Governments are trivializing young people’s concerns about the climate crisis 

Next Wednesday – on the 27th of September –  32 countries are being taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg by six Portuguese youngsters. They will argue that the nations’ policies to tackle global heating are inadequate and in breach of their human rights obligations.

After another summer in which wildfires raged across the Mediterranean, the young people will plead that the government’s failure to act quickly enough to reduce emissions is in violation of their human rights. It is the biggest climate case yet taken across the globe, unprecedented in its scale and consequence.

Lawyers of the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) – representing the six young people taking the legal action – are to present evidence that the current policies of the 32 countries mean the world is on track to reach a catastrophic 3 degrees of global heating within their lifetimes.

A senior lawyer of GLAN said the action was being taken against the 32 nations in Europe because they all contributed to the climate crisis. ‘These young people face a future of unbearable heat; the IPCC report describes these conditions as unliveable,’ he declared. ‘Yet these governments are trivializing their claims’. The Portuguese government, for example, stated that the claim consisted only of ‘future fears, constituting only mere assumptions or general probabilities.’

Aged from 11 to 24, the Portuguese youngsters – who began their action six years ago – say they were driven to act by their experiences in one of the most destructive and deadliest wildfires in the country’s history that ripped through the Leiria region in 2017, killing 66 people and destroying about 20,000 hectares of forest.

‘The thing that scares me most is that it has all got worse since the fires in 2017,’ one of the claimants said.
‘We have had record-breaking heatwaves since then but European governments are choosing not to take their part.’

Crowdfunded ( by people around the world who have donated more than £100,000, the six youngsters are seeking a binding ruling from the 17 judges to force the countries to rapidly escalate their emission reductions.
The countries named in action are the 27 members of the EU as well as Norway, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

A victory would be groundbreaking as the decisions of the court are binding across Europe.

Enjoy the heat                       Aproveite o calor          (Pic Público/Sapo)

Most Portuguese pilgrims depart from Porto

The pilgrimage to the north-western city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia is world-famous. It is believed that the remains of Saint James the Apostle are buried there.

St. James the Great was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and the first to be martyred. He preached the gospel in Hispania but returned to Judea upon seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary on the bank of the Ebro river. He is the patron saint of Spain.

St. James was called the Great because of his length rather than his importance. He was the brother of John the Apostle. It is said that James and John asked Jesus to grant them seats on his right and left in his glory. Jesus rebuked them by saying the honour was not even for him to grant.

King Herod had St. James beheaded ( AD 44, Jerusalem, Roman Empire) and his remains were later transferred to the place where nowadays the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral stands.

The traditional pilgrimage to the grave of the saint – also known as the Way of St. James – has been the most popular pilgrimage for Western European Catholics from the Early Middle Ages onwards. Rembrandt depicted the saint as a pilgrim in 1661. The feast of St. James is celebrated on July 25, Galicia’s national day.

The most famous starting point is in France.
Caminho Português (the Portuguese Way) is the second-most popular route, starting in Lisbon (about 610 km) or Porto (about 230 km) and passing through characteristic cities and beautiful vineyards.

While starting in Lisbon, pilgrims will walk through Santarém – a medieval town full of Gothic architecture – and Coimbra – holding one of the oldest universities in the world.

From Porto, the route will go through the Vinho Verde vineyards in the Minho region, the city of Barcelos – famous for its Portuguese rooster (Galo de Barcelo) and other pottery items – and cross the Lima river with its ancient Roman bridge.

Porto is the second city from which most pilgrims depart (over 40,000 last year) – after Sarria in Galicia, the most popular town on the French Way – according to statistics from the Cathedral’s Pilgrim Welcome Center.

Pilgrims should make the caminho with their Credential (pilgrims passport) that serves as a record and is stamped by certified people on the way. It entitles to the certificate of completion (Compostelais entitled), that is issued by the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

To be eligible for the Compostela, pilgrims must have completed at least 100 km by foot, or 200 km on horseback or bicycle.

Enjoy your week          Approveite a semana            (pic Ptnews/Wikepedia)