Should I vote or …. Should I not?

It is incredible what is being discovered in this country. Two ex-ministers found to be hiding money abroad, in Switzerland. Oh, what I would have done to be a fly on the wall of their Villa when the Swissleak news broke out. A lot has been said. These people are now at the end of their political careers, the damage that had to be done has been done. Which makes me wonder…. how many other young and upcoming politicians might have something to hide.

No wonder may young people are choosing not to vote. No wonder young people feel disillusioned by politics. Current politics are giving birth to a generation of youths who do not care, and will not care for politics. These leaks will further encourage this worrying phenomenon.

On the other hand, I believe that the Spring Hunting Referendum could not have come at a better period in Maltese History.  Two years ago, while the political dinosaurs of the Maltese Islands where busy stashing money, and collecting lobbyist agreements, we were busy collecting signatures and making history in the process. We wanted to use our legal right to call a referendum, so as to push for a change, a change WE want, out of our own genuine interest.

Have a look at these young people:

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These people want change. They decided that they want to be active citizens the way they want. Their choice is above any old school politics. They do not want to push Youth Inclusion. They ARE Youth inclusion – because they are exercising their rights to be active citizens. I want to encourage everyone who wants to get involved, young or not, to be just like them!

If you ever think you do not want to vote, because old politicians are showing themselves to be more corrupt by the day, and because we have discovered a lot of hidden lies in the politics of the past 30 years or so, look at these youths. Look at what they are doing to make a better Malta. Do allow this to grow. Do go out to vote, because for once, the choice will provide you with something genuine, free, and not corrupt.

Do not give up on voting! On the 11th April go out and vote.

And vote No.

Anna Azzopardi (ADŻ Malta Green Youth General Secretary)

Effects of Spring Hunting on Breeding Birds in Malta

Despite the continuous decline of European Turtle Dove and Quail populations, thousands of birds are still hunted each year in our country, both in autumn and spring.  Although hunting in autumn does not represent a major concern for these species, spring hunting does.  Hunting these birds in spring while they’re on their way to their breeding grounds to reproduce will result in not only killing the individual birds but of course their offspring.  Furthermore, a bird will reproduce every year, say for at least 5 years and hence the number of un-born chicks is multiplied.  This results in the destruction of a whole generation and hence a decline in population.

Many may think that spring hunting only affects the 2 species which may be hunted, i.e. the Turtle Dove and the Common Quail.  However, the truth is that this is not the case.  The impacts on other bird species are also very significant. Other bird species are in fact not breeding in Malta simply because they are either being killed or because they are scared away by the continuous shooting.

pigeon shot

In spring Malta experiences a spectacular and intense period of bird migration.  Several bird species fill our skies and circle over our countryside.  These birds range from passerines to birds of prey.  Many migratory birds do not only migrate over Malta, but some also tend to breed.

Unfortunately, when Turtle Doves and Quails arrive in Malta, it is almost impossible for them to attempt to breed, since they are shot.  Other birds attempting to breed will also fail to do so, since they are either illegally shot or disturbed due to shooting.

Several birds were noted breeding on our island over the years.  However, many either declined or have been eradicated as breeding birds of Malta, such as the Barn Owl, which was described as a scarce breeder in the 1970s, until the last breeding pair was shot in 1988.  Other birds such as the Common Kestrel and the Peregrine Falcon, also known as the Maltese Falcon, are both migratory species.  However, in most years they often try to seek a nesting site, and in some cases they actually manage to do so.  Unfortunately, these are often shot in spring.

Kestrel

An interesting fact to note is that when spring hunting was prohibited in 2008 and 2009, several birds started breeding again or attempted to breed.  These birds include the Common Cuckoo as well as Common and Pallid Swifts, along with many other birds, which bred in Malta when they were not shot or disturbed.

Malta could host many more breeding birds, were it not for the unsustainable spring hunting season.  Typical Mediterranean birds such as the Bee-eater would definitely breed if we allowed them to do so.  Also more records of birds which are common throughout other European countries such as the Barn Swallow will also increase.  Most birds are not afraid of human presence but are only afraid of people who kill them.

It is therefore vital that this practice no longer takes place in spring, in order to give breeding birds a chance to seek a nesting site and successfully raise their young.

Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)

ADŻ welcomes proposal of Carnival Village

A few days ago, the government announced its proposal for the construction of a new carnival village.  The project, which will cost some €6 million, will include the construction of some 20 warehouses and an amphitheatre, among other facilities.

The proposed location in Marsa is ideal, since it is close to Valletta and therefore the floats would not have to be transported over long distances.  The fact that this village will be created will lead to better collaboration and an and increased exchange of ideas between artists.  This is vital in order to make Maltese carnival more attractive to both locals, as well as tourists.

carnival 1      carnival 2

The construction of the amphitheatre is also a good idea, since artists and bands can use this to practice.  However, it can also be used for gigs and concerts.  Therefore, not only the carnival enthusiasts will gain from this project, but also other artists.

We from ADŻ Green Youth believe that such projects are vital for our society since it improves interest in culture and art.  For many years ADŻ Green Youth has been urging the need for increased interest and investment in the artistic sector.  Also, since a large sum of money will be invested in this project, it should be made accessible to all artists.

carnival 3                carnival 4

One should consider that this project is of great importance since each year, hundreds of carnival enthusiasts spend months working on their floats and since yearly, thousands of people participate in the carnival celebrations.  Therefore we from ADŻ Green Youth welcome this decision and hope that as many artists as possible will gain from this project, which will improve artistic works and increase interest in art.

Useful links:

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150207/local/rehearsing-space-for-bands-to-be-built-with-carnival-village-in-marsa.555139

http://www.tvm.com.mt/news/centru-gdid-ghall-artisti-fil-marsa-binvestiment-ta-e6m/

Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)

Malta and the Effects of Climate Change

Malta is extremely susceptible to climate change and its effects.  Apart from the global warming that is occurring worldwide, we also face other impacts such as extreme weather events, variable precipitation patterns, ocean acidification and sea-level rise.  These will not only negatively affect the natural environment but also human health and the economy.

With regards to global warming, increases in global surface temperatures have been observed with significant effects on human society.  In a Maltese context, changes in temperature have been observed over the last few decades.  Between 1981 and 2010, average temperatures have risen by 0.8ºC.  An increase has been observed in temperatures over 32ºC and this can lead to increased heat stress.  Events such as the 2003 heat waves, which caused some 30,000 deaths across Europe, are expected to become a more common phenomena.

It is also predicted that future temperatures will constantly increase and a downward trend in precipitation is expected.  It is estimated that temperatures will increase by 1ºC by 2030, by 2ºC by 2050 and by some 3ºC by 2070.  This will lead to extensive periods of drought, and in a water stressed country like Malta the effects will be even more severe.  This increase in temperature will not only affect human health, but also the economy.  The agricultural sector will face significant decline in production and will require more resources such as water, fertilizers and pesticides in order to be able to grow crops.  In addition, this will affect both crop quantity and crop quality.  Therefore farmers and consumers will bear the negative effects of climate change.  Due to increasing temperatures, more energy will be required for cooling in summer, such as air conditioners.  These will not only lead to further increases in greenhouse gas emissions due to increased use of electricity, but also to increased costs for households.

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In addition precipitation trends are expected to decline by 5% by the year 2030, by some 12% by the 2050s and by about 18% by 2070.  This means additional pressure on the agricultural industry and farmers are expected to suffer great economic losses.  Flash floods are expected to increase.  This will lead to increased flooding which in turn will affect transport and the infrastructure of the Maltese Islands.  Hygiene is another issue.  Flooding causes the sewers to overflow, which eventually ends up being washed along our roads and into the sea.  This can also lead to diseases.

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Changes in ocean pH are also a phenomenon caused by anthropogenic action and an additional effect of climate change.  There has been an increase of 26% in acidity of our seas which impacts fish and the marine ecology.  This in turn will affect fisherman, who will experience a decline in fish catch and lead to negative impacts on the economy and human health.

Finally we also have the issue of sea level rise.  The IPCC states that sea level has risen by 0.19m from 1901 to 2010.  It is estimated that over this century we will encounter sea-level rise of between 0.18 and 0.69m.  In the case of Malta, this is of major concern due to the fact that a substantial quantity of land will be permanently submerged under water.  This means that we will lose a significant amount of land area on an island which has an area of only 316km².  The east coast will be particularly hit, especially low lying areas such as Sliema, Gżira and Msida, among others.  As it happens, our major infrastructure and road networks, as well as some of the most vital economic and industrial areas are situated close to the shore.  Therefore sea-level rise will particularly impact our economy.

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In order to protect our environment, safeguard our economy and protect our people from the severe impacts of climate change we must act now.  We must drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, invest in renewable energy resources and improve the efficiency of energy use and our transport system.  Between 1990 and 2007 we have increased our greenhouse gas emissions by almost 50%.  It’s time to start reducing such emissions in order to mitigate the effect of climate change.  It is vital that each individual in our society gets involved in this process and that everyone does something to reduce the impact of climate change.  Only then can we protect our environment, society and economy, and only when each individual gets involved can we safeguard a better and safe future for future generations.

Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)