2019 was a busy year for us at Friends of the Earth Malta, yet it will also be remembered for being the year when it became even clearer that there can be no environmental justice without fair and democratic institutions. The value systems brought about by politicians and their “as long as the economy is growing anything goes” mantra have now led to some of the biggest environmental and social injustices suffered by the country. We believe that change will come from within communities, not from the present, failed system.
Friends of the Earth Malta engaged the community with everyday small-scale actions which ultimately help to support the local environment, to raise awareness about the global environmental and provide an opportunity for people to make real change in their local community. In doing so, we hope that a greater engagement with widespread local actions can produce global effects.
During 2019 we organised many activities and events as part of our campaigns targeting issues related to sustainable development, environmental protection, food related issues, bees and environmental justice. Considerable effort was placed in strengthening the FoE Malta’s ability to influence the policy decision-making process at national level and establishing resources necessary for tasks planned for 2020.
Here are some of the highlight activities of the year:
Giving Garden – Community Gardening in Floriana
The Giving Garden at our office space in Floriana is an urban community garden where people come together and learn to grow their own crops and herbs. This initiative aims to develop a sense of ownership and belonging and positively contribute to the therapeutic needs of Maltese communities.
The Giving Garden is also promoting the importance and relevance of fresh and healthy local food and highlight the importance of pollinators as keystone species. Join one of our sessions in 2020
Good Food Good Living
In 2019 we hosted a two-day live-in around the theme of good food. The camp consisted of workshop sessions around activism, showing positive examples of sustainable agriculture and discussions around a better food production model, and also more practical sessions such as foraging walks, making preserves and growing crops.
Ċine’Ambjent | Environmental Justice Film Fest 2019
This year we’ve organised our first Environmental Film Festival—Ċine’Ambjent 2019 in Floriana.
Ċine’Ambjent is a non-profit film festival providing local communities with a wide range of new and thought-provoking environmental films over a 2-day program. The film festival will be showcasing short films from around the globe dealing with climate change, agriculture, plastic pollution, global inequalities, resilience and relationships people cultivate with the natural landscape. Prior to the film festival we also organised a film club of 10 sessions relating to different environmental issues, from the environmental impacts of the fashion industry to transport and mobility. You can watch the panel discussions that followed the movies by clicking here
Act for Climate Now – Declare climate emergency
The climate crisis is the most pertinent global issue that we are facing. We demand that politicians make decisions to safeguard the future now, not later! During September we organised a Week of Action in Malta to demand that the government Declares a Climate Emergency. We also joined young people in Valletta for the international climate strike to put an end to the age of fossil fuels and demand climate justice.
As promised, we have organised more Repair Cafe events during 2019. 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 hope to organise a few more in 2020 – stay tuned!
Politika Nadifa, Soċjetà Ġusta
It is rather difficult to focus on the environmental situation in a vacuum without keeping in mind the current political situation the country finds itself in as the year comes to an end. 2019 will definitely be the year when it became even clearer than ever before that there can be no environmental justice without fair and democratic institutions and structures.
The value systems brought about by politicians and their “as long as the economy is growing anything goes” mantra have now led to some of the biggest environmental and social injustices suffered by the country.
Together with other non-partisan NGOs we have taken an active role in standing up and voicing our concerns. We firmly believe that it is time to say no to the bipartisan stranglehold, rampant corruption, arrogance, the business class and its bankrolling of a filthy, murderous political system.
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.
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.
Zero Waste Christmas
Our last event for the year – Zero Waste Christmas. The aim behind this fun event was our motivation to make this holiday season a greener by not generating waste, being crafty and thirty and by giving things we don’t use a new life. This was an informal event with various workshops, where we encouraged people to contribute with skills and knowledge so that we all learn from each other!
Clothes swapping, upcycling, home products & cosmetics and Christmas wrapping were some of the things we did…