Luis (29), Azores
Interview conducted in Horta, Faial island, Azores
Overlooking Praia Prim in Horta is an old fort with a ramp going down to a rare Azorean beach where locals swim. There area in front of the fort has tables and chairs where people enjoy coffee and sweets from a nearby cafe. A set of narrow stone stair rises to the top of the fort, partially blocked by a battered door. I learned from Luis, a native of Horta, that it was his first time to the top of the fort. The door was broken by hurricane Lorenzo and had not yet been fixed. His word follow.
What is your favorite part of living in Faial?
You have time to enjoy your life here. You can go home for lunch or spend an hour with your friends at the coffee shop. You know they say time is money right?
What is your least favorite part of living in Faial?
It can be a bit isolated, especially after living in the city. I went to dental school on the mainland in Porto. I miss being able to go to the cinema and big concerts.
Do you see the changes in the natural world where you live?
Yes, absolutely. We do not feel it much since we are used to bad weather here. However, It is becoming much more tropical. For example you can grow mangoes and avocados here now. You could not do that when I was a kid.
Do you think these changes are from man’s activities?
Yes, man is playing a role.
How are these changes impacting Faial?
Soon we may only have one season. They are all starting to look alike. After the hurricane many bees were displaced. At the little cafe down there they were buzzing everywhere. Bees are an important part of the ecosystem. This year autumn has had more sunny days than June. Both of these things could make it difficult for farmers.
Can you give me an example of something you are doing to reduce your impact on the planet?
My friends and I spend time picking up beaches. This summer I found about 7 or 8 new looking shoes. Nike’s and Adidas. They must have fallen off a ship because even though they were covered in barnacles but they were new looking. If you spent time cleaning them up you could almost have used them.
Is there anything you would like to ask or tell me?
You are luck to be here now. They have spent a lot of time cleaning up this beach. Plastic collects here. They have spent a lot of time working on the south shore after the hurricane.
There seems to be a fair amount of people in the Azores who feel they are buffered from climate change. Plastics seems to be a more pressing concern to many on the island of Faial. I respect these viewpoints. These people have much more insight into their world than I could ever hope to. One long term goal is to keep this project going for many years. If I am lucky I will be able to return in 10 or 20 years and compare responses over time. Perhaps the R Hertitage Too and captain Bruce will still be a part of the mission.