2012

 

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Thank you for taking part in the "Car free Adventures" Photo Competition!

Car Free Day to be organised on September 16th

 

Click here to submit your pictures !

 

Friends of the Earth Malta launched its Photo Competition “Car free Adventures” as part of the national activities being held locally with the support of MEPA. For this competition, FoE Malta is inviting people from all walks of life to share their individual experience with alternative means of transport in Malta. These could be anything from using the bus service, bicycle, walking or maybe even using some exotic vehicle like a donkey cart.

 

Car free day isn’t just about one day without any cars or motor traffic on our roads. It’s a day when we’re all given the chance to consider how the negative aspects of too much traffic weigh down all our lives. More than that, it’s an opportunity to think of better, smarter ways for individual traffic to be organised in the future.

 

Whatever mode of transportation people decide to use, they are encouraged to let us know about their picturesque experience with car freeness. The submitted pictures should be story-telling, but one can expand on this pictorial story with a short caption of up to 30 words and with a relevant image title.

 

Besides the fun of sharing car free photos with the world, Friends of the Earth Malta will also be awarding prizes for the best three pictures and stories: 1st price: €200 voucher from Magri Cycles; 2nd price: €125 voucher from Magri Cycles + a 30 day pass from Arriva (worth €26); 3rd price: a 90 day pass from Arriva (worth €72)

 

Magri Cycles will also be offering a 5% discount to ALL participants for the month following the competition. (Discount not valid on special offers or already discounted items.)

 

“Car free Adventures” Photo Competition opened for submissions on Sunday the 2nd September 2012, with entries accepted until noon on Friday the 21st September 2012. Late submissions will not be considered. Entries can be made through the online form or else via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

This event is being made possible with support provided by MEPA and Magri Cycles.

 

Friends of the Earth Malta is also encouraging the public to participate in other events being organised on car free day, including an adult training session aimed at those who do not know how to cycle organised by the Bicycle Advocacy Group at Ta’ Qali and a biking activity by Inspire Foundation. These events might also serve as an opportunity for participants to come up with a winning photo for the photo competition.

 

Click here to submit your pictures !

marsaThe NGOs Friends of the Earth Malta, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA), NatureTrust (Malta), Malta Organic Agriculture Movement (MOAM) and Ramblers Association of Malta share Environment Minister De Marco's conclusion that the Rio+20 Summit lacked ambition.

 

The Rio+20 declaration reaffirms the 'Rio Principles' first agreed at the 1992 Earth Summit but does not go any further. It ignores the needs of developing countries and highlights the lack of political will on the part of governments. Politicians around the world are understandably concerned about the economic crisis – but it will only be remedied when politicians stop treating it separately from social and environmental problems. At the same time the NGOs observe that such comments are often made by local politicians when it comes to international environmental summits, but then the same politicians accept a far slower pace of environmental progress in Malta.

 

The NGOs refer to various reports and studies which have been issued locally over the years. Many of these have produced voluminous and detailed proposals which have been announced with much fanfare, yet they have resulted in very little tangible action. Amongst others, these include the National Strategy for Sustainable Development and the Climate Change Strategy reports (National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and the National Climate Change Mitigation Strategy).

 

The latest of these is the National Environment Policy (NEP) whose very valid guidelines will not be introduced immediately by the different Government authorities who are to put into practice, but will be implemented gradually. Should the forthcoming elections occur before the NEP is implemented, it risks being shelved like so many reports and policies before it.

 

The environment NGOs are also wary of comments made recently by Joseph Muscat. Ominous declarations to 'cut bureaucracy' come at a time when MEPA applications are often processed with inadequate study due to pressure from developers to speed up timeframes.

 

Joseph Muscat then publicly declared his mistrust of MEPA's studies on land reclamation, declaring that the issue should be left up to developers, the very stakeholders who have an interest in promoting the 'concretisation of Malta'.

 

The NGOs similarly deplore the continued lack of real information on the emissions situation at Marsaxlokk arising from the current testing of the Delimara Extension.

 

More action to implement national strategies and enforce existing policies is required now, more than ever before, instead of the lack of action and wavering political will being experienced in the present pre-election climate. The mistaken but oft-repeated message that the construction industry is the main driver of our economy and the policy of "development at all cost" are damaging our financial sector, residents' health and tourism, the real pillar of our economy. Moreover construction workers have valuable transferable skills which could be employed in restoration of many precious old buildings.

 

More action to implement national strategies and enforce existing policies is required now more than ever before, instead of the lack of action and wavering political will being experienced in the present pre-election climate. The mistaken but oft-repeated message that the construction industry is the main driver of our economy and the policy of "development at all cost" are damaging our financial sector, residents' health and tourism, the real pillar of our economy.

 

This country cannot afford more unsustainable rape of our environment and heritage; we need to act now if we are to save what little is left to be saved. Only immediate implementation of policies will prove that the pro-environment proclamations of politicians of all colours are more than just hollow words.

 

Friends of the Earth Malta together with environmental groups Ramblers' Association, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Din l-Art Helwa, Nature Trust, wish to commend the recent unanimous decision by MEPA to turn down an application by Enemalta for a substation to be built in the out of development zone at Armier which was intended to serve the squatter community there.

 

We now urge the two main political parties to unite behind the move for the demolition of Armier's illegal township and to prove that they are able to place national before party interests. Environmental concerns cannot be dissociated from political ones especially in pre-election periods. The issue of usurped public land is of grave national importance and politicians who close their eyes to the misappropriation of public property are not working in the interest of their country but of their party.

 

The refusal of the Enemalta application for the Armier substation by the Mepa Board does not mean that the Armier problem has been solved. The squatters will now almost certainly intensify efforts to retain their illegal occupation of land which rightly belongs to all Maltese, by trying to hold politicians to ransom through the power of their voting numbers, as they did before the last general election.

 

If the abuse committed at Armier is legalised, MEPA will lose the hard-earned credibility it has gained. Certainly MEPA will set a precedent which could render it unable to prevent or penalise any misappropriation of land that takes place anywhere else on the Maltese Islands.

 

The public outcry backing the NGOs against Enemalta's proposal proves that the Maltese are now much more sensitive to issues of environmental justice. Continued control over the correct and legal use of property is crucial to the stability and prosperity of Malta and its people.

 

In the prevailing circumstances political parties that put their interest above the national one cannot expect to enjoy the trust of environmental groups and their followers.

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