Missing the Woods for the trees

The past two days a number of posts have been going around facebook about the Maltese environment, trees being cut down or BBQs requiring permits. Yet from all of this hullabaloo, we miss the most important thing.

Yes, a tree was cut down in Attard, a tree was cut down in Valletta; and yes, it’s a horrible event when decades-old trees that have seen their fair share of history get decimated overnight.

What are the woods that we risk missing?

We risk missing the fact that farmers barely earn a living wage, which allows them to be able to maintain their fields. Thus, they would rather sell off their land, or build a ten-story highrise of apartments and sell them off.

We risk missing that certain government officials are said to give you special permission to build on land that should otherwise remain undeveloped. Yet if you lubricate the procedure a bit, it just might pass through the “Stringent” and “Rigorous” governmental environmental policy.

We risk missing the fact that we have 33+ new cars on the road daily, and no one thinks of a plan for the future. Instead of a sustainable public transport policy or encouraging alternative means, such a the use of bicycles, the authorities add more and more lanes. These are added to roads which are heavily congested, locked in traffic almost all the waking hours of the day.

The reality is that we know all of this, and many of us understand how the country is being made to work. Yet most of us are scared to speak up, and with reason. For we stand to lose our jobs, our social standing, our permits (legally acquired) getting revoked, or getting labelled as a traitor or heretic.

It is upsetting to see a country with so much to offer being subdued by the interests of the financial backers of the ruling party.

A.H.

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