By Sophie Sadler
Until March last year, Pedro Glória was making a bang with his drum kit.
Now he looks set to make a lot of noise with an exciting new invention
that could revolutionise water usage in our home.
By Sophie Sadler
Until March last year, Pedro Glória was making a bang with his drum kit. Now he looks set to make a lot of noise with an exciting new invention that could revolutionise water usage in our home.
Pedro has just won the Green Up award, launched by Turismo de Portugal to encourage sustainable tourism. While I am excited to learn more about his invention, it is the man himself – and his vision for the future – who really impresses me.
Pedro left school at 18 and became a professional musician, playing the drums in bands. To make ends meet, he worked for some years as a kitchen fitter, then an accountant, before becoming a music manager for other acts, including cover bands. As a musician, he was used to quiet periods in the winter with few gigs or bookings; instead of being idle, Pedro decided to educate himself in topics he was interested in.
“I like to learn different things,” he tells me. “The downtime in winter allowed me to think and investigate. Since I was a young kid, I loved documentaries, especially about the history of humanity.”
Pedro delved into subjects such as quantum physics, astrophysics and ecology. Initially, he searched online through videos and documentaries, then later enrolled for online courses. All the time he was learning more about ecology and hydrology, from universities as far afield as Australia and Brazil. The turning point when he put theory into practice came when he was invited by a friend to Tamera, a ´peace research and education centre´ near Odemira, which ignited his interest in permaculture.
During his studies, Pedro had come across Jacque Fresco, an American futurist and self-professed social engineer. Fresco wrote and lectured about sustainable cities, energy efficiency, natural resource management, cybernetic technology, automation, and the role of science in society.
“Fresco’s teachings taught me how to work with nature, not against it, in a homogenous way, using natural resources to move forward. I started to join the dots of all the different ‘ologies’ I had studied and to think and observe in order to make progress in society.”
Around this time, Pedro was observing the effects of water shortages in the Algarve and was concerned by the 2019 drought. He enrolled on two workshops on sustainable construction, being particularly inspired by the work of Michael Reynolds and his ‘earth ship’ analogy. The American architect is a proponent of ‘radically sustainable living’ and has long been a critic of the profession of architecture for its adherence to conventional theory and practice. Reynolds advocates 100% sustainable construction, which collects and reuses water.
After completing a workshop in ecosystem regeneration in Vale de Lama, the seeds were sown for what Pedro describes as "a project looking to make a technological upgrade to water consumption". He started on his first sketches.
When the pandemic hit the world and Pedro´s work as a musician came to an abrupt halt, he focused 100% on his project. His ingenious idea addresses the problem that clean water is used to flush toilets. “Around 30% of an average household’s water consumption is used for flushing the loo,” Pedro explains. “It breaks my heart that around one third of the world’s population does not have access to clean water and sanitation yet, here in the west, we literally flush drinkable water down the toilet. In Portugal alone, 200 million litres of water per day go straight down to the sewer.”