Parar o Furo – Stop the Oil Drilling

From 2017–2019, we were part of a campaign of Portuguese environmental activist groups working to cancel all contracts for fossil fuel extraction in Portugal. The campaign proved successful. In 2015, the Portuguese government held 15 oil and gas drilling contracts, both offshore and on land, with various companies. By September 2020, they had all been rescinded or had expired due to popular resistance.

As we campaigned against fossil fuel extractions, our campaign promoted alternatives: Portugal has the best conditions for pioneering the transition away from fossil fuels to a regenerative society.

Aerial Art Action – Cova do Vapor (Almada)

On August 4, 2018, 800 people gathered to use their bodies in a creative action to protest against the planned oil and gas extraction in Aljezur, Portugal, while showcasing alternatives for a regenerative future away from fossil fuels. WATER IS LIFE!

The aerial human image was designed by John Quigley of Spectral Q and filmed by Tamera Media. The images are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial license. Acknowledgment: Tamera Media / Spectral Q. Handout, editorial only, no archiving.

Press Release (EN)

Download the press release in English.

Press Release (PT)

Download the press release in Portuguese.

Our aerial art action was accompanied by an open letter  calling upon Prime Minister António Costa and the Minister for the Environment João Matos Fernandes to stop the drilling and show that Portugal can be a pioneer for energy transition, moving away from fossil fuels towards a just regenerative economy and society.
Read our open letter to the government…

The list of endorsements included the Algarve tourist board (Região Turismo do Algarve) and the Portuguese surfer federation, as well as global voices like Greenpeace International, playwright Eve Ensler and Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians

See the list of endorsements:



This one is added so that the other three all default to closed



Academia Cidadã (Citizenship Academy)

ALA (Coastal Alentejo for the Environment)

Câmara Municipal de Vila Real de Santo António

Campanha Linha Vermelha (Red Line Campaign)



Federação Portuguesa de Surf (Portuguese Surf Federation)

GEOTA (Land Planning & Environment Study Group)

João de Macedo, Portugal Surf Academia

Junta de Freguesia de Vila Nova de Milfontes

Lagos diz não ao furo (Lagos says no to oil drilling)

Marlene Guerreiro, vereadora da Câmara Municipal de São Brás de Alportel

Paddle South Portugal

Plataforma Algarve Livre De Petróleo (Platform for an Algarve free from oil)

Preservar Aljezur (Save Aljezur)

Região Turismo do Algarve (Algarve Tourist Board)

Rota Vicentina

SOS – Salvem o Surf (Save the Surf)

Stop Petróleo Vila do Bispo (Stop Oil Vila do Bispo)


Tavira em Transição (Tavira in Transition)

The Climate Reality Project, Portugal

Tiago Pires, ReAct Sports Management


Amber Valletta, model, actor & activist

Ashlan & Philippe Cousteau, ocean conservationists & TV hosts

Daryl Hannah, actress & activist

Debbie Levin, President & CEO of the Environmental Media Association

Ed Begley, actor & activist

Eve Ensler, playwright, writer, founder of One Billion Rising

Food and Water Europe

Frances Fisher, actor & activist

Global Ecovillage Network

Greenpeace International

Jason Hickel, anthropologist at the London School of Economics

Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, Lakota activist & co-founder of Standing Rock resistance camp, USA

Lori Woodley, founder of All it Takes

Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Right Livelihood Award recipient

Monique Wilson, global coordinator of One Billion Rising

Patch Adams, MD, clown activist, founder of Gesundheit! Institute

Positive TV, UK

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor-in-chief of Tikkun magazine, USA

Rights of Nature, UK

Rising Up! UK

Rob Hopkins, Transition Network

Ruth Andrade, co-founder of Blueprint Alliance & responsible for environmental & organizational development at LUSH

Saad Dagher, agronomist & environmentalist, Palestine

Salim Dara, organic agriculture teacher & founder of Solidarité Rurale, Benin

Shailene Woodley, actor & activist

Shaun Chamberlin, Managing Director of the Fleming Policy Center, UK

/The Rules

Wellington Nogueira, clown activist and founder of Doutores da Alegria, Brazil

Wendie Malick, actress & activist

Winnie Wong, co-founder of “People for Bernie”

Global Meditation for the Protection of Life

We invited all those who weren’t in Portugal but wanted to join in spirit to accompany August 4, 2018 in prayer (alone or in groups). You can read and meditate upon the following words by Sabine Lichtenfels, “Defend the Sacred: Global Meditation for the Protection of Life.”

Aerial Art Action 2017

On August 12 2017, nearly 1000 people from 40 countries formed a large-scale human message on Odeceixe beach to stop plans for offshore oil drilling in Portugal. The action was part of the event: “Defend the Sacred: Envision a Global Alternative” hosted by Tamera, joined by Standing Rock leaders and supported by environmental movements in Portugal. The aerial human image was designed by John Quigley of Spectral Q and the video was produced by Ludwig Schramm and team, from Tamera.

As the oil companies pushed to drill for oil off this coast, we came together to honor that water is life, water is sacred, life is sacred, and that we must defend the sacred. LaDonna Bravebull Allard, initiator of the Sacred Stone camp at Standing Rock said at the event, “I stood up for the water and the world stood with us, so I came here to stand with you. We have no choice, we must stand up for the water and we must stand up now!”

Combining political action with art and prayer, a ceremony for water and fire, we dedicated this act of sacred activism to a regenerative system change from a culture of exploitation to one of cooperation with all that lives.

The aerial art was designed by John Quigley, an American environmental advocate, known around the world for his aerial art activism. See John Quigley’s Biography (PDF) and an article about his work in the London Sunday Times (PDF).

The images are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial license. Acknowledgement: Ludwig Schramm/Karlito Delacasa/Simon du Vinage/Yuval Kovo/Spectral Q. The video is published under the same license – see credits.

Regenerative Society

“We currently possess all the necessary technological solutions and sources of renewable energy to power an ecologically and socially just society.”


In Tamera, we’ve been researching a comprehensive model for the foundations of a regenerative culture. We’ve developed and tested decentralized renewable energy technologies for many years, in our Solar Test Field. Because of our work with Water Retention Landscapes and ecosystem restoration, we’re able to show how to reverse desertification and be water autonomous, even when 80–90% of Portugal is in severe drought.

There are many other people and organizations researching similar issues, working towards a society where everyone can become self-sufficient in water, energy and food and establish housing and sanitation independently from centralized systems.

Get the Facts

  • All the 15 initial concessions for oil and gas exploration in Portugal were canceled between 2015 and 2020 due to widespread resistance of local populations, municipalities and activists.
  • Our “Stop the Drilling” campaign focused on the last 5 contracts: The 3 concessions for offshore deep-sea oil drilling and underwater fracking off the Alentejo and Algarve coast held by Eni and Galp, expired in January 2019, and 2 for gas drilling on land in the Leiria district, held by Australis Oil & Gas, expired in September 2020. In both cases, the companies didn’t seek renewal due to the resistance their plans faced.
  • Portugal has never extracted oil or gas or built nuclear power plants and is known as a haven for green power. Despite the commitment to decarbonize Portugal, different Portuguese governments have pushed fossil fuel extraction as a possibility for national economic self-sufficiency.
  • Portugal produced more renewable energy than it needed in March 2018: 104%.
  • As one of the sunniest countries in Europe, Portugal could rely exclusively on solar energy.
  • Portugal is located on a fault line that is seismically active, especially in certain areas such as the Lower Tagus Valley (LTV), which passes through Lisbon. Oil and gas drilling could trigger earthquakes.


About the Coalition

The extraordinary success of this campaign was possible through a strong, diverse coalition of environmental activists. People power! We were proved right – standing up for defending the sacred is worth it.

Those are some of the co-organizers and supporters of our campaign: