The Malta Independent 21 May 2019, Tuesday

A broken system

Camilla Appelgren Tuesday, 19 February 2019, 09:02 Last update: about 4 months ago

I think that most people are well aware of the climate threat we are facing. I have seen an increase in awareness in society in general.

There are a lot of good initiatives around and what we used to think was the impossible is now being achieved.

We are starting to change the mentality of a whole nation. Yes, I am aware that it is moving slowly, but slow is better than a standstill.


Now we need to shift into next gear and increase the speed of this movement. As soon as we do that, new challenges will arise for sure. In Malta, and to a certain extent of course in other countries as well, there are people defending crime and wrongdoings. They consider certain rules silly, without even trying to understand why the laws are in place. It’s the saga of “It’s just one, what does it matter” which we have seen so many times before. Many times, the ones saying this have a personal interest in the act being accepted as good. Without realising it, they are digging their own graves and the ones of their relatives.

Last weekend I was at Majjistral park and two off-roaders sped through the park with their dirt bikes. I got them of film and hopefully the police will be able to locate these guys. For those who are not aware, it is strictly illegal to enter a Natura 2000 site with vehicles and drive on the garigue.

As soon as I posted about this on social media, some individuals felt a need to defend the offenders.

I was told it was just their hobby and it’s all about mutual respect. I was also informed that I shouldn’t judge based on these two individuals. These people didn’t even consider my strongest point of my post - the fact that the act of these off-roaders was illegal under Maltese law. The reason why it is illegal is because the garigue needs protection for the flora and fauna to survive.

Without our flora and fauna we are screwed, literally.

I get it that these persons have a hobby and it’s good to be active, but there are places where they can go with their dirt bikes legally. The garigue on Natura 2000 sites isn’t one of them, unfortunately, and this should be respected. It’s about understanding the bigger picture of our environment and that we all have an impact, big or small.

We are really reaching walking on the edge when it comes to the topic of environmental care at the moment and if we keep on pushing the boundaries we will fall. It will hurt, trust me, and there is no going back from it.

So before anyone jumps into a discussion to defend criminal acts, I wish for those persons to actually do some research on why the law is there. Everyone with an interest in our shared environment should cherish the laws we have to protect it.

We have too few of them and not enough of them are enforced. We urgently need the police force to act on crimes on all levels. The lack of enforcement is making people think they are above the law and is forming their mindset to feel superior in a bad way. Selfishness has no place in a society in crisis, because that’s what we are. It is time for people to wake up and do their part. We don’t have time for money hungry leaders, selfish acts or defending crimes.

What a healthy society needs is cooperation and empathy. The environment doesn’t need to be saved for the Earth to survive - we need it to survive.

I will keep on repeating this until people get it. Seeing politicians and leaders denying the issues and green washing by doing something just for a photo opportunity makes me sick. Either do it the proper way, or don’t do it at all.

Making people think that it is sustainable to chop 500 mature trees and plant 1,000 saplings, where 50 will survive and then take decades before reaching the equal state of the chopped trees, is simply wrong.

Likewise is it wrong to make a PR campaign to declare Malta plastic free when we have one of the worst issues in the Mediterranean with a sea full of plastic. If the sea could, it would take humans to court for slander.

The human race needs to understand its responsibility and not wait for someone else to save it.

Thank God, the younger generation is starting to realise this, while the old dinosaurs care more about the power and votes. Our system is broken and we will all pay the price for it, no matter how much money people have. No one can breathe without air.


Camilla Appelgren is an environmentalist and Partit Demokratiku candidate for the European Parliament election


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