In Malta’s Sustainable Development Vision of 2050, greener ways of living are outlined across a chunky 52-page manifest with a lot of words. Because few will have the time or patience to go through this document, we decided to read through the plan and summarise it into easy-to-digest points. The masterplan, made available online last year, proposes various plans drawn up to reduce our carbon emissions.
The masterplan takes the eco-bull by the horns. It’s first goal is to enforce businesses to create a more durable and long-lasting products. This is attractive on paper. It’s fine to ask individuals and homeowners to be more sustainable, but it’s business who – by a wide margin – contribute more to waste. On the other hand, enforcing big businesses is easier said than done.
How many times did we have to change an electronic device – which includes integral and non-sustainable parts – because it dies after a couple of years? Sustainability in production will save us so much time and money; another perk highlighted in the manifesto: ‘This approach can help recyclers to disassemble products in order to recover valuable materials and components to save precious resources.’
Quick note: Speaking of phones, a good example of sustainability in this area is the fairphone.
Investment in research and innovation
In the future, the government promises to provide better access to means of research to help companies make smart and ecological decisions.
Sustainable buildings and urban development
Malta is currently going through a building-boom in which many high-rises buildings are being planned and built around the island for property or office use. Although it seems unlikely given that we haven’t seen any fruit of progress occurring on our tropical archipelago, the government proposes to issue buildings which cater both toward better the environment as well as the work space. Some features of this can be found below.
Protecting, conserving and enhancing
Resources are the backbone of every economy, but the consumption of such is difficult when said resources are limited. According to the report, maintaining a strong and appropriate use of our resources shall be implemented to better our goal for sustainability.
Soil is one of these limited resources that we have which is very difficult to manoeuvre on account of the Malta’s arid climate. The government proposes that we take certain steps to conserve it as much as possible.
Water Quality and Management
Like soil, fresh drinking water is also becoming scarce. But don’t lock yourself in your emergency bunker just yet! Our government is implementing ways to invest in alternative sources of water, while also thinking of methods in which we can reuse rain water in the ways many other countries are (i.e.: used in flushing systems).
On a more positive (and less Mc Carthy’s The Road) note, the government wishes to implement research of indigenous plant species in order to conserve then as a ‘genetic insurance in the face of environmental crisis’.
Ok, so it sounds a little bit apocalyptic, but it’s conservation, so we don’t mind.
Fair and inclusive labour market
In order to apply such promising tactics to better our environment, changes in our social system need to take place. The manifesto addresses this issue by promising new quality jobs as this too plays a part in the making of a healthy environment: ‘The realisation of Malta’s Sustainable Development Vision for 2050 will not be possible without social inclusion.’ They promise to:
Combat poverty and social exclusion
Provide the conditions for the development of human potential through inclusive labour market and education and training
Ensure good health and well-being
Build safe and integrated communities
High quality education and training
Along with providing a better labour market, education as to how to work said market is necessary- it goes without saying. In order to create a more sustainable future, citizens must become ‘sustainability change-makers. They require the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that empower them to contribute to sustainable development.’
Teaching individuals how to live sustainably – especially those who don’t know any other way to live except the way they were taught when they were younger – will only help Malta reach its goals for sustainability sooner.
If we go by the suggestions raised in the masterplan, it would seem many valuable measures are being considered; of course, whether promises will be turned into action is another story. Remember the big, patriotic speeches and promises about the environment on the eve of budgets and elections? Actions speak louder than words. And when the actions involve noisy cranes, they’re hard to ignore. (On this note: We now even have an Instagram page for all the cranes that can be found in Malta!)
The idea of building sustainably is definitely there in Malta’s Sustainable Development Vision for 2050. What is most important, however, is these promises coming to fruition. Has Malta not fooled itself in the past with our promise to reduce our carbon footprint at the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol of 1997?
Will we become a green haven, or a cinder block?
Our team at House Malta is always on the look-out for spaces, places, and things that are being built up, torn down, modernised, restored, or re-purposed – be it by a big team or a one-man(or woman)-army.
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