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September 2008

Building sustainable communities in Malta

If you ever visit Malta you’ll clearly see that the country needs viable, sustainable human settlements. One year ago, we had some talks with my friend Vince Caruana who is assistant at the Center for Environmental Education and Research, University of Malta. We decided to identify a group of young people interested in making some small changes in their life and taking environmental leadership to make the future of Malta more sustainable. Sustainable communities and ecovillages all around the world provide concrete ways to diminish our ecological footprint. They are small but significant examples of environmental, social, economic and spiritual sustainability that are of great inspiration.

Soon, it appeared that the Youth Alive Foundation, which for many years has worked with young people, had a similar idea. More than the idea, they had a place in Marsascala they wanted to transform in an ecological center for voluntary work. In May, I visited them and we made some plans for the coming year. First of all, they needed capacity building. So we organized a course that was held in


the end of July. It was a great pleasure for me to be their main host and to introduce them to important topics like permaculture and ecovillage design, agroecology, the use of renewables, etc. Here is the program of the public lectures we hold in the evenings. In the morning, I worked more closely with the volunteers on the strategic planning of the place. There were about 25 participants. They all shared the feeling that the course was a success.

Of course, this was only a starting point, and I know most of the participants are busy trying to put in practice what they have learned. The Future in Our Hands: introductory course on eco-living practices and sustainable communities July 24th: Global and local environmental challenges Both the world and Malta are waking up to climate change and other effects of unsustainable growth. We shall look at some of the global and local challenges we are facing today and introduce the concept of ecological footprint. July 25th: The archeology of the idea of sustainable development The second session will be dedicated to the institutional answers to the degradation of our environment, and their limits. A specific attention will be given to history of the concept of Sustainable Development, the results of the Earth Summit , the EU Sustainable Development Strategy. July 26th and 27th: Field visits to organic farms


July 28th: The challenge of building sustainable communities: the global ecovillage network Sustainable societies need sustainable communities. The global ecovillage network provide concrete examples of grassroots initiatives for local sustainability. July 29th: Sustainable food and agriculture After visioning a documentary on the Cuban experience, we'll discuss the concepts of food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture. July 30th: Local Agenda 21 Local Agenda 21 is an approach to participatory planning that can be used by local communities, towns and cities to improve the environment, including social, economic and political linkages. The approach has also some success with schools. July 31st: Final discussion and farewell party Article by Eric E. van Monckhoven

The course has been made possible because of the contribution of the Youth In Action program of the EU.

building sustainable communities in malta  

course presentation

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