New gardens, new festivals, a hydrogen station for urban supply, a variety of conferences and even an app that identifies more than 40 thousand specimens of trees are some of the novelties of Lisboa Capital Verde 2020, in this programme adapted to the new reality of Covid-19.
Created by the UN in 1974, World Environment Day aims to raise awareness and sensitivity of the world population to the importance of the environment, as well as its preservation. Despite the international celebrations this year being in Colombia, Lisbon did not forget the day and presented the new agenda of Lisbon European Green Capital 2020. With the beauty of the Estufa Fria serving as a backdrop, the new agenda was readjusted to fit in with this new reality that, in January, was unthinkable. Despite all the setbacks, all the changes, all the cancellations, Lisbon has not given up – it is still the European Green Capital 2020, the first capital in southern Europe, and all the planned programming has been rethought, focusing on measures and events that show that now, more than ever, we need to take better care of this little blue planet!
The new initiatives were presented by the Councillor for the Environment, José Sá Fernandes, and focus on five main pillars: To Inform, Participate, Value, Debate and Involve.
“Informing is what we have committed ourselves to in the past and we continue to commit to.”
Within the information we highlight the “Lisboa Guia Informa” collection, full of guides that will be available from September and will be distributed to schools, in order to inform the youngest about Lisbon’s biodiversity, the need to preserve our resources, such as water or energy, or good sustainable practices.
“We will have the largest collection of botany in Portugal ever made in seven volumes,” is how the Collection on Botany of Portugal is described, another of the elements to be highlighted.
The new “Lisboa 24” app, which is already available for download, allows access to real-time information about the city. The availability of car parks or the GIRA network, important notices to the population, traffic conditions, interventions in the trees or a catalogue that, until the end of the year, will have more than 40 thousand trees inventoried are some of the things that we can consult in the application.
“Beyond information it was very important for us to get involved and try to find ways for people to participate”.
One of the ways this could be done is through the contests already launched or to be launched. Highlights include “A Thousand Birds”, whose end result will be possible to visit in the Estufa Fria from September; the Eco-Videos, that will also be received in the Estufa Fria in the same month; the Lisboa Soa 2020, and the SNBA photography and illustration awards.
On top of that, the planting of trees was not forgotten: “We started the Green Capital with 20 thousand trees, but now, when the time comes, in October, in November, and in December, we have to plant many trees, mainly to honor all those who died, suffered, worked, those who resisted. It is for these, and for all of us, that we have to plant more trees still in this year.”
“What a wonder will happen in the city of Lisbon when these three places open. Suddenly we will have another city”.
That was how the Councilman referred to the construction happening in Praça de Espanha, Vale de Alcântara and the Navy, in front of Terreiro do Paço.
The works that were in project were not forgotten, with room for smaller constructions like Quinta das Flores, or larger constructions like the bridge of Avenida Gago Coutinho, for example.
Also of note are the works that are in final design, such as the completion of the Green Plan by architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles: Vale da Montanha II and Vale do Forno.
“These are more territories that already existed and that we are going to open to the population. Some of them are ours, others belong to others, what matters is that they are all in Lisbon”.
Thus were presented the “new” gardens to be unveiled, which today are no longer a surprise. The Councilman highlighted the garden of Quinta da Alfarrobeira, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, on Avenida João XXI and EPAL, near Amoreiras. The first one to lead these exciting surprises will be the garden of the National Library, on June 18th.
The opening of these gardens lasts until 2021:
- Jardim da Biblioteca Nacional – June 18
- Jardim da Caixa Geral de Depósitos on Av. João XXI
- Jardim / Parque do Monte das Perdizes, Monsanto
- Jardim / Viveiro da Quinta da Pimenteira, Monsanto Jardim da Casa do Arco – Epal
- Jardim da Quinta da Alfarrobeira
- Jardim do Arquivo Ultramarino (2021)
- Jardim do Palácio da Independência (2021)
- Jardim da Água (LIS-WATER) – LNEC (2021)
- Jardim da Quinta do Bensaúde – Urban Park Expansion (2021)
- Jardim Gama Pinto (2021)
- Jardim Gulbenkian – Expansion (2021)
Another novelty is the creation of the first cork playgrounds, made from Portuguese raw materials, thus enhancing the value of what is national.
“The most important thing is the commitment”
Commitment is something of extreme importance for the Green Capital, so much so that the commitments signed by the companies regarding the Lisbon 2030 Climate Action were materialized in a mural on Avenida Calouste Gulbenkian.
The commitment to the city has not been forgotten and in the energy axis there are two major innovations: the creation of a hydrogen station in Carnide, “the first hydrogen station to supply (electric) vehicles” and the “Shore-to-ship” measure, which provides power for the cruise ships mooring in Lisbon, which means that from 2022 cruise ships will no longer be able to use diesel when they dock in the capital.
In turn, in the axis of water, Lisbon will once again have water from the spring to wash the streets, strengthening the work already done with reused water.
When it comes to culture, conferences, exhibitions and festivals will continue.
“We’re going to have conferences, obviously less than we thought. We will have several events, less than we thought, but we will continue with the projects, we will continue with the initiatives, and we will try to inform the citizens in the best possible way” said the Councillor.
Despite the regret that the “three major conferences” will no longer be held (referring to the UN Oceans Conference, the European Union transport conference and Urban Future), Sá Fernandes argued that Lisbon “loses on this, but wins in other things”. Two examples are the Quality of Life in the City: Public Health, Air Pollution Conferece, held at Culturgest on Nov. 3, and the “Planetiers World Gathering”, considered “the world’s largest event of sustainable innovation”, rescheduled for Oct. 21-24.
The Academy of Sciences will once again open its doors to various conferences, such as Sustainable Fashion Business, a conversation about sustainability in the fashion world.
October will be the key month for official European Commission events, receiving the European Capital Awards on the 7th and 8th and the opening of Green Week on the 19th.
Many of the exhibitions scheduled have undergone changes in dates, such as:
- Os 500 desenhos da Silva Porto, SNBA Collection – running until July 15th;
- O Mar é a Nossa Terra, CCB – March 10 until January 17 2021;
- Portugal’s Historic Gardens – Memory and Future (BNP) – June 18, 2020 to March 21, 2021;
- João da Silva: the legacy and crisis of 1952, SNBA – 28 July to 26 September 2020;
- Lixo Luxo (MUDE) – September 10 2020 to 31 January 2021;
- Lisboa Green Capital: Illustration Award – October 8 to November 7;
- Growing: the Gardens in the City of Lisbon (Lisbon Museum / Pimenta Palace) – 22 October 2020 to 19 September 2021;
- Lisboa Green Capital: Photography Award- 19 November to 31 December;
- Lisboa Green Capital: SNBA’s Members’ Hall – 18 December 2020 to 16 January 2021
“We, who have learned to listen to the city, are going to have a great sound festival”
This was how Lisbon SOA was presented, rescheduled for September 24-27. The Sustainability Festival on October 25 and 25 will also take place, as will the Imminent Festival and now, more immediately, the Open Gardens Festival, on the weekends of July 18-19 and 25-26.
“Lisbon will emerge from this pandemic as a truly Green Capital. Green Capital not only of 2020, but Green Capital period. A capital that wants and will be green! A capital that will put health on top! A capital that will put sustainability at the top! A capital that will take the measures and initiatives and that will mobilize everyone for this commitment!” Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon, ended this new relaunch of the Lisbon Green Capital 2020 agenda with a message of hope and commitment to this city of ours.