Planning for the foreseeable future

Human nature has always been preoccupied with the future. However, at times we tend not to realise that we mould a substantial part of the future through our actions today. Unfortunately, sometimes our actions today and the future we want, point towards completely different directions.

Our future is necessarily a common one, as explained in the 1987 report of the UN Commission on Environment and Development -, the Brundtland report – aptly entitled Our Common Future. Drafted by an international commission led by former Norwegian Socialist Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, this report placed sustainable development on the global discussion platform, emphasising that we are responsible not only for each other’s welfare today but also for that of future generations. We need to consider carefully that our actions today have a considerable impact and can possibly limit the choices that future generations would have to make.

The impact of our behaviour on the climate is one such example. The impact of climate change is causing havoc in weather patterns and consequently also impacting on all areas of human activity. The patterns and intensity of rainfall is unpredictable. Our road infrastructure never coped, and now it is getting worse.

Earlier this week The Guardian reported that the planet has just a five per cent chance of reaching the Paris climate goals. Rather than avoiding warming up by more than 2oC by the end of the century, it is more likely that Mother Earth will heat up to around 5oC beyond the pre-industrial era.

The predicted consequences are catastrophic. Another report published in April this year had informed us that there are worrying signs for Greenland ice sheet which covers 80 percent of its 1.7 million square kilometres surface area: it has been observed melting faster than ever before. On its own, this factor could potentially cause a rise of many meters in sea level – as many as seven metres.

This is certainly not the future we want. Any rise in sea level rise, even if minimal, would threaten the functionability of all coastal areas and facilities. It would also wipe out entire coastal communities and islands worldwide would disappear. It would be a future of climate- change refugees pushed to higher ground by a rising sea-level. This will not only have an impact low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean: it will also hit closer to home.
Take a look at and consider the places along the Maltese coast: Msida, Ta’ Xbiex, Pietá, Sliema, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, San Pawl il-Baħar, Burmarrad, Birżebbuġa, Marsalforn, Xlendi and many more.
Readers will remember the occasional rise in sea-level at Msida. In one such instant – on 11 May last year – the change in sea level was of more than a metre as a resulting flooding the roads along the coast. This phenomenon is known as seiche (locally referred to as “Il-Milgħuba”) and reported in this newspaper under the heading “Phenomenon: sea-water level rises in Msida, traffic hampered.” It also occurs at St George’s Bay in Birżebbuġa – on a small scale but on a regular basis, causing quite a nuisance to car users.

Now this phenomenon only occurs temporarily, yet it still substantially affects traffic movements when it does. Imagine if the rise in sea level rise is of a permanent nature?

Large parts of our coast are intensively developed – with roads and residential properties, as well as substantial sections of the tourism infrastructure and facilities. In addition, there is also the infrastructure of our ports which we have developed as a maritime nation over the centuries. All this points to the need for adequate planning to implement urgent adaptation measures in order to reinforce Malta’s coastal infrastructure. If we wait too long it may be too late.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 6 August 2017

Il-perżut ma jaqtax l-għatx

Thinly sliced ham on a chopping board

Dawk li jsejħu lilhom infushom “patrijotti” ipprotestaw billi għażlu l-għodda tal-insult. Lill-Musulmani li kienu qed jitolbu fl-Imsida fil-pjazza quddiem il-Knisja ippruvaw jipprovokawhom billi qassmu l-ħobż bil-perżut.

Missirijietna dejjem ittrattaw lil min ġie fi gżiritna b’ospitalità. Dak hu valur ewlieni li għaddewlna, imma l-hekk imsejħa “patrijotti” dan ma tantx jogħġobhom. Ma jogħġbuhomx dawk b’kulur jew twemmin differenti. Id-differenza tbeżżagħhom.  Biża’ li hi mnissla mill-injoranza.

M’għandhomx idea li l-parti l-kbira tagħna l-Maltin aħna imnisslin mill-ġnus kollha, mhux biss dawk max-xtut tal-Mediterran. Bħala poplu aħna taħlita. Mhux biss. Kif skopra fir-riċerka tiegħu l-istoriku l-Professur Godfrey Wettinger, missierijietna mhux dejjem kienu insara. Kien hemm żmien meta l-Maltin kienu jħaddnu r-reliġjon Islamika. Ir-reliġjon nisranija, fil-fatt, m’għandhiex għeruq daqstant fil-fond f’pajjiżna minkejja dak kollu li għallmuna!

Jagħmlu tajjeb il-“patrijotti” kieku jifhmu li fost il-valuri tal-Maltin, insara u m’humiex, hemm is-solidarjetà u t-tolleranza. Valuri li sfortunatament dawn il-“patrijotti” m’għandhomx idea tagħhom.

Fil-maġġoranza tagħna aħna poplu demokratiku li nirrispettaw il-fehmiet tal-oħrajn.

Għaliex għandek ixxerred il-mibgħeda fil-konfront ta’ min qiegħed ifittex post fejn jitlob? Tafu li dawn qed jitolbu fil-beraħ għax ma ħallewhomx jibqgħu jitolbu fil-garaxxijiet fejn kienu qed jitolbu? Minn meta ‘l hawn it-talb fil-beraħ sar oġġezzjonabbli?

Din l-intolleranza li qed terfa’ rasha tmur kontra l-valuri kollha tal-poplu Malti. M’għandha x’taqsam xejn mal-patrijottismu iżda mar-razzismu. Il-poplu Malti mhux poplu razzist.

Ir-razziżmu jxerred il-mibgħeda. Il-mibegħda hi mibnija fuq l-injoranza.  Dan l-għatx għall-mibgħeda hu misqi mill-injoranza : hu għatx li l-ebda perzut mhu ser jaqtgħu.

Ir-rigal ta’ Bormla

University at Dock One

 

X’ser tieħu Bormla minn l-Università Amerikana?

Bla dubju r-restawr taż-żona madwar il-Baċir numru wieħed ser ikun l-ewwel akkwist. Probabbilment ukoll li bini mitluq f’Bormla jkun hemm inċentiv illi jkun irranġat u eventwalment jinkera lill-barranin li jiffrekwentaw il-fakultajiet tal-Università fil-Baċir numru wieħed . Kemm l-istudenti kif ukoll xi għalliema.

Fl-Imsida per eżempju hemm kwantità ta’ flats li jinkrew lill-istudenti Għawdxin. L-istess hu mistenni li jiġri f’Bormla.

L-istudenti li joqgħdu f’dawn il-flats ovvjament iridu jieklu. Ser jixtru prinċipalment mill-ħwienet f’Bormla. Xi ftit jiddevertu ukoll. Kemm f’Bormla kif ukoll f’inhawi oħra fil-viċin u l-bogħod.

Meta l-Università fil-Baċir tilħaq il-massimu ta’ studenti probabbilment li jkun fiha madwar 1,200 student (il-kumplament ikunu Iż-Żonqor). Bla dubju, 1,200 ruħ jagħtu kontribut kbir lill-ekonomija ta’ Bormla, fil-flats, restaurants, ħwienet u barijiet.

Imma jkun meħtieġ li jsibulhom l-ispażju. Għax iktar ma jkun hemm studenti li joqgħodu f’Bormla inqas joħolqu problema ta’ traffiku! Ovvjament mhux ser ikunu kirjiet baxxi. Probabbilment id-domanda li dawn l-istudenti jiġġeneraw biex jikru toqba fejn joqgħodu jkollha xi ftit effett fuq il-kirjiet eżistenti. Imma dak għadu ftit kmieni għalissa.

Kemm ilu li tħabbar il-proġett digà hemm min beda jfittex u jippjana kif jista’ jdawwar lira (jew ewro)!

Dan l-investiment jidher li hu idea tal-kuntrattur mill-Jordan Hani Hasan Naji Al Salah. Ser tkun Università bi ħlas.

Li jibqa’ hu li jkun magħruf minn fejn ġejjin l-istudenti. F’kummenti li Hani Hasan Naji Al Salah kien ta’ lis-Sunday Times nhar it-3 ta’ Mejju li għadda kien qalilna li dawn ġejjin mill-Lvant Nofsani, mill-Afrika ta’ Fuq kif ukoll mill-Ewropa.

Imma l-website tal-Università DePaul ta’ Chicago, li qed tassisti lil investitur mill-Ġordan biex jitfasslu l-korsijiet Universitarji ma issemix studenti Ewropej iżda tgħid li din l-Università ser tkun għal studenti mill-Afrika ta’ Fuq, mill-Ġolf, expats u oħrajn li jfittxu edukazzjoni stil Amerikan.

Issa naraw. Wara kollox dan hu rigal għal Bormla.