entering the market, costs and price will come down.

3 – Sustainable surf wax and sunscreen

Did you know surf wax is mostly the product of hazardous petrochemicals that are fossil-fuel-based?

Once these toxic chemicals get to move from the surfboard to the water they are harmful for oceans – polluting marine ecosystems and damaging reefs.

But there’s a better way. New, more natural and organic ingredients are showing up and they look like a very interesting alternative. For instance beeswax is 100% natural and contains no harmful additives.

At the same time, sunscreens are also something to keep in mind since they also contain harmful chemicals – such as octinoxate and oxybenzone – that leave marine ecosystems, in danger.

How’s so? Because naturally, sunscreens tend to wash off and end up being dissolved into the water. Harming reefs and fish species.

So the next time you are getting a new sunscreen, make it is not made of these harmful chemicals. If it is ethically-produced, palm-oil free and comes in a plastic-free plastic packaging even better.

At Future Eco Surfing School we’re proud to partner with Eqlove .

Eqlove is a certified organic cosmetics and wellness brands inspired by surfing.

4 – Be sustainable by minimizing the impact of your surf travels

Now that we know that being a sustainable surfer includes being mindful of our surf gear, the next obvious thing to look at is the pollution surfers cause when we go surfing.

John John, says that not everyone has the privilege of living a few steps away from a dream wave!

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

The thing is: almost everyone needs some kind of transportation to get to the ocean.

If you think the recent fly shame trend started by Greta Thunberg is not something to be worried about because you actually don’t fly much, you better check youmatter’s piece comparing plane and car pollution.

Put shortly, it states that unless you are taking 3 other people in the car (for thermal cars).

Driving can be as polluting as flying. 

What’s the alternative then?

Well, either you join a local WhatsApp or Facebook carpooling group (or start one if there is none) or (if it is doable) you can always go by bike or motorbike.

Public transportation, especially trains and buses, may perhaps be an option too? 

Despite all this, of course we all want to travel the world and surf the world’s best breaks – keep going after them!

Just try to find a healthy balance in how you travel: perhaps you can surf abroad every other year while surfing at home in between. Or perhaps you can make Indonesia and Australia in one trip, rather than crossing the world twice within a short period of time.

In the worst-case scenario, remember you can always offset your emissions. Put shortly, this means investing in projects that help store the atmospheric carbon you emit.

Some common examples of carbon offsetting include soil regeneration projects.

They often store more carbon than trees, planting autochtone (local) trees or installing solar panels in underdeveloped villages. 

5 – Avoid plastic pollution: be sustainable and help protect the oceans

surf sustainable plastic pollution ocean

Being a sustainable surfer goes beyond surf itself.

Besides keeping up with the basics – not throwing trash away (including cigarette butts), taking our reusable bags when we go shopping, carrying around our water bottles and recycling whenever and wherever possible.

There are way more sustainable changes a sustainable surfer needs to worry about.

If you give Bea Johnson’s – one of the first and most influential personalities of the zero-waste lifestyle movement – zero waste home a quick read, you understand there is way more we can do. You see, a few R’s come before recycling. 

First, we should refuse the things we don’t need (like free samples or flyers) and reduce what we do buy to what is truly essential, adopting a more minimalist lifestyle.

Besides, we should always try to reuse the things we own it for as long as we possibly can, repairing them whenever they get broken or damaged. And only then after that should we rot what’s biodegradable or recycle what’s not. 

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Choosing clothes that are made from natural fabrics.

Such as cotton (even better if it is organic) instead of those made from microplastic fibres (such as nylon, polyester or acrylic).

Plus, as we’ve been before, purchasing from small and local producers helps not only the environment but also the local economy.

Remember the bulk shop? There’s a really nice one here in Portimão, Algarve, Portugal, known as Armazém Integral – give them a try!

There are also some easy and cheap things we can do differently when it comes to plastic.

We can take our own reusable veggies/fruits bags (plastic or fabrics) when we go shopping and shop in bulk shops. So we can refill our supplies of commodities such as oil, sugar, rice, lentils or laundry detergent. Use solid bath and shampoo soap (avoiding plastic packaging) and bamboo toothbrushes. 

6 –  Take part or organise beach cleanups and protect the ocean from plastic pollution

If you get your friends and family to take a (reusable, even a small) plastic bag with them every time they go to the beach.

Encourage them to go for a healthy beach walk grabbing the plastic they come across, that’s already a great win.

But taking part in an organised beach cleanup is a whole different story. Not only you get to know new people who share the same ocean protection values, strengthening your community ties.

You are also in close contact with the ocean and dedicating your time and attention to prevent other species – from whales and dolphins to fish, birds to crustaceans – from getting hurt and potentially dying.

That feeling that you are contributing to the greater good that we are all wired to contribute towards (including terrorists – you’ll be amazed by Rutger Bregman’s book Humankind: a hopeful story) is definitely worth it. 

7 – Support local and global organizations working to protect the ocean 

Despite all the important and valuable changes we can do in our lifestyles to live a more sustainable life and protect the ocean, there are causes needing urgent attention and dedicated professionals in different fields.

That’s why supporting (either financially or with your time and expertise) NGOs  – especially local and national ones – helps you have a broader and more immediate impact. 

So why not support those networks working hard and sometimes against powerful interests with their work?

There is likely a national Surfrider Foundation, a WWF team or another organisation close to where you live. They are doing relevant work – be it in protecting the ocean or other common natural treasures. Help them out!

Here in Portugal, we are lucky to have ANP/WWF team who helps protect our ocean, forest, water and climate.

But there other movements like Zero, Geota, LNP and many others doing a great job too – and becoming associate costs as little as 5-10eur/year.

Check out our sustainability plan here.

[Image credits to Brandon Compagn, Austin Neill, Claudio Schwarz and Tyler Nix on Unsplash]

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Consider the below guide to Algarve Surf spots, from north to south and from west to east.

If you are looking for where to surf in the Algarve either if you are a beginner or intermediate level surfer.

We will not include a few gems that are hard to reach, difficult to surf or have hardcore local surfers.

This way you avoid the surf spots where you would probably lose your time. So you can go straight to the surf spots that will be easier to reach and to surf.

Odeceixe beach

Beautiful beach, not so crowded. Beach break sandbar with a small river mouth, car parking lot very close by, snack bars and toilets on location.


Amoreira beach

A very consistent surf spot. Beach break sandbar with a small river mouth, crowded by summer. Car parking lot very close by, snack bars and toilets on location.


Monte Clérigo beach

Beach break with a few rocks, strong currents on specific tides, more powerful waves than the previous spots. Car parking lot by the beach, snack bars, and toilets on location.


Arrifana beach

As it’s a beach break protected from the main swell direction and predominant wind it has consistently clean surf and smoother waves than the previous surf spots.

When the surf gets big it’s one of the few places that still are surfable for the average surfer.

Due to this Arrifana beach is the most popular surf spot around this area and you should expect plenty of crowd throughout the year.

There’s even a great right-hand point break that only works on bigger swells and is only advisable for quite experienced surfers due to the exposed rocks and punishing waves.
Expect some walking as there are plenty more cars than parking slots. Snack bars and toilets available on location.


Vale Figueiras beach

Beach break mostly sand but some rocks here and there. Not so crowded, no facilities at the beach (no snack bars, no toilets). There is a small car parking lot by the beach and another one further up the road.


Bordeira beach

The largest surf spot on the west coast so a long walk will mean way more space in the sand and in the water than most of the other surf spots around. Consistent on waves, very exposed to the dominant wind, one snack bar, no toilets, plenty of car parking slots but expect minimum 10/15 min walk to reach the surf spot location.


Amado beach
Consistent beach break, relatively protected from the main wind direction and quite a large beach make it the most popular surf break in the Algarve so expect good waves but also plenty of crowds. There are toilets, snack bars, and lots of car parking slots by the beach.

A guide about Algarve Surf Spots

Cordoama beach
Beach break with some rocks, the most consistent surf spot regarding wave size, has some powerful waves, and often very talented surfers around. Has toilets, a snack bar, a car parking lot right at the beach, and breath-taking views from the lookout from the top of the 100 meters high cliffs


Castelejo beach

Beach break with some rocks, beautiful beach, usually some nice wave formation, a bit protected by the dominant winds. Has toilets, snack bar and car parking lot.


Tonel beach

The most southwestern wave in Europe has a unique location. It´s a beach break with some exposed rocks, has some strong currents on specific tides, and is located in the surf vibe village of Sagres. There is a snack bar but no toilets, anyway it´s walking distance from the village.


Mareta beach

The most western surf spot on the Algarve south coast, it needs big northwest/west swells or small south swells to come alive, has great waves when conditions gather. Located in the heart of Sagres, gets crowded easily. All facilities in walking distance.


Zavial beach

Very famous surf spot on the south coast, the most consistent regarding wave size, waves are powerful and often offer barrels. Expect a crowd of all levels, there are toilets, a snack bar, and a car parking lot.


Meia Praia de Lagos

Very inconsistent surf break except for south swells and especially southeast swells. It works occasionally at the peak of summer and more often in the peak of winter. Walking distance from trendy traveller-friendly Lagos downtown and has a great surf vibe.


Praia da Rocha beach

Besides Zavial is the most consistent surf spot on the south coast, waves are smooth and gentle making it great for beginners and intermediate but not so challenging for advanced surfers. It’s the main beach of the 2nd most populated town in the Algarve so it’s kind of a surf city itself. It can get crowded on the main peak by the pier but as it’s a 2km long sandy beach it can handle plenty of surfers. 

Praia da Galé beach

The best surf spot around Albufeira town, it’s a mix of sand and rocks beach break. The wave is quite rideable, especially the left-hander.  Has all the necessary facilities close by.


Praia da Falésia beach

Nice beach break, especially the left-hander by the pier. It’s a short but strong wave. Not very consistent as most of the south surf spots. All facilities close by. 

Praia de Faro beach

Expect a long walk to surf the best sandbar location a bit down the beach. It’s the closest you can get from the airport as they are side by side make sure to avoid the high tide and score the low tide. All facilities close by.


Praia ilha de Tavira beach

Way better on the low tide, need a local boat short trip to get there, but when it works you might just need boardshorts as by summer and fall it offer some nice warm surf days. One of the most consistent surf spots when the occasional southeast swells come in.


Hope you find the waves of your life, in this Algarve surf guide to find the best surf spots, and remember to play safe, respect the surf etiquette, make friends and share the surf stoke 🙂

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Is Portugal’s Food system sustainable?

One of the single largest reason for humans’ transgression of the key planetary limits is the global food system.

Worldwide, agriculture, forestry and other land use are responsible for 24% of global emissions. Inside it are practices such as crop cultivation, livestock practices and deforestation.

High meat and fish consumption is high in Portugal, according to a recent study from Galli et al (2020).

But also noticeable food wastage, and high urbanization level.

The team behind the study demonstrated food consumption in Portugal is the single largest reason (≈30%) why the Portuguese trespass the carrying capacity of Earth ecosystems.

Let’s take a quick closer look at some of this study’s main conclusions.

The Global Food System: A Systemic Problem

Throughout the 20th century, food demand has been largely met.

This was thanks to staple crop yields providing plenty of wheat, maize, soybean or rice.

But today’s agricultural practices put long-term food security at risk.

Soils are getting depleted.

Biodiversity is being lost at a rate of 150-200 species of plants, insects, birds or mammals a day. Entire ecosystems are at the risk of collapse. To name a few.

As if the above wasn’t bad enough, around 11% of the global population today suffers from chronic undernourishment.

On the other side of the spectrum, in 2016, there were 2 billion overweight adults. The unbalance in global dietary patterns is undeniable.

John Elkington (who coined the term triple bottom line) shared an interesting view on the book The Green Swans. That today more people have access to more calories, but these have worse quality.

We both know there’s a final piece in this story.

How our food system is screwed the answer is food waste.

Something only humans create since there is no such thing as waste in the natural world.

A Systemic Problem

According to Pauli Gunti’s book The Blue Economy, thanks to the Fungi Kingdom, mushrooms and other organisms recycle the nutrients of what we humans would call ‘leftovers’ back into the soil. The end of the story?

Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption goes to waste.

The scientists behind the study say the issue of food security and distribution isn’t just one where the tech industry comes to save the day by turning efficiency into full power mode.

Rather, they argue, it is extremely important to study cities – the hotspots of the world population and the place of consumption for most (79%) .

It is important to look for and implement solutions for some of the food system problems.

Such focus includes understanding the internal trade systems and how to improve urban links with national, regional and local production.

What’s the case for Portugal?

Is Portugal a Sustainable Country? The Portuguese Food Footprint

Portugal has a high meat and fish consumption – in fact, the highest per capita food footprint in the Mediterranean.

Moreover, the country’s high levels of food wastage.

1 million tons of food waste per year.

It is a fact that 62% of its population lives in coastal urban areas, which made Portugal an interesting case.

The municipalities of Almada, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Guimarães, Lagos and Vila Nova de Gaia – which have recently joined forces in an innovative project, the Ecological Footprint of Portuguese Municipalities.

This municipalities were selected as case studies as they made data access easier.

Besides checking the specific food footprints of the citizens living in these municipalities, researchers also applied a policy framework.

This policy framework is to assess local food system policies and to understand critical policy gaps needed to facilitate the transition to more sustainable pathways.

The results?

The year is 2014. Despite a national resource availability – aka bio-capacity – of only 1.28 gha per capita, the average Portuguese demanded 3.69 global hectares worth of natural resources and ecological services – aka Ecological Footprint – to sustain their lifestyle and overall consumption pattern.

This means a consumption rate that’s nearly three times higher than what the country can support.

The Portuguese Food Footprint: A Risky Dependance On External Countries

The footprint results reveal that the Portuguese food system is deeply interconnected with, and reliant upon, food systems around the world.

In fact, Portugal is highly dependant on the availability of food resources from Spain, France, Brazil and Norway. Just to maintain stable access to food.

Results also show that food consumption in Portugal tends to protein-based food such as Meat and Fish and Seafood as opposed to Fruit, Vegetables, and Bread and Cereals, contributing to the country’s high food footprint.

Portugal’s great external resource dependency is worrying considering that many other European and Mediterranean countries are running ecological deficits and external resource dependencies too.

Within a global ecological overshoot setting in which the world’s ecological assets are being spent at a nearly 70% faster rate than they are regenerated.

The COVID19 outbreak raised awareness on the risks associated with food globalization. Together with the impact of climate disasters, some countrieseven experienced food shortages.

The need to build systemic resilience and bet on agri-ecological systems becomes increasingly clear and urgent.

The Gaps in the Portuguese Food System

portugal agriculture food sustainability

The researchers suggest investing in more robust datasets and assessment frameworks.

Moreover, local institutions need to work on their ability to fully implement their responsibilities regarding food production, transformation, distribution, consumption and waste creation.

And there’s also a local government gap in the sense that larger-scale approaches and multi-level co-operations are missing.

Researchers are suggesting that strategic local policies could also be re-framed.

This would include a greater focus on issues. Issues such as sustainable agriculture policies, food waste reduction and the spectrum of circular activities around food.

In this way, shifting to calories-adequate diets or changing consumer’s food preferences could lead to a reduction in the ecological deficit of Portugal .

This is ranging from 10% (via calories reduction) to 19% (via major decreases in seafood and meat consumption).

All in one, shifting dietary choices away from animal proteins and towards the consumption of more cereals, legumes or vegetables requires the development of national dietary guidelines, and not only local actions.

Does Portugal Have Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems?

Because of their proximity and close interaction with relevant economic and societal actors.

Small cities like the Portuguese ones analysed in the study need to play a key role in promoting resilient and prosperous food systems.

Facilitating collaboration at different scales and sectors is therefore highly important to guarantee stable supply and access to food overtime for the Portuguese.

There’s high consumption of meat and seafood that considerably drives the Portuguese footprint.

Together with the fact that a large share of the Portuguese food Footprint is placed outside borders.

There’s the need for the creation of governance structures and specific policy interventions at a national and local level is remarkably important.

While food consumption should be a priority sector for intervention to shift unsustainable trends. There are holes in urban food policies within Portugal that undermine the country’s ability to take restorative action.

Therefore, facilitating a transition to sustainable national and local food systems in Portugal requires timely action.

Perhaps starting from those policies and initiatives that, without requiring major economic investments, would make the adoption of alternative dietary patterns and the strengthening of sustainable food governance possible.

Check our sustainability plan here .

[Image credits to Diogo Nunes, Orlova Maria and Photo by Karim Sakhibgareev on Unsplash]

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Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Our planet is seriously under threat, social and environmentally speaking. It is up to everyone. From governments and corporations of all sizes to regular citizens to stand up for the causes that resonate the most with us.

As ocean and beach lovers, surfers are no exception.

We believe, should even set the example when it comes to protecting the ocean and having a sustainable lifestyle. 

1 – Mind your surf equipment and shop sustainable surfboards. And all the rest because this is just a test to check some stuff out

Depending on the elements that compose them, as well as where they are produced and how they are transported. Surfboards, leashes, waxes or surfboard bags all have their environmental and carbon impact. This means not all the products for sale are equally sustainable – some are more eco-friendly than others. 

For instance, when it comes to energy consumption.

A shaper or a surfboard factory using renewable energy is likely more sustainable. More sustainable than one using energy from a fossil-fuel-based energy grid. Assuming the solar panels are used efficiently and disposed of responsibly.

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Wood surfboards are also more eco-friendly.

If this wood comes from a forest that is managed responsibly (usually PEFC or FSC certified). Even better if the wood is sourced, transformed, manufactured and used locally.

The conclusion: surfboards made from renewable, recycled or and/or upcycled materials or others that reduce toxicity are also more eco-friendly.

So are you thinking about getting a new surfboard ?

Check where and how it is produced and what eco-friendly alternatives are out there.

Mind that there’s a new set of standards known as the Ecoboard Project that certifies surfboards as more eco-friendly than the norm.

Also, remember you can extend the lifecycle of someone’s surf gear.

Why not look for a (likely more affordable) second-hand surfboard?

If you are worried these eco (but also different and unknown) surfboards may affect your surf performance: don’t.

Mick Fanning says in the video below unless you’re in the top 1% you won’t feel a difference.

“If you’re not on tour, you should definitely be riding a sustainable surfboard”.

Where can I find this kind of sustainable, eco-friendly surf gear, you may be wondering. Here in the Algarve, Portugal, we greatly advise shopping at The Bunker Algarve

https://vimeo.com/333477898

2 – Wetsuits: sustainable and eco-friendly wetsuits

susustainable wetsuit benefits eco friendly

How important is it to get a planet-friendly wetsuit?

Very, since the wetsuits most commonly sold on the market today are made from neoprene – which is either made of drilled petroleum or mined limestone.

If you have a wetsuit and you didn’t carefully look at the materials making it. Yours most likely. Belongs to this category. And that’s ok!

Rather than leaving a – still in good shape wetsuit aside – the most sustainable and eco-friendly thing to do next is to use it for as long as you possibly can.

Repairing it whenever needed.

Doing this meaning extending this product’s lifecycle, and if everyone did it, I meant that less of them needed to be produced, hence, less pollution coming from (what you be a reduced) production.

Choose to repair and along the way you will also be either mastering the art of sewing or paying someone a few bucks to do it, strengthening the local community.

But when you indeed need to get a new wetsuit, there are some innovative companies selling more sustainable and eco-friendly wetsuits made of neoprene alternatives.

Most of these wetsuits are made from plant-based and chlorine-free rubbers such as Yulex (from Patagonia) or NaturalPrene.

When it comes to performance most are equally good or better – there is only one downside: price. Which is always the problem when the market is still a small one.

But if you can afford to pay 10-15% more, you’ll be helping the market to grow.

Eventually, with time and more consumers entering the market, costs and price will come down.

3 – Sustainable surf wax and sunscreen

Did you know surf wax is mostly the product of hazardous petrochemicals that are fossil-fuel-based?

Once these toxic chemicals get to move from the surfboard to the water they are harmful for oceans – polluting marine ecosystems and damaging reefs.

But there’s a better way. New, more natural and organic ingredients are showing up and they look like a very interesting alternative. For instance beeswax is 100% natural and contains no harmful additives.

At the same time, sunscreens are also something to keep in mind since they also contain harmful chemicals – such as octinoxate and oxybenzone – that leave marine ecosystems, in danger.

How’s so? Because naturally, sunscreens tend to wash off and end up being dissolved into the water. Harming reefs and fish species.

So the next time you are getting a new sunscreen, make it is not made of these harmful chemicals. If it is ethically-produced, palm-oil free and comes in a plastic-free plastic packaging even better.

At Future Eco Surfing School we’re proud to partner with Eqlove .

Eqlove is a certified organic cosmetics and wellness brands inspired by surfing.

4 – Be sustainable by minimizing the impact of your surf travels

Now that we know that being a sustainable surfer includes being mindful of our surf gear, the next obvious thing to look at is the pollution surfers cause when we go surfing.

John John, says that not everyone has the privilege of living a few steps away from a dream wave!

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

The thing is: almost everyone needs some kind of transportation to get to the ocean.

If you think the recent fly shame trend started by Greta Thunberg is not something to be worried about because you actually don’t fly much, you better check youmatter’s piece comparing plane and car pollution.

Put shortly, it states that unless you are taking 3 other people in the car (for thermal cars).

Driving can be as polluting as flying. 

What’s the alternative then?

Well, either you join a local WhatsApp or Facebook carpooling group (or start one if there is none) or (if it is doable) you can always go by bike or motorbike.

Public transportation, especially trains and buses, may perhaps be an option too? 

Despite all this, of course we all want to travel the world and surf the world’s best breaks – keep going after them!

Just try to find a healthy balance in how you travel: perhaps you can surf abroad every other year while surfing at home in between. Or perhaps you can make Indonesia and Australia in one trip, rather than crossing the world twice within a short period of time.

In the worst-case scenario, remember you can always offset your emissions. Put shortly, this means investing in projects that help store the atmospheric carbon you emit.

Some common examples of carbon offsetting include soil regeneration projects.

They often store more carbon than trees, planting autochtone (local) trees or installing solar panels in underdeveloped villages. 

5 – Avoid plastic pollution: be sustainable and help protect the oceans

surf sustainable plastic pollution ocean

Being a sustainable surfer goes beyond surf itself.

Besides keeping up with the basics – not throwing trash away (including cigarette butts), taking our reusable bags when we go shopping, carrying around our water bottles and recycling whenever and wherever possible.

There are way more sustainable changes a sustainable surfer needs to worry about.

If you give Bea Johnson’s – one of the first and most influential personalities of the zero-waste lifestyle movement – zero waste home a quick read, you understand there is way more we can do. You see, a few R’s come before recycling. 

First, we should refuse the things we don’t need (like free samples or flyers) and reduce what we do buy to what is truly essential, adopting a more minimalist lifestyle.

Besides, we should always try to reuse the things we own it for as long as we possibly can, repairing them whenever they get broken or damaged. And only then after that should we rot what’s biodegradable or recycle what’s not. 

Sustainable Surfer – An Ocean Protection way

Choosing clothes that are made from natural fabrics.

Such as cotton (even better if it is organic) instead of those made from microplastic fibres (such as nylon, polyester or acrylic).

Plus, as we’ve been before, purchasing from small and local producers helps not only the environment but also the local economy.

Remember the bulk shop? There’s a really nice one here in Portimão, Algarve, Portugal, known as Armazém Integral – give them a try!

There are also some easy and cheap things we can do differently when it comes to plastic.

We can take our own reusable veggies/fruits bags (plastic or fabrics) when we go shopping and shop in bulk shops. So we can refill our supplies of commodities such as oil, sugar, rice, lentils or laundry detergent. Use solid bath and shampoo soap (avoiding plastic packaging) and bamboo toothbrushes. 

6 –  Take part or organise beach cleanups and protect the ocean from plastic pollution

If you get your friends and family to take a (reusable, even a small) plastic bag with them every time they go to the beach.

Encourage them to go for a healthy beach walk grabbing the plastic they come across, that’s already a great win.

But taking part in an organised beach cleanup is a whole different story. Not only you get to know new people who share the same ocean protection values, strengthening your community ties.

You are also in close contact with the ocean and dedicating your time and attention to prevent other species – from whales and dolphins to fish, birds to crustaceans – from getting hurt and potentially dying.

That feeling that you are contributing to the greater good that we are all wired to contribute towards (including terrorists – you’ll be amazed by Rutger Bregman’s book Humankind: a hopeful story) is definitely worth it. 

7 – Support local and global organizations working to protect the ocean 

Despite all the important and valuable changes we can do in our lifestyles to live a more sustainable life and protect the ocean, there are causes needing urgent attention and dedicated professionals in different fields.

That’s why supporting (either financially or with your time and expertise) NGOs  – especially local and national ones – helps you have a broader and more immediate impact. 

So why not support those networks working hard and sometimes against powerful interests with their work?

There is likely a national Surfrider Foundation, a WWF team or another organisation close to where you live. They are doing relevant work – be it in protecting the ocean or other common natural treasures. Help them out!

Here in Portugal, we are lucky to have ANP/WWF team who helps protect our ocean, forest, water and climate.

But there other movements like Zero, Geota, LNP and many others doing a great job too – and becoming associate costs as little as 5-10eur/year.

Check out our sustainability plan here.

[Image credits to Brandon Compagn, Austin Neill, Claudio Schwarz and Tyler Nix on Unsplash]

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”Amazing team, great teachers, lot of fun, great souvenir, wonderful landscape see you next year!”

Joseys
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Accreditations

Turismo de Portugal
Marinha
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