The debate on the National Environment Strategy

The human person forms an integral part of the eco-system.  We do not form part of “the economy”. The economy is the manner in which we organise ourselves, but the eco-system is our DNA.

This is what the ERA National Strategy for the Environment for 2050, currently in consultation phase, should be about.

The strategy is entitled “Wellbeing First”.  A strategy drafted only in the English language, once more ignoring Maltese. While our quality of life is of the utmost importance, an environmental strategy which is anthropocentric does not make sense. An anthropocentric environmental policy is short term in nature and does not lead to enhancing well-being. Environmental policy should be eco-centric: its subject matter should be the achievement of a healthy ecology, as free as possible from human toxicity. Ensuring a healthy ecology will definitely also enhance our quality of life too.

Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) Chairperson Victor Axiaq, in the forward to the consultation document, emphasises that we have yet to learn to live within our ecological limits. Obviously, as a result of his participation in the Planning Authority Board over the past seven years, he has first-hand experience of the manner in which these limits have been continuously stretched beyond any elastic limit. There is a need to reverse this trend the soonest.

The pursuit of economic growth as the single most important policy goal is in conflict with the earth’s limited resource base and the fragile ecosystem of which we are a part and on which we depend for our survival. While economic growth is supposed to deliver prosperity, it has instead delivered unbridled climate change, fuel insecurity, sky-high commodity prices, collapsing biodiversity, reduced access to depleted water resources and an ever-increasing global inequality. These are all issues the tackling of which cannot be postponed to the next generation.

Progress is measured through the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yet the GDP measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile.

The GDP is just concerned with material wealth ignoring in the process our health, education, the safety of our streets, the social tissue of society, the state of our families, the devastation caused by all forms of hatred…………… GDP includes the production of armaments and the destruction of the environment carried out in the name of “progress” as well as the television programmes that glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. The earth’s resources are limited and, consequently, they cannot fuel infinite economic growth. There are practical limits to growth, which should lead our economic planners to consider decoupling prosperity and economic growth.

The consultation document seeks to guide the national debate towards identifying the long-term objectives of the National Environmental Strategy. Once this is done ERA should be in a position to develop action plans for the achievement of such objectives.

It should be undoubtedly clear to all that a sustainable future will only be achieved when we start respecting the eco-system without any exception. Our eco-system determines our permissible limits which we only ignore at our peril. This is our challenge which must be addressed by the National Environment Strategy.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 30 August 2020

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.