On World Environment Day (5th of June), the winners of the second edition of the VISÃO + Águas de Portugal Green Awards were announced. The ceremony took place at the Alcântara Water Factory in Lisbon.
Miguel Bastos Araújo was honoured with the 2023 Green Award in the Research category. As part of the Além Risco project, which he coordinated, and mobilised thousands of volunteers to plant over 50,000 trees across 14 municipalities in the Alentejo region. The objective? To draw attention to the need for transforming urban spaces to better cope with heatwaves.
An investigator known for his extensive scientific curriculum on biodiversity and climate change, he also places great importance in communicating and transferring knowledge to society. “Knowledge transfer to society takes usually more than 2-3 decades. Given the challenges of climate change, we don’t have time for such knowledge transfer gaps, and scientists need to be more proactive communicating the consequences of their work to society”, he says. Through the recent Além Risco project, he led the planting of over 50,000 trees in 14 Alentejo municipalities to combat the “heat island” effect and reduce temperatures in urban centers. Research in his group has found that more than 6,000 people in the Alentejo region died between 1980 and 2015 due to heat exposure, a problem that threatens to become increasingly serious with the advancing climate change.