Climate Change and the 15-minute city

The latest report on climate change was published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) earlier this month. The full document is almost 3,000 pages long!

The current international debate on climate change is focusing on whether the objectives of the 2015 Paris Climate Summit are achievable. It is clear to all that, without profound and imminent changes in our lifestyles, these objectives will not be achieved.

The clear objective agreed to in Paris is to reduce carbon emissions in order to achieve carbon neutrality soonest. This would ensure that the global mean temperature does not surpass the pre-industrial temperature by more than 1.5ºC. This would in turn tame the climate over time.

As an island, Malta should be at the forefront in the international climate change debate. We will be severely impacted like all other countries. In fact, we are already at the receiving end of the impact of extreme weather conditions at an increased frequency. Long periods of drought are more frequent. Likewise, we have experienced more than a fair share of floods, which have caused considerable damage all over the islands.

As islands, sea-level rise will add to our problems in Malta and Gozo in a manner which is dependent on the rate at which this will take place. A substantial part of our essential infrastructure lies along our coast. This will potentially be severely impacted as a result of a sea-level rise. Just think about the impacts on the tourism infrastructure, for example.

One of the ideas doing the rounds in the climate change debate is to rethink the way we plan our cities as one way in which to combat the climate crisis. The idea crystallised as ‘the 15-minute city’ by Carlos Moreno, an architect advising the Paris mayor, entails turning current urban planning on its head to ensure that all our needs are available not more than 15 minutes away.

Moreno speaks of a social circularity for living in our urban spaces based on six essential functions: to live in good housing, to work close by, to reach supplies and services easily, to access education, healthcare and cultural entitlement locally by low-carbon means.

Can we reassess the nature and quality of our urban lifestyles within these parameters?

COVID-19 has given most of us a taste of remote working. In a limited way, this could become a permanent feature of our urban lifestyles. Some of us need not travel to work every day. With proper planning, remote working could reduce a substantial number of cars from our roads permanently and, consequently, the associated carbon emissions.

In the Maltese islands, distance should not be an issue: almost everywhere is within easy reach. Our National Transport Master Plan, in fact, advises us that 50 per cent of trips carried out by our private vehicles are for short distances, having a duration of less than 15 minutes. Achieving 15-minute cities should not be that difficult if we put our heads together to address it.

Our contribution to climate change mitigation, as a result of which we can accelerate our path to carbon neutrality, could be achieved through a substantial reduction of cars from our roads. We can achieve this without impacting our mobility. Through a judicious use of public transport and the facilitation of other sustainable mobility options, our mobility can be substantially improved as a result.

Come October, all public transport will be free. Hopefully, it will also be reliable and efficient. If adequately planned, this could be a turning point in climate change mitigation measures as, over a period of time, it can lead to a reduction of cars from our roads. Initially, such a reduction would necessarily be of a temporary nature. Eventually, we can move towards a permanent change.

Real change takes time to achieve.

Giving shape and form to 15-minute cities could be the next realistic challenge in our climate mitigation road map. All that is required is the political will.

published in The Times of Malta: 21 April 2022

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (38) working conditions

working carrots

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 12 of AD’s Electoral Manifest

The Government and the Social Partners should show more determination in their fight against precarious employment. This type of work is on the increase among different categories of workers with different skills, experience and qualifications, such as with the increase of definite contract work as well as with the increase of workers registered as self-employed but who would be selling their services to one contractor such as the Government or the owner of a business. The Government should ensure that its contracts are not based on precarious employment.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 12 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Il-Gvern u l-imsieħba soċjali għandhom juru aktar determinazzjoni fil-ġlieda kontra l-pjaga tax-xogħol prekarju. Dan it-tip ta’ xogħol qiegħed jiżdied fost kategoriji differenti ta’ ħaddiema b’ħiliet, esperjenzi u kwalifiċi differenti, ngħidu aħna biż-żieda ta’ xogħol b’kuntratt definit kif ukoll iż-żieda ta’ ħaddiema rreġistrati bħala self-employed li jkunu qed ibigħu x-xogħol tagħhom lil kuntrattur wieħed bħall-Gvern jew sid ta’ negozju. Il-Gvern ghandu jiżgura li l-kuntratti li joħroġu ma jkunux ibbażati fuq xogħol prekarju.

Is-Sur Anġ mhux ta’ subgħajh f’ħalqu

Kemm inħolqu impiegi?  Kemm żdiedu l-impiegi?

Bħalissa, u għal dawn l-aħħar ġimgħat ilna nisimgħu verżjonijiet differenti dwar x’ġara. Veru li inħolqu 20,000 impieg? Hekk qed jgħid il-Gvern. Imma l-Opposizzjoni qed tgħid li l-Gvern qed jigdeb.

Issa Anġlu Farrugia qed jgħid li anke’ Tonio Fenech jaqbel miegħu għax id-dokument ta’qabel il-budget, skond is-Sur Anġ, jikkonferma dak li qed jgħid il-Labour.

Fil-pre-budget dokument, fit-Tabella 1.1 li qegħda fuq paġna 4 sibt li t-total tan-nies jaħdmu fl-2008 kien ta’ 145,518 u dawn żdiedu għal 149,764 fl-2011. Jiġifieri f’dan il-perjodu bejn l-2008 u l-2011 it-total ta’ Maltin jaħdmu żdied b’4,246 (erbat elef, mitejn u sitta u erbgħin).

Fl-istess perjodu, skond l-istess dokument ta’ qabel il-budget,  dawk jirreġistraw għax-xogħol żdied in-numru tagħhom b’233 (mitejn u tlieta u tletin).

Issa jiena dawn iċ-ċifri ma nafx kif qed jingħad li jgiddbu d-dikjarazzjoni tal-Prim Ministru li inholqu 20,000 impieg.  Għax jekk żdiedu fl-impieg 4,246 persuna meta inħolqu 20,000 ifisser li matul l-istess perjodu intilfu 15,754 impieg. Din hi l-vera figura allarmanti! Bħalma huwa inkwetanti li l-kwalita’ tax-xogħol li inħoloq f’ħafna każi huwa inferjuri għax-xogħol li intilef.

Issa jiena forsi ma nafx naqra daqs is-Sur Anġ, imma s-somom għadni naf nagħmilhom.

Issa s-Sur Anġ mhux ta’ subgħajh f’ħalqu u forsi xi ftit jaf jaqra ukoll. Imma naħseb li jkun iktar kredibbli kienu jgħid il-fatti kif inhuma mingħajr ma jipprova jagħtihom il-kulur.

Lidl, the Big Brother supermarket, is watching you

The Lidl Scandal

From The Times (London)

March 27, 2008

by Roger Boyes in Berlin

The Stasi secret police may have died with communism but its surveillance methods are still alive at Lidl, the German supermarket chain.

George Orwell’s Big Brother, it seems, stalks the aisles between the cornflakes and the canned dogfood. Detectives hired by Lidl – which has more than 7,000 stores worldwide, including 450 in Britain – have been monitoring romance at the cash till, visits to the lavatory and the money problems of shelf-stackers.

Several hundred pages of surveillance records have been passed on to Stern magazine, causing outrage among the unions and data protection officials. Verdi, the powerful service sector union, is offering legal help to Lidl workers who want to sue the company for invasion of privacy.

The secret monitoring of staff seems to have taken place only in Germany, though there have been reports of something similar from Lidl outlets in Eastern Europe. Lidl UK declined to comment yesterday. In Britain Lidl has gained the reputation of being a sharp competitor to chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury but staff have complained in the past of long hours and low wages. Lidl Germany says that the cameras were placed “to secure our goods against shoplifting and not to watch our employees”. Even so, spokeswoman Petra Trabert said that the surveillance helped to “establish any possible wrong behaviour.”

Detectives hired by Lidl in Germany would install ten covert matchbox-sized cameras at strategic points in a supermarket every Monday and observe the store for a week. What emerges from the mass of accumulated material is a portrait of an intrusive employer; no information is too trivial for the watchers.

Here is Observation period 9-14 July, 2007 at a branch near Hanover: “Saturday 10.10am Ms J tells Ms L that she has never paid her television license fees because she is still registered with her parents, even though she lives with her boyfriend. The detective’s end-of-week advice to management is that Ms J is a security risk.”

Ms J’s days with Lidl, one suspects, could be numbered. But a Lidl spokeswoman told Stern: “All the people named in the transcripts are still employed with Lidl with the exception of five workers. Two were released after the end of their probation period, another three offered to resign.”

Little escapes Lidl. Above all there is a fascination with lavatory behaviour. “Ms R has been leaving the till to go to the toilet every 15 minutes, despite waiting customers,” says one report.

Watching two staff at a cash till in northern Germany, detectives spotted a budding romance. “Friday 13.50. The relationship between Ms L and Mr H should be investigated since they seem to have become close. When Mr H counted up Ms L’s takings he drew a little heart on the receipt.”

Among the crates of cheap German beer at Lidl’s Brixton branch, there would be plenty of places to hide cameras. The store’s deputy manager, who declined to be named, told The Times that he had no knowledge of any covert surveillance in his branch. He said that the rows of roof-mounted cameras are there only for security.

For Peter Schaar, the government ombudsman for data protection, the Lidl revelations are deeply disturbing. Federal data protection law, he says, is strict about surveillance in public spaces such as supermarkets. Hidden cameras like those used by the Stasi are banned. “They count as clandestine surveillance which is forbidden.”

Lidl …………….is-Supermarket taċ-Ċaqnu f’Ħal-Safi

btn_polidano.gif   lidl.jpg                         

Is-supermarket li qed jibni ċ-Ċaqnu f’Ħal-Safi huwa għad-ditta Lidl, kumpanija ta’ oriġini Ġermaniża li topera madwar 7,000 supermarket mifruxa mal-Ewropa kollha.


L-isem sħiħ tal-kumpanija hu Lidl Stiftung & Co KG. Hija propjeta tal-kumpanija  Schwarz li minbarra l-Lidl tippossjedi ukoll ic-chain stores Handelshof u Kaufland.


Lidl huwa mifruxa fi 17-il pajjiż u jopera bħala discount store.


F’artiklu intitolat Cheap – but not so cheerful ? Helen Pidd fil-ħarġa tal-Guardian tal-14 ta’ Marzu 2007 (ara titkellem fuq l-istrateġiji kontroversjali tal-Lidl, b’mod partikolari fil-mod kif tittratta lill-ħaddiema tagħha.


Aqra l-artiklu ħalli tifforma l-opinjoni tiegħek.


Tista’ tara ukoll dan is-sit :

 Inkompli darba oħra.