88 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 24.6.2017

June 25, 2017 at 10:35 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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C was to present more info on the P Association but he couldn’t attend and he didn’t have sufficient time to send U an overview. But he outlined on the phone, that P. needs new associates and new input.

C will send a list of the other members so that we know who they are (and if we would like to associate ourselves with them), also the Statutes and what else they are doing, besides Waldorf-prep courses.

U said that we could organize a “Waldorf for Madeira” workshop (cannot be that difficult) . C said that the cost for a teacher from the mainland would be around 300€ plus flight (the person could stay with C). We need to get more information before proceeding.

M needs to find another option for the Foundation. As mentioned before, there is a Family Court judge who is sending needy children to foster parents, instead of a good home, so only 14 children are living at the Foundation at this time. The overhead is too expensive.

M hopes to get Rubina Leal (PSD, but nobody is perfect) to visit the home to see which other uses can be found  to make use of the space (Creche, day care centre for the handicapped, home for underage mothers). It should be care toward poor children as mentioned in the Statutes, otherwise they would have to be adapted. The new purpose must also be of a kind that the Sisters can cope with.

U spoke to the group about the history of the Consorcio (many members weren’t in it from the start) and about the fact that most of our own projects stalled because of disinterest. (Beach Basket, the Medicinal Herbs project with Verena). We also see that if we offer help, it is not usually accepted. People may want help for their project but end up muddling through as before.

The idea (we are never running out of ideas) is to turn the Consorcio into our own discussion forum with topics we want to talk about, and these may be topics one wouldn’t discuss at a dinner table. If we are approached for help toward outside projects, we’ll be happy to assist

 

88 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 22.4.2017

April 26, 2017 at 11:36 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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U. gave out the group’s contact list on paper again

Foundation.

M.is in negotiations with one of the family members who has access to the website, Also, the “IRS” handout has been stalled. Some issues need to be resolved at the Foundation first.

Escola de Semente:

R V contacted U to help him set up a fundraising project ; U gave him the best option for Portugal site (www.ppl.pt) and R V will study what is needed to set up a fundraising drive (photos, video, gifts, content).

The Bread Project:

E will give GV’s number to Uso she can call him and remind him that he intended to order bread. But: we must assume he that wanted to find a way to get the know-how.

M. has a contact for E for a shop in Praça A. for rent, this could be a good place for a bakery at a low price.

The Foundation is getting its own bread oven, not to feed the children (they get a lot of bread as donation) but to teach them how relate to and produce their food in a natural way.

Penta presentation

C gave us a presentation of the Penta project.

This is an Association in Funchal with a few members promoting an upgrade on the education concept behind the Walldorf schools. The major point is that the parents need to be educated before the children. Adults should have an integrated approach to their own lives, working will all five (Walldorf is based on four) of their own elements (Emotional, Mental, Vital, Physical and Spiritual). Children then copy their parents – even if parents do not see the results of this copying behavior reflected to them. This can be done by Art Therapy, Family Drama (“Constelação familiar”, to get rid of old ghosts in the closet)  and other techniques. The Association also organizes walks and creates “insight” labyrinths in nature

C is a medical doctor but studies psychology and has received training on this approach from two teachers who now live in the UK (http://www.lazzarus.net/  ) The Association would like to get them over to Funchal to give training to the parents and teachers in Escola de Semente.

Other Stuff:

Al is offering Acupuncture in Funchal, in a practice in Rua da Carreia 100.

Mundo Sustentável”, the used good resale place is behind the Forum, below the “Po de’Arroz” hairdresser’s shop.

Also very interesting:

Lawrence Lessig  Our Democracy no longer represent the people:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJy8vTu66tE

And liquid democracy can be found here:

http://democracy.earth/

 

 

87 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 11.3.2107

March 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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Support for the Foundation 

As mentioned before, the Foundation relies on private funding only. The stock market is providing less income than before but another point is that the judge in charge of the Court of Families and Minors is of the opinion that children should be given to foster parents,

The Foundation has been very quiet about their work so far, but times change and more funds are needed so the Foundation needs to show more face. From a website and handouts via Diario ads up to TV interviews , everything is possible. The management team needs to decide how far they want to go with public exposure.

The Foundation is fully compliant with the law. Social Security made a full check up.   Transparency and compliance are the essential for fundraising efforts.

D & S have a good example of how it should be done with http://www.refugio.pt/ (nice website – clean, simple and welcoming), a well-known entity in the Algarve for just the cases the Foundation is caring for as well (“emergência infantil”).

We shall help the Foundation with marketing efforts, to strengthen the base for ongoing fundraising. D proposed the 0.5% Tax Donation avenue. Private citizens can donate this amount to a charity of their choice, with no cost to themselves, Accounting companies can even set this up as a default option, informing their clients that if they do not say otherwise, the accounting can set up their donation automatically.

Fir this to work, word needs to get out that the Foundation is asking for this help. This can be done be email to all contacts and former alumni. The request for help can also go out via A5 handouts, with an appealing text in (not too complicated) Portuguese, citing the Foundation’s NIF number.
U.prepared a text and showed it to the Team. The Portuguese has to be fixed and the text polished and improved. M will do this with his Team as soon as possible (Tax declarations will be delivered as of April 1st), then we’ll receive the final text. U will deliver prints , E. & Gr can take the handouts to the cinema in Ponta do Sol, etc.

D suggested that the Foundation tries to set up a list of former students to draw them in for support. They might want to keep in touch with each other as they, after all, all, grew up together.

He also suggested asking former students for an annual donation, it can be small but it would strengthen their sense of belonging. Another way is via estate planning: donors can help by bequeathing houses or funds after their demise.

Special projects can be used to attract donations as well. Esaid that an “institution” (no better word for it yet) can expect support from a community when it offer something to this community, e.g. theatre plays, concerts , Christmas tree lighting on the grounds, etc. (the group was not enthusiastic about Christmas plays, though) .

 Web site upgrade

U has received the access codes to the existing website  and worked  on the background to improve things. She will acquire some photos of children, and S.Z. could provide photos of the home and hopefully the staff, to add them to the website. We also need the WORD originals of the annual report 2016, there is good material in there to fill the pages. (The Foundation has a good team, this should be emphasized as well.)

U will look at a PayPal Donate button (other option: MBNet) to suggest donations. This can be set up with a 10€ minimum as PayPal takes a cut for the payments, albeit on a lower rate for an IPSS.

 

In our time, with more and more angst ruling the people, it is important to strengthen the ties in the community so that people contact and get to know each other. Fear cannot take hold so much if you know your neighbor and community.

The Bread Project:

E met with G.V. who is interested in the gluten-free-bread as he cannot produce it in his two (or more?) bakeries. E gave him a sample and received a very good feedback.

We discussed the price, D was skeptical if the price is not too high. R.V:  has the experience, he is often educating the clients on nutrition and value and he says that the price is not too high, compared with the bland quality of industrial gluten-free bread, and that he can “sell” the price to his clients.

We also discussed the possible production of the grains on the island. At the moment, they can be bought from Italy (Tuscany) , Austria and the US.

E received some originals , he can have them planted here but the yield will not better, and the cost would be the same (around 6€/kg). Planting them on Madeira would be sustainable, creating work, helping the community… great idea, but is has to be kept for the future.

 

86 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 11.2.2107

February 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

 

U told the Team about the old OE project, this is a system which can turn feteira and other organic waste together with household rubbish, into diesel.The company, lead by a Swiss engineer/owner, has won the tender by the Funchal City Hall, and after some resistance by the old Valor Ambiente Team, the project can go ahead.

The Bread Project:

E has been approached by a third person to meet with a big baking company in Madeira, to discuss having/producing/selling his gluten-free bread in these outlets. E will take the meeting and see what they want and offer. (He may take another group member into the meeting.)

The group feels it would not be a good idea to give away his knowledge and starter to other outfits or even bake there (cameras?); we think that they may steal his knowledge. The group suggested to him to have the starter and maybe the combination of original wheat /sourdough/starter etc. patented in Portugal, maybe also in the US, then nobody can get the know-how.
E is also in touch with M in regards to maybe baking  for hotel consumption, as well as more bread for sale in other outlets. He will bring a few samples to the hotel to see how this is received by the clientele and by the management.

C. said that there is a “Sourdough Bank” in Belgium where E could deposit his starter, also as a protection of the “copyright”

Escola de S.

We discussed the stalled project – Mau. left the school, and R.  is not a pro-active person to have as contact for our support.

The Team will be available to the school if they come back to us in the future, but we may want to find another alternative education project if/when something comes up, in the area of Waldorf or Montessori. In past projects, which did not come to pass, the missing of money was usually the problem. We shall keep our eyes open!

85 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 19.11.2016

November 20, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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Home, dear Home

The facebook page is here:

https://www.facebook.com/search/1602144116750958/local_search?surface=tyah

Home, dear Home” offers many services, tailored to the needs of a wide range of clients. The basic is the tidying up of a closet or a pantry. Mar. already did this for friends and their acquaintances. The effect may be that the family, upon seeing how this is done, is encouraged to start on other closet or rooms themselves. Even the kids who watch such an action get the idea on how to sort things and live in a better place.

Mar. always goes to the potential client’s place first to get the scope of the work and then she makes an offer. Clients may opt to have part of the work done later to be able to stretch the payment. Mar. will be able to tell them what items they need to buy before she comes to do the job, or she measures the drawers etc and buy the items needed herself for a small fee. Follow up visits are part of the offer, to see if the clients get along well with the new order or if something needs to be changed.

Mar. sees her work as an investment of her client: as a house becomes more orderly, the quality of life for the whole family improves. Less time is needed to search for items, and this can lower the stress level of a whole family.

The effect cleaning up, getting rid of excess stuff and cleaning up is that the exterior of the space will reflect the interior of the person. Clients also become more aware of what they like and what they don’t like, what they can let go. New things, items and issues can enter the life when old stuff gets discarded. Mar. sees her role as an enabler for clients to help themselves; she doesn’t want them to become dependent on her.

 

 

 

 

Mar. will give a lecture on Jan 21st and a workshop in April in the Pestana Casino Park Hotel under the auspices of the Academia Nova Era.  S

The Bread Project:

E.encountered a Japanese film maker who might be willing to make a film about his production.

Escola de Sem.

There are changes in the structure; MA is leaving the team. U.will contact R. V.to see whom we can talk with, to offer our help, but it is obvious that the Escola needs some time to regroup and come back to us.

Other stuff:

Members of the Team had the opportunity to meet with our former members D & P from the Farm in Tabua. They are doing well, they are planting more lavender  and they have added beehives to the farm. The honey they receive is quite good, D.says. We shall hear more and hopefully get to buy some honey soon.

 

U is asking the Team to contact her if anybody hears of a print publication on Madeira coming online. A company wants to have print ads for the clientele (age 65 +, not internet savvy) who prefer print publications for news.

There will be no meeting in December; we’ll meet instead in Jan. for a New Years Dinner.

 

84 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 21.10.2016

October 23, 2016 at 11:16 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We had Fireman Sa. as guest again.  He gave us a report about the recent fires on Aug 5 – 6. He said that the conditions, with Leste coming over from Africa and with a wind speed of 75/85 km were a “perfect storm” situation. The Leste brought fire sparks down from the rim above the city.

In these situations, the firemen are on high alert and make rounds but they cannot prevent that fires start or are stated. E-was of the opinion that the Pastores who had protested about the restriction of their activity, started the fires above Funchal but Sa. said that their areas are more above S. Antonio, not S. Roque. The burning tires made the situation look very bad, there were also oil tanks wit in the tire storage facility which blew up. Old houses with damaged roofs are in special danger from flying sparks.

Sa. said that in these situations, people call for more firemen and equipment, but this would not help, he is in favor of prevention.  1 fire spot can cause 85 other fires in 1 hour so vigilance is essential. The firemen in Funchal work well together, and even when they are out for a coffee and see a fire at any time, they are proactive and send someone up there to investigate. This approach is not shared by other fire brigades outside of Funchal.  He is also in favor of shared fire ponds in the communities. The communities have to come together for this.

Eucalyptus is a bad tree and should be eliminated. The disadvantage with this tree is that, even after a fire, the wood can still be used by the pulp factories to produce paper so the Paper Lobby has no problem with burning Eucalyptus forests.

Forest management is also very bad on the mainland. Gr. said that the north of Portugal is covered in Eucalyptus. After a fire, reforestation would be the ideal tool to prevent future fires but this not promoted by the Government. It was not done around S. Bras when D & S had to abandon their house twice because of the fire danger.

Sa. said that 75% of the land is in private hands, the owners are responsible for clearing out the forests. They often cannot be identified as the land registry is weak so the Government cannot apply fines for neglect.

The population used to go into the forests for firewood, nowadays, this is not needed anymore – it’s probably forbidden – this is another point why forest fires are increasing. It is even difficult now to find personnel to clean out forests; the job is not interesting and pays too little.

In the mainland there is a Fire Mafia. Government owned planes and helicopters are mysteriously out of order with maintenance problems and the Government has to hire private equipment at a high cost for fire fighting – good business for certain companies.

Sa. also said that tests with helicopters must be done in Madeira in the summer, not in winter when realistic conditions do not exist. Then we could see if fire fighting could be done on the island fir helicopters (with sweet water) or not.

Sa. said that the Proteccao Civil takes charge in such situation and they mess it up for publicity stunts, saying that everything is under control when it isn’t.

In regards to the funds for the people and companies affected by the Fire (V.) the Government should come through with decisions and hopefully , funds by mid-November

The Bread Project:

E. discovered that he can obtain the NAKU bread bags from a known shop for free, they receive plenty from a supplier. He is still looking for a place to bake his bread. He has a certain place in mind but if it doesn’t work, he is willing to invest to get a bakery for himself – no risk – no gain. An-  could get him a contact to a specific  Hotel group, maybe he could also bake there at night

He brought us a delicious sample of bread – mmh!

The  Escola staff needs to get back to us to start working on their Blog and fundraising efforts. Ma. said that she would have more time as of mid-October.

 

83 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 17.9.2016

September 18, 2016 at 11:11 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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The Bread Project:

V gave E. a “plastic” bag, to store bread and keep it fresh. The bag, produced in Austria, is not made with oil but of plant material, and decomposes easily; it can be re-used several times. The bag can be printed on. The producer is www.naku.at.We discussed the  logo and design for linen bags for sale along with the bread.

We also spoke about the support we want to give the Escola de S..

We shall propose to their Team to create a blog for them, based on the text that we developed after the July meeting with them. U is going to send the approved content to Do. to look at. E.has photos; we need those for a blog. U will ask Ma. for their bank details so we can perhaps also add a PayPal donation button.

We also spoke about fundraising and how to go about it

Do. said the most important issue for fundraising is to answer the questions on what the project is and what they need. The fundraisers also need to propose adequate gifts as thank you for the donations received, e.g.

  • a postcard with children’s paintings for a donation of 5€,
  • for 10€ a donor would get a mug,
  • and for 25€ he would get a yearbook,
  • for higher amounts he would receive a mention of his name as sponsor on a (movable) plaque in the school.

An ongoing fundraising effort would be better that an occasional action, with the receipt of money from time to time.

“Teaching” support

There we have many options. S.used to go to her children’s school and read a poem which would inspire the children to make a drawing/painting about the topic, S. then gave assisted them in this. Such visits can lead to the composition of a yearbook, also as Thank You to donors.

Rui A.could do physics experiments with them, and so on…

Additional info.

Open letter from a Danish Newspaper to Mark Zuckerberg: http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/kommentar/Dear-Mark-I-am-writing-this-to-inform-you-that-I-shall-not-comply-with-your-requirement-to-remove-this-picture-604156b.html

We have a recycling shop behind the Forum, “Mundo Sustentavel”, They accept used goods for household, decoration & more and resell them; the proceeds are split between the seller and the shop: Tel 291619768,  info@mundo-sustentavel.com

Frente Mar has some shops out for public tender for rent in/near the Lido Swimming pools, several artists are working there.

The list of 10 vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Funchal :

http://frommadeiratomars.com/pt/10-vegetarian-friendly-restaurants-in-madeira/

D & S like “Olive” in Oudinot best, the restaurant needs business so we should all go there and recommend it.

Also very good: “Tipografia” in the Castanheiro Boutique Hotel. “Mania de Cozinha” in S. Pedro is closed due to fire damage.

Our next meeting will be in mid-October,

82 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 13.7.2016

July 17, 2016 at 11:38 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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Visit to the “Escola da Semente”

The Escola is run by “Germinar – Associação sem fins lucrativos”

The Escola is based on the fact that Portugal allowed home schooling in the 1970’s The Secretary of Education is aware of the project and endorsed the project.

There are several projects like this in the country, and the Escola is well-linked with these other projects. There is a good information exchange under the umbrella of “Rede da Educação Viva”(http://www.educacaoviva.pt/) This national Network is proposing changes to the Government to adapt the regular education system to this form of learning,

Teachers in the “regular” system are also unhappy about the work they have to do. They can use the options of “Ilha Verde” (http://pt.blastingnews.com/madeira/2015/03/ilha-verde-educacao-em-liberdade-celebra-um-ano-fantastico-00307129.html ), an initiative which provides training for teachers for alternative education (promover a educação holística, transformadora e integral).

The Escola It is based on the initiative of parents (formerly a “Grupo de Walldorf”) who created the association (also to deal with the Secretária de Educação). The parents are responsible for the education, they cannot abdicate this responsibility to the Tutors. The parents provide the organic food or ingredients and have to do the cleaning. Every two weeks, the whole group has meetings to inform and keep things on course.

The Escola is situated in  Funchal. They have there a good sized garden and a house with resting room, “school” room (with  blackboard painted on the wall) and kitchen, also some animals and a herb garden.

At this time, the Escola accommodates 9 children aged 5 – 10. They always have two adults there, so the ratio is 1:4

It started as ATL (Activities after school) ; the two children who came from a public school were confused in the beginning, now they have adapted well to their new freedom.

The Escola opens around 8,45h and is available until around 18,30h

The school was open all year last year but this year, the Tutors will take holidays in August.

They have many outings, such as theatre visits and excursions, to expose the children to the “real world”.

The activities depend on the persons who are available. The Potter teaches the children to work with natural materials, singers might come by and painters, to teach the children what they are interested in. The parents are heavily involved in the Escola, they have two Tutors. Cr.is partly being paid be the Secretária de Educação. The Escola’s income (school fees and donations) and costs are transparent to the participants, they are published in an Excel sheet so all parents can at any time who pays what and how the money is being spent.  The Tutors are organizing “festas” to obtain funds.

The project exists since one year.

The daily life:

Free play, then storytelling, singing, working in the herb garden, tending the animals, yoga, work with materials, depending on who comes in to teach a craft. By the by, the children learn math, physics and chemistry, also Portuguese. The children are not exposed to new technologies in the Escola, they (may) get this art home.

 

What is needed:

  • More openness connection into the community
  • Fundraising
  • More have more children and parents
  • Donations of money and natural materials
  • Crowdfunding or other sources of income to pay the teachers, food and materials
  • Mission statement
  • Website/Blog

 

81 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 18.6.2016

June 22, 2016 at 9:15 am | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We had a very animated and interesting evening;

ECO House:

E.explained to us his water recycling system – a wetland filtration system which is almost finished. His house is now an ECO house, with almost all water being recycled in a trench (15m long, 70cm deep) in front of the house, filled with several layers of different materials (broken tiles, ceramic, coal, sand, and ceramics and mulch on the top) to filter out any residues. As last step, wetland plants, such a papyrus, will be planted on the trench.

He has a pond with a capacity of 12.000 l water, and he’ll have an additional tank with 20.000 l, for irrigation and as emergency reservoirs in case of fire. Next time there is a fire near his house, he’ll have plenty of water to defend it (he needs a conventional diesel generator in case of power failure).

The system uses two solar powered pumps during the day and one magnetic induction pump during the night, to pump the water up to a cascade behind the house. The pumps also oxygenate the water so that fish can be added to the cascade.  The fish will be eating any larvae so that the system does not breed mosquitoes.

 

Updates:

U spoke briefly about Madeira Lovers, D’s souvenir shop, he has problems finding a good shop and making enough money (he has our Beach Basked prototype) He had to give up the shop in the airport because the Vinci group only wants their own shops.
E.is not in contact with A.A.  anymore. He and his buddy S.M. asked him for assistance with Hub projects in the port (creating competition between the transport operators), as he had worked in such projects in Brazil. He worked on it but they won’t go through with it because it would obviously damage special interests (read: Sousa).

The Bread Project and the Supper Club are still on the table. R. already shot part of the film with E. for the Bread Project

R’s film is almost finished, he needs some more financing, he hopes to have it ready in December. We are all looking forward to seeing it!

We spoke about the Praia Formosa debacle. Apparently the owners of the parking lot wanted to build a hotel but they wouldn’t get a license because the land is less that 50 m from the sea, so it’s public domain and building is prohibited: This is why the owners blocked the parking from being used – a typical Madeiran situation.

There was a good TED talk about civil disobedience, and here is a link to e website which lists 198 ways of Civil Disobedience:

http://blog.oup.com/2011/10/nonviolent-action/

New project:

We spoke about the fact that Madeirans a have no protest culture. They are educated to adhere to the mottos ”Don’t make waves” and “Don’t think”.  A free thinker is a trouble maker.

We also spoke about the groups purpose and came up with a new idea of a  “Life School” or “Discovery Club” (avoiding the word “school”, an example is at http://www.spps.org/Domain/10133 ) for youngsters as of the age of 14 – 16

Many of our members are or were teachers and R. is very interested in this as well. After a heated discussion, we decided we could start a project for youngsters who have fulfilled their compulsory school time, to learn in a “Discovery Club” about the joy of experiencing and learning first-hand instead of being indoctrinated with knowledge. They should also be encouraged to tackle their question of their purpose in life. R. says that they should be able to come to a reasonable answer to this quest within a few months.

Basically, it’s “Forget the system” (this also goes for politics and the Government), and set up a new way of dealing with an issue. This would be disruptive.

Examples of “parallel” or disruptive industries which are so new that they cannot be suppressed by the system are: Uber, Supper Clubs, “My Twin Place” home swaps for holidays (https://www.mytwinplace.com/en/ ). All these new industries are at the start unregulated, without insurance and taxation and start parallel to old systems.

Traditional schools kill curiosity, indoctrinate, and any knowledge acquired through memorizing is not remembered. Knowledge is forced on the children. It is also a matter of respect to let a child find out what it wants to learn, not to be forced, a natural interest in learning is always there  Every human being is unique.

Well known examples of alternative learning are Waldorf (well know in Finland, this country has more free thinkers), Summerhill, Rudolf Steiner and Home schooling. D. told us about the 180  change in their daughter when she came to a Waldorf school. D.himself went to France for a year, and, as a foreigner, was left alone to learn what he wanted to learn. He was very happy with it, and it turned out to be great for him .

 

There is a film called “The forbidden education” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByO41gE3dPQ, in Spanish) about this, everybody should see this film!

To come to grips with this, U.found a comprehensive definition of this concept  in Wikipedia  under “unschooling”  and there is a book “Teach your own” which deals with home schooling.

A.has an “Escola de Semente”  for younger children, organized by their parents, in his Quinta. He is out until next week, then U will ask him about it.

The Discovery Club will let the children find out what they want to be, what they want to discover. This way, they’ll integrate this knowledge for life. Give them tools to show them possibilities. Let them experiment with nature’s materials. Own experience leads to better understanding. The Club gives out no diplomas

80 Madeira Consorcio Meeting 27.5. 2016

May 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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We visited the Meteorological Station in Rua da Lazareto, it was very informative, and we had a lot of questions in regards to Feb 2010.

The Station (www.ipma.pt ) is run by the state as part of a national and international network. The observer Luisa gave us a professional tour; she does this with many groups.

Madeira has 118 stations, including one in P.Santo (but none on the Desertas or the Selvagens, too close). Most of them are running automatically and have to be maintained scrupulously. The one in Rua do Lazareto, active since 1947, is automatic and “manual”, as the observers take measures which cannot be delivered by mechanic devices (they have a scheme how to identify different forms of clouds). The Station has two observers and two meteorologists.

The team has to be one of the rare groups in Portugal which has to be punctual at work, the have to take several measurements at precise times each day.

Luisa then showed us the PCs which monitor the measurements of all 18 stations at any time, and the details they can obtain from each station. She then showed us all instruments to measure, temperature, humidity, air pressure etc in the house: very delicate instruments which were cleverly designed long time ago. She also showed us some measures outside (until we were chased inside by a shower).  One of them works with horse’s hair to measure humidity. They also take wind speed and the temperature in the soil in 50 cm and 1 m depth – no frost here, Sir.

The Station in Funchal (as in Azores and in Canarias, and some platforms on sea) releases a helium balloon every day at precisely 12 noon, with small instruments to measure the same data on the top level of the atmosphere (around 31.000 km). The balloons need around 1.5 hours to get there, then they burst and fall back to earth or into the sea (with batteries inside, but solar would not be powerful enough to transmit the radio signals back to the station). The container is equipped with a small parachute as not to hit somebody in the head, and sometimes people who find such a container, return them to the Station.

The Cupola above the station is not a planetarium but covers the old antenna which used to receive the balloon signals; now they us e smaller, more modern one.

The Station also measures seismic shocks with magnitude and epicenter – not much going on here but it is so sensitive that it registers heavy lorries driving nearby. Madeira has 2 -3 seismic shocks per year, the Azores have around one per day. The paper rolls written by the seismograph are sent to Lisbon for the archive.

All measurements are automatically sent to Lisbon where the national weather forecasts are drawn up. Lisbon also has access to satellite data. Lisbon then sends a 10-day forecast to the Civil Protection, the Capitanias and the Government for Fisheries and Agriculture, also to “Frente Mar” for the safety on the beaches.

Dra J., one of the meteorologists, joined us then, and we spoke about Feb 2010. U. supplied the data and email received by an American scientist about the incident – this was what they call an atmospheric river storm.

Madeira is supposed to have its own weather radar since long time, now it looks as if we’ll get it in 2016/2017; it will be installed in P. Santo. This would give the Station a better way to identify heavy loads of water arriving in the oncoming clouds.

Dra. J.said that the respective authorities were duly warned (“vermelho”)  but as we know from the Bombeiro visit, these guys knew what was coming from their own weather station in Monte.

Anyway, the warning was given and it would be up to the Civil Protection to amplify the warning to the population, by radio, TV or SMS; this is a political matter. Dra. J. said that, after Feb 2010 we had another atmospheric river hitting the Island, but at that time, Funchal received a lot of rain quickly, while the other half of the water arrived in Pico Areeiro and rained off at a much slower rate. This is why this situation, although also “vermelho”, didn’t cause any harm.

Feb 2010 was a lot of bad luck, and the population as a short memory when it comes to disasters. 

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