Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has announced that the government will be launching the biggest open space project in a generation. Well and good.
But shouldn’t it be the other way round? Should not the percentage of land, which is open spaces in Malta, be much bigger than the built-up and ruined habitat?
Do we need managed open spaces when we can have natural habitats in which humans are part of the ecosystem?
All the unspoilt landscapes which we have left are being threatened with artificial lighting, construction and disturbed with yards for parking machinery and batching plants. What natural habitat we have left is being hemmed all around in such a way that wild fauna cannot survive or will not stop during migration.
We are the most densely-populated country in Europe and with a large number of vehicles. Instead of putting a cap on the number of vehicles or giving incentives for another mode of transport, we widen the roads. We should have an underground. We should give incentives to increase the birth rate of the Maltese and reduce our dependence on imported labour.
Both the two biggest political parties ravaged and mauled our natural environment. They are too close to big businesses. The planning laws are too loose so the Planning Authority board can decide according to its wise discretion.
The Labour and Nationalist parties have weakened environmental NGOs or made them dependant on government funds and try to silence the small political parties which campaign for the natural environment.
Even in our educational system and in our mass media, the natural environment features only a little and has a very small unimportant share; and when the environment is mentioned it includes waste management, clean air, not littering the pavements, which is all good.
But the essential part of the natural environment is our natural habitat: the ridges, the cliffs, the garigue, the maquis and the coast. If this goes, it will be gone forever. We cannot remedy it and we cannot import it.
We are attacking what makes us Maltese: the village core and our traditional houses. We are disfiguring our villages and towns. And Malta will be changed forever.
The disfigurement of the natural environment and our Malta is a social sin in which individual citizens participate. You have the option in your hands to influence the future.
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