The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

'With great power, comes great responsibility'

Camilla Appelgren Tuesday, 9 April 2019, 08:49 Last update: about 3 years ago

28 October, 1956, Waldemar Kaempffert wrote in The New York Times the following:

“... a comparatively small fluctuation seems of no importance. Nevertheless it can bring about striking changes in climate. If the average temperature should fall only a few degrees centigrade, glaciers would cover a large part of the earth’s surface. Similarly a rise in the average temperature of only 4 degrees celsius would convert the polar regions into tropical deserts and jungles, with tigers roaming about and gaudy parrots squawking in the trees.”.

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The article, which is more than 60 years old, continues to speak about the exchange of carbon dioxide between the oceans and the atmosphere. The paragraph ends with the sentence “This balance must be preserved”. Yes, dear readers, the climate change was known for a long time and still we didn’t manage to act on it in time. We are now heading towards a time where we simply have to do damage control and adapt in the best way possible. When I hear people arguing over their rights to release balloons, that they have the rights to be able to drink from straws or to be able to buy a plastic bag from the local grocery store, I have only one thing to tell them.

How will these people survive when the day comes where we indeed will have to do a 360 turn and adapt over night? Because you know what, that day is approaching whether we want it or not. Recently I have started to watch some vigilante themed series with my children and the other day while watching Green Arrow I couldn’t help myself thinking that we need a hero in the real world. We need people in our societies who take bold decisions and are ready to be hated for a while until the citizens are made aware that it was all worth it in the end. We need people to wake up and for them to realize that we need to step out of our comfort zone and convenient lives and take action. We are the change, the heroes.

I am so fed up with the partisan fights in this beautiful country. While people are arguing which colour they defend until their last breath, no matter what scandals are thrown at them, the environment is deteriorating in front of us. But of course they are too busy arguing about things that won’t matter when we don’t have an Earth anymore, that’s the sad part here. If we don’t put our greatest needs first, which the earth provides, nothing that we do will matter. When we can’t breathe, eat or be healthy, no surplus or money overflow will help us.

We are behaving like addicts, and I am not joking. We have lost the ability to see long-term due to being addicted to money. We have stopped caring for the commons and the absolute saddest part is that the commons still are praising the few greedy ones. Why are we doing that? Why do we let the children of Malta suffer an extreme rate of asthma and other respiratory illnesses and people dying in traffic accidents which could have been prevented with law enforcement? Why are we ok with being mediocre? Why are we blindly cheering the people based on the fact that Malta has money, while people are dying due to the negligence which enables the surplus.

I’ve had enough. I refuse to be ashamed to belong to the generation that screwed it up and didn’t act on it. I refuse to pretend as if all is ok, it is not on. Just like Greta Thunberg, the 15 year old activist said, our house is on fire and I don’t want you to be calm anymore.  I want decision makers to stop fighting about their rights to ruin the environment we borrowed from the future generations, I want them to take the bold decisions needed to safeguard it and also empower tomorrow’s leader to do the same.

We all know what has to be done, so let’s stop being damn selfish and just think about what we need and instead what needs to be done. A civilisation won’t survive if we all won’t pull part of the burden. The few can’t keep on ruling and demotivate us. We all must rise to the challenge and do our part. Yes, I know it’s a big challenge and it feels hopeless. But at least the day you die, you can look into the eyes of your children and tell them that you did your best.

We just need to pull our heads out of the sand, get a to-do list together and start ticking them off, one by one. You are the hero needed.

Camilla Appelgren is a candidate for the EP election with the Partit Demokratiku

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