Malta is set to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting for the second time in late November this year. With Queen Elizabeth heading the CHOGM, and accompanied by her husband Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, it would be a good opportunity to put the environment on the agenda…
…but we shouldn’t hold our breaths. It would be quite ironic if the CHOGM fora were to touch on the issue of sustainability and the environment when Malta consistently flaunts national and European environmental legislation. In any case, CHOGM 2015 is an opportunity wasted for Malta and its environment credentials, especially when Prince Charles has been a vociferous advocate of sustainability and climate impacts for many decades.
The Prince of Wales is the patron and president of several charities that form part of The Prince’s Charities Foundation, which also deals with issues of sustainability and wildlife crime. He has been regularly involved in the climate change discourse, pushing for a more balanced use of resources and advocating governments to fall-in line with switching to a greener economy.
It would be interesting if Prince Charles were to perhaps speak about ending wildlife crimes in Malta, such as spring hunting and finch trapping which are outlawed by the EU. Or possibly point out issues of illegal wildlife trade in Malta, given the increase of the illegal smuggling of live song birds from Italy. What about mentioning to Joseph Muscat that allowing an illegal Zoo to operate at Montekristo Estates, with countless protected and endangered species, is a big no no?
One may ponder on this, and hope that Prince Charles’ candid attitude towards issues of such a sensitive nature would entice him to publicly ask Joseph Muscat a question or two.
Let us just hope that the government will not cart out our goodwill ambassador for sustainable development for the sake of her pretending to care about the environment. You know how evasive she is of things that have a political undertone, and we wouldn’t want her to have to take a stance on any environmental/sustainability issue that is part of a political agenda.
In any case, here is a fabulous statement by the Prince of Wales that practically sums up all that is wrong with Malta at the moment, and how our generation is irresponsibly destroying the local environment for the sake of a sea view apartment and a couple of extra Euros:
“History will not judge us by how much economic growth we achieve in the immediate years ahead, nor by how much we expand material consumption, but by the legacy for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
We are consuming what is rightfully theirs by sacrificing long-term progress on the altar of immediate satisfaction. That is hardly responsible behaviour. There is an urgent need for all of us to concentrate our efforts on sustaining, nurturing and protecting the Earth’s natural capital and, moreover, reshaping our economic system so that Nature sits at the very heart of our thinking”