In 2018 we continued working with communities supporting clients with mental and physical health problems. Through this programme, clients, their teachers and parents were engaged in nature therapy activities, including the creation and upkeep of a community edible garden, pollinator friendly areas and bee keeping.
The evidence is strong and growing that people and communities can only thrive when they have access to nature. We all need nature in our lives, it gives us freedom and helps us live healthily; yet communities are routinely cut off from nature in their surroundings and it’s suffocating for their well-being. Nature is a right, so it’s incumbent upon EU, national and local authorities to better protect and restore nature for the many, not just for the few.
In January we co-organised an open day at the Nature Therapy garden at Villa Chelsea where the general public was invited to get their hands dirty to help us plant vegetables & flowers, build a bee hotel or join a nature inspired creative writing workshop.
In March we organised a two day live-in activist camp/workshop at Xrobb l-Għaġin Nature Park. During the camp, more than 30 participants learnt and discussed ways on how to cut down on plastic use and waste-generation on a personal level and also how we can take action to move towards a zero-waste society. Various side activities, including a networking session, a clean-up and a repair café were also organised as part of this camp. Find out more or watch this video clip
As part of our Zero Waste Camp, we had organised Malta’s first Repair Cafe. A Repair Cafe is a meeting place where the community comes together—people who have things that need fixing, meet others who know how to carry out repairs, and an exchange is carried out based on a solidarity economy. The first Repair Cafe was conceived in Amsterdam, after which thousands of similar setups have cropped up all over the world since then, fighting the throwaway culture, one repair at a time.
We also organised a second repair café during the European Week of Waste Reduction and we hope to organise a few more in 2019 – stay tuned!
Let’s Nature – Natura 2000 sites walks in Gozo
During the second half of 2018 we organized a series of walks in Natura 2000 sites located in Gozo aimed to enhance the social, cultural, economic and ecological fabric of the community in Gozo.
The events at Natura 2000 sites raised awareness around Gozo’s unique ecological characteristics and how these are intimately linked with its cultural and social fabric and ultimately support existing and potential new economic activities within the context of sustainable development and ecology. Highlighting the ecological value of Natura 2000 sites as part of a European wide network of protected areas, does encourage greater appreciation of Gozo’s identity within the Maltese archipelago, as a Mediterranean Island, but also as a distinct European Region.
The walks also contributed to a healthy and active lifestyle by encouraging people to walk and consider an alternative way of entertainment and maybe a different way to spend free time, in Nature and away from chaos and technology. Acitivies were held at Citadella, Dwejra, Ramla il-Hamra, Ta’Cenc and Comino
Bees and pollinators
As part of our BeeCause campaign we organised 2 BeeAware courses with the intention to give people the opportunity to get involved in beekeeping, and to train qualified volunteers to possibly volunteer with Friends of the Earth Malta. In 2018 Friends of the Earth Malta, supported by Malta Beekeepers Association, have designed a follow-up course, focusing more on sustainable beekeeping and to provide a better understanding on the role of bees as a vital part of ecosystems.
Wild and domesticated bees are an integral part of healthy ecosystems. Changes in farming practices, such as the use of agrochemicals, have hugely changed the dynamics of ecosystems. There are policies at a European and National level that can influence agricultural practices to support the beekeepers and the bee population. Two main policies are the National Agricultural Policy for the Maltese Islands and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which both mention the importance to steer towards sustainable farming practices.
Green roof/wall training workshop
This training was mainly addressed to professional gardeners, landscape designers or architects and any person who cultivates plants. We collaborated with VIVACITY which works with a green wall system which is modular. The system is designed for the Mediterranean climate and uses only Mediterranean plants. Participants spent time constructing a new roof garden system at our new office space and were taught how to install similar systems and eventually maintain them too. Find out more.