Oġġezzjoni għal kumpless kumerċjali – pass il-quddiem?

Huwa tajjeb li l-ERA oġġezzjonat għall-bini ta’ kumpless kumerċjali qrib il-family park ta’ Marsaskala. Dan sar minħabba li dan l-izvilupp hu pjanat li jsir fuq barriera f’art ODZ.

 

Ħafna rħula ta’ Malta, illum huma mibnijin wisq, waqt li kumplessi fuq il-periferija ma jgħinux wisq biex nippreservaw l-ambjent naturali u jonqos it-traffiku. Għalhekk ikun tajjeb li kieku l-awtorita` tirrifjuta permessi anka f’każijiet simili.

Daniel Desira – ADŻ Public Relations Officer

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Green Congress 2017

Live from Liverpool: Danika Formosa, Marc’Andrea Cassar and Anne Marie Azzopardi together with the Green Party leader, Arnold Cassola, are currently attending the Greens Congress which is being held in Liverpool. They are representing Alternattiva Demokratika, Alternattiva Demokratika Zghazagh as well as Fondazzjoni Ceratonia.
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This is a large-scale event which brings together representatives from over 90 countries around the world for a joint green congress. Many green movements such as the European Green Party (EGP), the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG), the Global Greens and Global Young Greens (GYG), together with many organisations from all around the globe are involved and brought together to discuss a vast array of topics, such as migration, human rights and climate change.
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During the Congress, the Maltese Delegation will be voting on amendments, structures and policy papers by the European Green Party, the Global Greens and the Global Young Greens.
 
Earlier today, delegates and young activists joined the Maltese Young Greens in support towards the Manoel Island proposals. They stood together with a banner stating ‘Manoel Island National Park’ as the team explained the issues we are facing. Alternattiva Demokratika insists that the breach of contract which granted the island to MIDI should lead to the land being taken back by the state and become a national park.
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It has been a great event so far. We were given a great opportunity to meet great people around the world, share experiences and good practices.
Danika Formosa
International Secretary – AD/ADZ
Project Co-ordinator – Ceratonia Foundation

Mosta development application turned down

Last Monday marked an important day in the history of planning and development in Malta.  I am talking about the Planning Authority’s decision to refuse a development application in Mosta, which would have taken up a massive stretch of land.  The development would have required over 38,000 square metres of land, which is a substantial amount, considering the limited land are we have in Malta.

It is vital that for all massive developments, such as the one turned down yesterday, a sustainable development approach is taken into consideration.  This means taking into consideration all the social, economic and environmental impacts.

Currently we’ve already urbanised over a third of our country.  Unless we plan and take decisions in a responsible way, that is sustainably, we will suffer substantial consequences in the near future.  It seems sometimes that we forget about our limited land area we have in Malta.  The Maltese Islands together only comprise some 316 square kilometres.  For this reason it is of utmost importance that decisions are taken based on the common good and not entirely on an economic basis.  Only then can we achieve a sustainable level of planning, which will also significantly contribute positively to our quality of life.

Pascal Aloisio – ADŻ Malta Green Youth Publications Officer

Azure Window Collapse

Following  this week’s fall, there is a major lesson to be learnt. Nature’s decisions are final. No matter what we do, it will have and find its own way to come over.

Some people were suggesting along the way that the Azure window should have been supported. How this would have been possible is beyond me. I am not a geologist, so I have no idea what could have been done. Maybe iron or cement. A solution which might have eventually been overtaken by nature, to have iron or cement left over to erode at the bottom of the sea.

The way things happened, the personified Azure Window’s life cycle ended naturally. Nature gives and nature takes. At the end of the day, we glorified this piece of rock, owned it, and turned it into our own… not realising that we cannot control it.

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In HG Well’s Time Machine, the protagonist travels ahead billions of years in the future, and in a restored world, he still finds traces of our old technology, being engulfed by the natural process. An initial process to this can be seen among the leftovers of Chernobyl, and other similar abandoned sites.

In other words, nature will have its own ways of destroying and gaining back what we took away. But it will take a long time to do it. We spend less than a century in this world. We should not destroy nature in favour of buildings and skyscrapers. The amount of work taken to gain back the land and nature destroyed is too long for our lifetimes to enjoy it.  We should stop destroying the natural world in favour of pieces of rock.

We should be heartbroken over what is pristine and ours. We should learn to love what is left, and cry over it the same way we cried over the Azure Window

Anna Azzopardi – ADŻ General Secretary

Silent Protest over Panama

Last week the ADZ Green Youth (Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ) staged a silent protest in front of parliament as investigations by the European Parliament’s PANA Committee where underway. The European Parliament’s PANA Committee is investigating the practice of tax theft and tax avoidance and the practice of hiding away money in secretive jurisdictions such as Panama. The PANA committee is visiting various EU countries in its investigation.

Multinationals and millionaires not paying their fair share of taxes means that essential public services are paid for by all other taxpayers: workers, employees, small businesses and families, Those who make the most profits manage to avoid taxes and in doing so fail to support public services in the same countries in which they do business.

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During the protest the youths wore masks with Minister Konrad Mizzi’s face with the Panamanian flag printed over it. They held slogans such as ‘Workers pay, millionaires steal’. Green MEP Sven Giegold joined AD Chairperson Prof. Arnold Cassola and greeted the protesters before proceeding to Parliament for the PANA committee meeting with Konrad Mizzi.

Later that evening MEP Sven Giegold joined AD and ADZ officials for a press dinner in which he gave an extensive account of the PANA committee’s meetings in Malta.

Marsascala public garden to be turned into parking space?

With regards to Projects Malta’s plans of turning Marsaskala’s public garden into a parking area, we believe that this will negatively impact the residents’ quality of life.
Over the years, Marsaskala has grown while eating away open spaces making the locality
lose its original character.

As a summer resident, I can tell you that the public garden is a vital spot for the urban
environment. It’s a place where people may sit down in the shade of the trees, where
children may play and where sparrows roost in the tamarisk trees.

It was refreshing to see that the local council has unanimously voted against the proposal.
However, it is expected that councillors stay consistent on other issues such as Sadeen’s
University at Żonqor.

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Daniel Desira – ADŻ Public Relations Officer

Our money and the state

Let us all admit that money is important. Sure it doesnt solve all problems but it makes life easier; our monthly bills, fuel, internet, it affects our social life, travel and even opening new businesses and opportunities and investments involve money. What I am going to focus on is the latter and what a government, in an ideal situation can do to help youth rising up to opening new businesses and other similar opportunities.

First and foremost is cliché alert – education: we need to equip our youth for the battle of a lifetime adulthood. We can only do that if we provide the necessary training and initiatives for youth to embark on investing in themselves and businesses. Courses, incentives, and scholarship are the package the government can offer to train the young. MCAST has in recent years tried to address such needs and has in fact enabled entrepreneurs and career seekers to thrive. We feel that the government should continue to invest accordingly to enable places like MCAST to continue to invest and adapt courses to an ever changing and growing national economy. The University of Malta and other institutions of higher education should continue to invest in their academic portfolio to also be equipped for a modern economy, in parallel with the efforts of the MCAST polytechnic.

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Secondly, allow the opportunities to thrive less paperwork to open a businesses, allow easy access to education (especially for employees who want to further their studies), latch on to economic opportunities such as the film and the gaming sector. Policies favouring reuse of existing buildings, financial incentives for green commercial enterprises such as those favouring renewable energy technologies; alternative modes of transport and better employment conditions.

And equally, we need good governance we need to spread the message to our citizens that their future income and livelihoods will not be at stake, that the state will be investing in you; that hard work pays off and that economic growth will benefit most of us.

Our bread and butter is at stake unless the government will allow us to prosper sensibly. A small country like Malta can act as a model for other countries and should be able to show the world how much it can achieve, despite our limited resources.

Nizar Hingary – ADŻ Malta Green Youth Treasurer

Eradicating our heritage?

What are the first few things that come up to your mind when you think of Sliema?  Well probably traffic, lack of parking and blocks of flats.  But somewhere, behind the facade of blocks of concrete we still find some remnants of the past; buildings which seem to be of another era.

Overdevelopment and the demolition of landmarks, such as old buildings seems to have become commonplace with some developers. One of the clearest examples is Sliema. While almost the entire coastal strip is now filled with monotonous concrete blocks, one might still find some of Sliema’s iconic townhouses.

The latest case of the demolishing of a 155-year old townhouse is totally unacceptable!  Buildings from the 19th Century should be given a conservation priority and not be allowed converted into flats.

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Moreover, it is shameful how, despite so many objections from NGOs, the Sliema local council and residents, such developments are given the green light.  Do the authorities ever listen to the people or are they only keen on over-developing the island and making contractors even richer than they already are?

We from ADŻ Malta Green Youth strongly oppose the demolition of our cultural heritage.  We urge the authorities to listen to us, the citizen majority and not contractors and to safeguard our heritage.  We already lost too much in the previous years and cannot afford to lose more.  It is important to act as soon as possible before it is too late and we lose even more of our limited cultural heritage we still have left!

Pascal Aloisio – ADŻ Malta Green Youth Publications Officer

Maghtab to get 22,000 solar panels

The recent proposal to install 22,000 panels at Maghtab seems pretty attractive for Malta. While indeed this decision is likely to yield more good than cause harm, nothing in this world is perfect and without an opportunity cost to consider.  Some issues will inevitably surround such projects and this brings with it several concerns.

Our first point for discussion is the issue of visual impacts. This largely depends on the type of panels used. Photovoltaic (Solar) Panels may have a high level of reflection, which could have an impact on wildlife, including birds which are attracted by these areas of panels because they mistake them for water bodies, which may result in injuries or death. But also humans may be negatively affected by the farm. Could the solar farm reflect light into drivers paths, say on the Coast Road, thus causing an obstruction to drivers?  Another visual impact that might arise is that due to power lines needed to transport energy.  We hope this won’t be the case and call for the authorities to carry out a visual impact assessment if such power lines are required.

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Speaking of Power Lines; centralised energy generation isn’t always ideal to the energy losses it incurs. Therefore it’s always better to set up solar panels directly at the place of consumption whereby this will keep energy losses at a minimal.

Finally we would also like to inquire why the area earmarked for the solar farm won’t be used for landscaping purposes as originally planned.  While it is completely understandable that the place cannot be used as a recreational area for the public due to safety reasons it would still be a good idea to make use of landscaping techniques to improve the visual aspect of the old landfill.

Overall, we from ADŻ Malta Green Youth welcome the proposal of a solar farm at Magħtab due to the past landuse of the site. It seems like benefits will outweigh the costs but it is still too early in the day to make such judgements.

5 New Year Resolutions you could make

Spend more time in open spaces

Whether you decide to go for a walk, have a picnic or observe migrating birds and animals in their natural habitat, spending more time in green patches will greatly improve your mental health and also help you appreciate the beauty of the natural world.

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Exercise more often

Engaging in any form of exercise does not only help to cut some extra weight you’ve gained in the holiday season, but also helps control stress due to the release of endorphins.

 

 

Travel less by car

Leaving the car at the garage will reduce your carbon footprint while often saving you money. In case, you opt for cycling your way, you get the benefit of some extra exercise as well.

 

Eat less meat

Animal agriculture produces 18% of greenhouse gases, it is one of the key activities causing climate change, not to mention the poor conditions in factory farms. You do not have to become vegan, but taking meatless Mondays and trying to cut down on animal products would render your lifestyle more sustainable and your body might thank you.

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Give something back

While we believe that social justice is more dignifying than charity, there will always be some instances where a helping hand would be welcome. You may help out at a local community center, turn up for a cleanup or raise awareness about social and environmental cause you deeply care about. And you may always join ADŻ and support us with our vision for a fair and sustainable Malta.

 

Daniel Desira – ADŻ Public Relations Officer