É P’ra Amanhã is a project we have wanted to talk about for a while now. The team’s initiative and vision of building a better planet for us all is something we can take great inspiration from. The project which roughly translates in English as ‘It’s for Tomorrow’ is a documentary series focused around sustainability in Portugal. The series piqued our interest and we want to know how such a project came to be.

We sat down with É P’ra Amanhã and asked them to give us all the ins and outs of the project, the team, the challenges and delights they found along the way, what they discovered through their journey and what’s next for them. So without further ado, I’ll hand it over to them.

The Project

É P’ra Amanhã is a team of 6 friends that gathered to do something about the current global climate crisis. The project is a documentary series of 5 episodes about sustainability initiatives in Portugal. The series showcases around 60 inspiring projects that are already having a positive impact on the community. The project premiered in January inside the program Lisbon Green Capital 2020. As an open-source project, it is free to stream online but it was also later broadcasted on television reaching an average of 49,000 viewers per episode. 

The Team

The initial idea came from Luis, he reached out to some of us with a proposal. Some of us didn’t know each other at all but we quickly became like a family and realized that we all took inspiration from the French documentary “Demain” which presents global solutions to the climate issue. This documentary wasn’t your average doom and gloom climate-related series, it introduced positive and encouraging call to actions and we wanted to do the same.

The more we got to talking, the more we realised we had formed the perfect team for achieving our aim:

  • Luís Costa, who has a background in engineering and impact evaluation coordinated the project.
  • Francesco Rocca, the Italian networks and communities mastermind was fundamental in all the evaluation, financial and reporting areas.
  • Pedro Serra, a renowned filmmaker, and experienced with similar themes, gave shape to our common vision through filming and editing all our work.
  • Edgar Rodrigues, our designer, developed our positive identity and website.
  • Teresa Carvalheira with experience in event and campaign management developed our special approach to production.
  • Verónica Silva, our communication expert, helped the project reach further.
The É P’ra Amanhã team

When we first got together locally in our home of Portugal we started to formulate this mindset of highlighting the good practices already taking place. We believe positive communication and leading by example is most definitely more effective and impactful.

Very often people feel trapped between being overwhelmed with the problem and the feeling of lack of solutions – or being just another drop in the ocean. But the truth – proven by this work – is that there are many local small initiatives looking for more support and visibility. The inspiration set by these showcased examples – and others – have proven highly motivational for people to take action – eventually making the first steps and getting together. We believe that strong community bonds will drive the change we need to solve this crisis.

The Challenges and Delights

The main challenge of this project was something that we embraced happily from the beginning: producing this documentary with the least environmental impact possible. In opposition to traditional film production, we designed and scheduled our filming with criteria such as mobility, distance, local resources and team well-being. We made conscious, group decisions, on how to move, what to eat and what to bring. And with our horizontal approach to organizing, we trained all members of the team to perform most of the filming tasks. 

During the filming period, all the movements of the team were recorded (public transport, bicycles and electric vehicles) in order to be included in the accounting for the carbon footprint calculation. The emission accumulated to 932 kg of CO2, which was then offset by GoParity through the investment in renewable energy projects. 

With this aim of minimal environmental impact, we acknowledged the challenges of shared transportation outside of the main urban centres. The interior of Portugal has nearly no offer of collective public transportation, isolating communities, and making our travel extra difficult. We were actually simultaneously very surprised by the resourcefulness of the locals we met, despite all the challenges. In essence, the initiatives we found had a clear impact in their surroundings but were not known sometimes even by the communities around it. It was clear the value of this series, showcasing this impact, and channelling more support of the community could ultimately lead to scaling up or replication of these already existing initiatives.

As mobility was a major challenge, also in our production, we managed to use an electrical vehicle for the most remote routes, without access to public transportation. This required much more planning and adaptation, as we were limited by around 200km each travel. 

Our strategy would be doing smaller breaks and strategically stopping and charging the battery while eating, having meetings, resting or staying overnight. It happened one time that the car was not charged overnight – due to an outdated electrical system in the house of our kind hosts and it meant we would not be able to reach the next film location. Instead, we had to drive to the nearest gas station – where they let us plug into electricity – and spent the day in the station’s café resting and preparing for the next days. 

Another time there was a similar issue with the electric car, we saw that we would not have enough battery to get to the next destination and recharge. Against all odds, we still risked it and played with the driving pattern to recharge the battery. Most electrical cars regenerate when you break, so by carefully adjusting the driving behaviour to break as much as possible and to take advantage of downhills, we regenerated just enough to arrive exactly where we wanted. The electric car became a metaphor for what we have to do as a society: stop accelerating by actually hitting the breaks while regenerating.

Observations

This project generated a lot of interest from the public and media since the very beginning. People in Portugal are looking to implement changes in their lives and social media has helped expand communities of minimalism, zero waste and upcyclers. 

We observed that more and more people are reducing general consumption, including their animal product consumption and use of disposables. We also observed a rise in the use of bicycles for daily activities (but it is also important to note that this scenario changed dramatically with the current pandemic).

Although individual actions can be very empowering, there are some steps missing to expand the impact: getting together with other people doing similar actions and organizing to produce political pressure on issues that are not easy to solved individually: energy production, public transportation, etc…

What’s Next?

Our research and mapping of initiatives in the country point to many other topics of interest: forestry, sea, housing, zero-waste etc… We tried to include these in our series as much as possible in the 6 umbrella topics we selected – Food, Energy and Mobility, Economy, Politics and Education, but there’s definitely material to be explored, for a second season. The team is still focused on promoting the work already done and bringing it to new audiences, for example abroad – we would love to translate our series to other languages!

We are still missing the implementation of an important dimension of our project – due to the pandemic. From the beginning, our project was thought of to be easily accessible and bring people together to take (local) action. Therefore, we have designed the promotion of our series through decentralized and self-proposed screening sessions, where anyone, anywhere could set up an episode screening and a discussion at the end. We hope that such a format of screening can be done in the near future and will boost synergies and collaboration between local communities.

Finally

The documentary series is the main materialization of our findings, but there is more information we want to share with you all! In our website – www.epraamanha.pt – you can find extra content and contacts of the featured initiatives plus suggestions of actions to implement! We also share extra content on our social media platforms – Facebook (@epraamanhadoc) and Instagram (@epraamanha) – such as interviews and initiatives we couldn’t explore in the making of the documentary. And always remember that our episodes are free to stream online – links on our website!

Don't stop here! If you are interested in reading more evironmentalism. You might also like "Envrionmental Refugees: Reality Check!"

Author: Jessica Milsom

Jess is a marketer at SPEAK. She is from England, Shanghai, The Netherlands, Taiwan, and now Portugal. But actually, don’t ask her where she is from, it’s a long story. She is a good listener, an open-minded communicator, and a fruitful debater. And her favourite pastime is watching k-pop music videos with a warm cup of tea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *