The Malta Independent 16 December 2019, Monday

Creating a rewarding future: All the ways we can make Malta more sustainable

Wednesday, 6 November 2019, 13:58 Last update: about 2 months ago

While there are a number of testing environmental challenges that Malta – and much of the world – is facing today, it doesn’t have to be this way. Ahead of the upcoming public Malta Sustainability Forum, non-profit and humanitarian specialist Nicole Klaesener-Metzner shares how we can all help to make our future more sustainable.

Achieving a sustainable lifestyle can feel overwhelming – where to begin? However, with the first-ever Malta Sustainability Forum taking place next week – and with a number of tickets for the general public still available – the organisers hope to empower society and prove that anyone can live a sustainable life when armed with the right information and by making a little effort.

One of the Forum’s speakers, Nicole Klaesener-Metzner, is set to demonstrate how to achieve exactly that. As a non-profit and humanitarian specialist, Klaesener-Metzner has 16 years’ experience managing programmes aimed at improving the quality of life for a variety of populations worldwide. Currently, she is managing the Project Aegle Foundation – a Maltese foundation focused on improving sustainable mobility.

Klaesener-Metzner’s mission through PAF ‘is to advance sustainable mobility solutions that improve Malta’s traffic situation’, thereby enhancing quality of life and improving environmental conditions for the Maltese population. “PAF approaches sustainable mobility as a network of travellers, services, and environments – rather than just vehicles and roads,” she explains.

“A sustainable mobility systemis one that allows the basic access needs of individuals and societies to be met safely, and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health, and with equity within and between generations.”

Klaesener-Metzner explains that this system shouldbe both affordable and efficient. “It must be a system that offers citizens a choice of transportation, and one that supports a vibrant economy,” she continues, adding that a sustainable mobility system must also limit emissions and waste within the planet’s ability to absorb them.

“For Malta, this specifically means that the Government’s task is to provide an enabling environment for a variety of sustainable mobility initiatives from the private sector to thrive. It can then fall to non-profits and others, jointly with the Government, to motivate behaviour change.”

One way that Klaesener-Metzner, together with the team at PAF, is motivating behaviour change is through the Sustainable Mobility Challenge – something she will highlight during her speech at next week’s Forum. “The latter offers rewards to people who use other modes of transportation besides their car,” she continues. “To take part, participants can visit Greentips.eu’s Facebook page to register and upload photos of their sustainable mode of transportation – be it walking, cycling, carpooling or taking the bus. In doing so, they then earn points that they can redeem for fun rewards, like cash prizes and vouchers. 

“Through this challenge, we hope to motivate individuals who haven’t used public transport much – or even at all – to do so. We hope they will consider it as a great option to get them from A to B.” 

Klaesener-Metznergoes on to explain that public transport – and, locally, buses – play a major role in sustainable mobility. But they aren’t our only option. “Choices like GoTo car-sharing and COOL ride sharing should get more attention for the positive impact they could have on reducing private car usage and the environment,” she continues. “Meanwhile, TD Plus – a public transport on-demand service operated by Malta Public Transport – is also worth mentioning here.”

Importantly, PAF’s efforts to trigger behaviour change aren’t limited to one generation. Klaesener-Metzner knows that, to ignite real change, the focus must be on moulding the citizens of tomorrow. “We strongly believe in the power of children as agents of change, and are therefore focusing on influencing and educating future generations.”

Even so, behaviour change must happen sooner rather than later, and next week’s Malta Sustainability Forum hopes to get participants started on a path to a more sustainable life. “The Forum,” Klaesener-Metzner concludes, “will doubtlessly inspire individuals and organisations interested in sustainability, and will give them the chance to learn more about specific initiatives and ideas. Armed with the right information, it will be clear to see how important is it – and easy it can be – to live a more sustainable life.”

Tickets to the Malta Sustainability Forum start at €20, including a networking lunch. To view the full agenda and register for the Forum, please visit www.maltasustainabilityforum.com 
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