The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Welcome to Never

Camilla Appelgren Tuesday, 19 March 2019, 08:20 Last update: about 4 months ago

When I was a child I had this dreamy way of looking at life, and still do at times. All Disney movies had the perfect ending and I was privileged to live in a place where when I was told I could be anything, it actually was very close to the truth. I was brought up believing that I indeed could be what I wanted to be and do what I've always dreamt of doing, the only thing standing in the way would be me and my mind. Where there's a will, there's a way and all experiences are experiences no matter if they are good or bad ones. There are so many sayings and I could keep on going all day quoting them.

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I think it's time to stop quoting and instead living by them. Taking shortcuts rarely works out well in the long run. We've tried that, so let's not do the same mistake again. We are supposed to be the most intelligent creature on earth, yet we haven't figured out how to live sustainably although we have all the technology to do so. Why? That's a good question actually and it's one I struggle to get my head around.

Why is it that human beings show so little interest in safeguarding their future? Because now we aren't talking about the future thousands of years from now, we are talking about our children or grandchildren. The longer we wait to figure this out, the faster the snowball will roll. We have run out of time and now need to run faster than ever to catch up and stop the snowball. We are going into a damage control mode and it's damn scary!

As a child I looked at the adults around me and saw them as heroes. I couldn't wait to be able to have a job and have the power to make changes. Money and influence, I guess it's always played a big part in society. Now I suddenly am that adult I once looked up to. I have a steady income and also able to influence people, not only in my daily life but as an activist and politician. Question is, how to use that super power in a balanced way?

Imagine if you ran into the 6th grade version of yourself, that curious child taking for granted that no adult will do anything which will harm the future generations. To the decision makers not taking bold enough decisions, what would you say to your defence to that boy or girl? Would you be able to explain your wish to rather get more votes, than to care for the future version of yourself?

I think you'd have quite a rough time trying to figure out how to tell an innocent child that fast money is more profitable for you than for that child in front of you to be able to breathe healthy air. Long-term profit is frowned upon like the plague at the moment, “What's in it for me?” reigns.

With Malta topping the air pollution black lists of the member states, I sometimes wonder - how do the children of the decision makers breathe? Do they have air purifiers at their house and gas masks outdoors? Have they found a way to remain untouched by this issue? If not, I would like to send them a kind reminder that their own flesh and blood, the children they claim to protect and love, are breathing the same air as us deadly.

People tell me that I am privileged to have another country to go and live in, a country with greenery and less air pollution. That is very true, however it's not an option for me at this point. You see, dear reader, the issue is that we need people fighting against the ones taking unsustainable decisions for Malta. I know that I as an individual matter, we all matter, and that's why I'm determined to stay. My heart would literally bleed seeing Malta's environment fully degrade and knowing that I wasn't there to stand united with all the other amazing environmentalists on this island.

Yes, we will lose some fights, failing is part of the path to success. Fail actually means first attempt in learning. When we fail, we have to revise and then fight even harder. The most important thing is to not give up. If we one day would lose the environment, at least we would know that we took the fight and didn't give it up without one. The wrongdoers at the top, they should never think that they can do whatever they like. We are here to challenge them.

Some tell us “you'll never succeed”. Well, welcome to Never. Buckle up, it's going to be one hell of a ride.

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