Living what we preach

When we gather to protest against roads such as the proposed Central Link project we should ask ourselves how much we are actually prepared to give up

I am not in the mood of promoting BBC Earth but sometimes I drive myself to watch documentaries about nature and geography.

I do this to encourage my children to give up the hogwash that emanates from US TV sitcoms for kids.

There is a BBC series that enjoys discovering people who live in the wild. These are persons who have nurtured the art of autarky and discovered the skills of hunters in the wild. They live a very frugal life and were it not for the designer brands on their winter clothes you would really not notice that you were in this century.

Welcome to the brand of independent professionals who have realised that there is more than life in the city. These are people who fled to the wilderness to live in virginal settings and uphold the values of a purely green life, away from it all.

In the last programme I watched, the woman was asked what she wanted most. She asked for a companion, a handsome man, who could love and share her same spiritual values.

Well, there you go.

Of course, if everyone did exactly what she did, the cities of this world would depopulate and become the real wilderness.

The truth is that we all make massive compromises to live our life. Most of us love our cars and enjoy holidays as we travel on airplanes that use tonnes of aviation fuel.

Most of us enjoy hi-tech, but often look the other way when we hear from which mines the special materials to construct these gadgets originate. Not to mention the horrible working conditions imposed on the workers extracting these minerals.

Most of us devour meat but have never had to visit an abattoir and watch animals being killed or dismembered, or seen the horrible conditions most of these animals live in.

Neither do we ask ourselves what and who makes our furniture in Asia and the forests that are uprooted to produce them and who assembles
our TVs or the underage
kids toiling in horrible working circumstances to weave our carpets.

We drink and wash with water but we tend to forget that most of the water is produced by reverse osmosis plants that consume a lot of electricity. And the list goes on: from the food we eat, to the waste we produce, to the homes we live in, the quarries we pillage to build our homes, the bricks from the cement factories, to the aluminium for our windows, which comes from bauxite found in huge mines that are one of the worst environmental activities.

The truth is that the word ‘compromise’ is the essence of why humans exist and are at the top of the food chain.

The very ugly truth is that our success is our doom.

So, when we gather to protest against roads such as the one of the Central Link project devised by the Nationalist government well before 2006 and enshrined in the local plans baptised by George Pullicino, and now implemented by this Labour administration, we should ask ourselves how much we are ready to sacrifice.

Until the age of 35 I never drove a car, then finally I gave in.

Today I work from my car and without it I would not function. I love my independence.

How many have not had a car at age 35?

The fight for the environment needs to be rationalised. We need to put those people who live as they preach at the forefront of this battle. Those who are not shining examples should really walk the plank.

And those who have spent all their life making money from construction and decimating large tracts of Malta’s footprint, should really have their heads checked when they decide to partake in the contagious debate on how we are eradicating this country’s culture and beauty.

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I am writing this opinion before we know the outcome of what the councillors at the PN general conference have decided.

But I will take the risk and imagine that Delia will be reconfirmed leader.

Delia’s victory will not stop individuals like Jason Azzopardi from putting spokes in the wheels.

I recall when Azzopardi was a backbencher and constantly lamented when Eddie Fenech Adami had not appointed him junior minister.

I remember his moaning then, even though today his Facebook page has a cropped image of Fenech Adami.

Delia has two problems. If he does win, he needs to have a shadow cabinet reshuffle to have his own men behind him.

He needs to do a Boris Johnson and surround himself with people who can work with him. The dissidents are well known, if he wants to continue getting tripped up then he should keep Beppe Fenech Adami and the rest of the gang.

If he wants to take his team to the fighting line then he needs his men and women.

The second and most important consideration is to turn the PN into a political formation that stands for something.

If Delia continues to base his politics on being reactive then he will be always 10 steps behind Joseph Muscat. He needs to inject some vitality and excitement in the party with campaigns about things that matter. He needs to widen his reach and move beyond the party core. Delia may have delivered a speech many decades ago to the PN council as a young MZPN representative, but Malta is a very different place today with little reverence for the past and its iconic leaders.

When Boris Johnson addressed his first press conference on the steps of Downing Street, he talked of the issues that people really cared about – the NHS, pensions, people’s struggles to make ends meet – and in this way, took the focus away from the Brexit narrative.

Delia needs to do just that.

Intelligently, he needs to come up with a blueprint that will take the focus away from his political ills and make himself appear like someone with a vision.