Mickey Malta

Notes from the zone where 'normal' things don't happen very often

Archive for the ‘The Environment’ Category

Hunters shoot at anything. Period

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Live and let live

I can’t understand why hunters get offended when we say that they shoot anything that moves. I guess that the truth hurts. Now that they can’t shoot birds in Spring, some of them are aiming their guns at different targets.

Someone shot at a cart in Manikata last Saturday, and it turns out that this was being used by Birdlife volunteers. I wonder who. Hmmmmmmmmmmm, Let me think. Elementary my dear Lino. If this poor car was moving, I would understand that the self-fulfilling prophecy must have got the better of some hunters (remember, they shoot at anything that moves). But this car was parked, for heaven’s sake. It wasn’t even moving or flying!

I guess that we have to update the saying to: hunters shoot at anything. Period.


Written by mickeymalta

19/04/2010 at 09:10

FKNK at the Apollo

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Ladies and Gentlemen . . . . welcome to Live at the Apollo . . . exclusively from Malta . . . . A FKNK Production . . . KIll...Thrill

Ladies and Gentlemen . . . . welcome to Live at the Apollo . . . exclusively from Malta . . . . A FKNK Production . . . KIll...Thrill

In the absence of good stand-up comedy acts, we have a number of people who volunteer to perform some creatively weird acts from time to time.

As I’m sitting a few metres away from the Apollo theatre in London, I’m seriously considering talking to the management into giving the FKNK top brass a chance for an audition. They are hilarious. They’re a unique cocktail blending a serious lack of a sense of irony with huge chips on shoulders: an award-winning cocktail indeed. I also took the initiative to come up with a title for this show: “Kill ….. Thrill”.

I’m still bent down in laughter and wiping tears from my eyes. My colleagues thought that someone must have spiked my breakfast this morning. The truth is that this fit was not a result happy substance. It’s my reaction to the FKNK’s reaction to illegal shooting. They issued a press release condemning the recent illegal hunting activity. I was, quite naively perhaps, expecting the Federation to offer any form of possible assistance to the authorities to help them identify the perpetrators, and make sure that they’re brought to justice.

Instead, like a suspense thriller, the press release takes an (un)expected twist. All of a sudden, the FKNK lashes out an acrimonious attack on the ban on Spring hunting. I have to quote their own words verbatim, as it’s so hilarious, that I’m afraid I would spoil it if I had to report in my own words:

“These reports have proved yet again that not opening the traditional hunting season for the otherwise legal quarry as the turtle dove and the quail in Spring, has done nothing to stop these few law-breakers who still persist in shooting protected species,” ……….

“It is morally wrong and unfair that the government is banning traditional hunting and trapping because it fails to control the few irresponsible law-breakers, and the thousands of bona fide hunters and trappers are suffering very serious health and mental consequences, a couple of which have already led to tragedies”

So there you have it. Next time you see anyone getting affectionate with a fly or doing cartwheel turns in the middle of the pitch dark St Venera tunnels, you have the answer: it’s another hunter who doesn’t have a clue how to kill time (is that a pun?).

Tragically, FKNK decided to resort to emotional blackmail, and it seems to be attributing the responsibility for the incidents committed (willingly) by hunters who went berserk because of the hunting ban to all non hunters. No one forced the two individuals to perform the actions they did so, please stop putting the blame on us. When is this Federation going to stop digging a its own grave deeper and deeper?

I hate quoting myself, but in this case it may be the only option. If the FKNK wants to convince us to, maybe contemplate or dwell on the idea to possibly starting to consider to give credit to what they’re saying, they should get their act together and show commitment towards the rule of law.

This is the same Federation that organised a number of protests, even recently, where participants got violent and people were injured. This is the same Federation whose leaders use aggressive language whenever they address their supporters. This is the Federation that represents men with guns and blood on their hands (even though it’s animal blood, it still is blood). This Federation refers to killing as a sport. This is a Federation that fails to realise that it enjoys no support whatsoever from anyone outside its members. Unlike other organisations, it’s not indifference that non hunters feel towards the issue, but revulsion.

That’s due to the attitude of a number of hunters towards us common folk, and because these poor hunters are represented by buffoons who shall be performing at the London Apollo quite soon.

Be advised, though, there is a huge risk that the performance would be short lived as it is quite possible for this production to be shot down by management because of poor quality and nonsense talk from the performers.

Written by mickeymalta

22/04/2009 at 12:41


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""This poacher was photographed hunting for three hours on April 15 at San Martin. All of BirdLife's footage and photos have been forwarded to the police for further investigation." The Times

""This poacher was photographed hunting for three hours on April 15 at San Martin. All of BirdLife's footage and photos have been forwarded to the police for further investigation." The Times

A report in today’s The Times:

Two men cover their faces with white balaclavas and run through a wheat-field wielding shotguns. They have been reported for hunting illegally, and despite their attempts to flee, the police have quickly intercepted them and taken them in for questioning.

This is just one of the incidents witnessed by the BirdLife’s team of birdwatchers who have come to Malta from eight different countries to record bird migration and keep an eye open for illegalities.

They use similar tactics as the hunters, hiding in bushes and waiting for their targets to expose themselves unwittingly. But their weapons are video cameras and mobile phones, and as soon as they witness an illegality, they alert the police.

Hunting is illegal in spring and has been since last year but videos shot by BirdLife’s team in the past week show some hunters are ignoring the law.

BirdLife yesterday showed the media footage portraying hunters shooting next to residential areas, killing protected birds and running from the police. One video showed two men beating a bird with a rock and then stashing it in a rubble wall.

“The police are doing an amazing job with their limited resources. But their resources are very limited. It was only after we spoke to the Office of the Prime Minister that things have improved,” BirdLife president Joseph Mangion told a press conference yesterday.

He said many times when reports were made, the police would not arrive in time to catch the perpetrators.

BirdLife said more than 950 shots were recorded by its team in the past nine days. Since the beginning of March, 17 shot protected birds were passed on to BirdLife, compared to four during the same period last year.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of shot birds compared to last year. Many poachers are making the most of the season with impunity to the law,” he explained.

The government had to commit itself to developing a Wildlife Crime Unit to carry out investigations and work side by side by the police, he said.

“We are not going to give in. Malta can benefit from things like eco-tourism, since we are lucky enough to be on the migration route. But these things are damaging out reputation.”

He said that in response to more surveillance, the hunters had employed new tactics, like shooting birds while they were asleep at night, or using muffled guns.

He said not all hunters were defying the law and it was unfair on those who obeyed the law if those who committed illegalities were let off lightly.

When contacted, the hunter’s federation, FKNK slammed BirdLife’s tactics and said all these allegations were simply part of an ongoing misleading campaign.

“The media is not interested and doesn’t seem to care what hunters and trappers are being subjected to, both health wise and mentally,” FKNK spokesman Joe Perici Calascione said.

“If you bother to ask around, you will probably get to know about two if not three terrible tragedies that occurred just last week as a direct consequence of the ban on Malta’s traditional socio-cultural passions, and which are not reported in the media,” he added, without specifying.

When asked whether FKNK agreed with BirdLife’s Wildlife Crime Unit proposal, he said the federation had always condemned any illegal hunting.

“We believe the police are already going out of their way in this issue and do not deserve this obsessive and unfair criticism from BirdLife.”http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090421/local/poachers-making-most-of-the-season

 I find Perici Calascione’s statements quite interesting. I must admit that his creativity is commendable. “The media is not interested and doesn’t seem to care what hunters and trappers are being subjected to, both health wise and mentally”.

If I’m not mistaken, it’s the tourists, families, and individuals that are on the receiving end of threats and gun pointing.  What does he actually mean by “an ongoing misleading campaign”? Was he actually implying that Birdlife paid someone to pose as a hunter wearing a balaclava and film him shooting at birds?

Had I not been living in the same country, I could have possibly contemplated the remote idea of giving Perici Calasione the benefit of the doubt. But unfortunately for him, I have seen the lengths that some, and I repat some, hunters are willing to go to in order to satisfy their urges.

If the FKNK wants to be credible, it should collaborate with the police to help them identify the hunters who flout the law, and make sure that they are prosecuted accordingly. This is what good willed Imams and religious leaders in UK Muslim communities are doing. They are constantly helping police to identify potential Islamic extremists, and they make sure that these are removed from their communities. Collaboration is a much more powerful tool than attack; both in terms of effectivness, and in terms of public relations.

I do agree, however, with Perici Calascione’s definition of recent events as being ‘tragic’ as I heard what happened to the people he’s referring to. The only thing I can say is that in both cases, it was the individuals’ choice to take the actions they took. No one forced them to do so.

To justify irrational behaviour by arguing that the ban on Spring hunting is literally driving people nuts is dangerous and irresponsible. Every single person is responsible for his/her actions.

The government should make a clear statement on this issue and ban hunting for the rest of the year, and every consecutive year until those FEW hunters who flout the law realise that, like the rest of us, they are subject to the rule of law, and that might is NOT right.

Written by mickeymalta

21/04/2009 at 18:12

Dr Deidun exceeds my expectations

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Thumbs up for Dr Deidun

Thumbs up for Dr Deidun

On the 6 April, I posted a follow-up comment on my green suggestion. By that time, I was still waiting for Dr Alan Deidun to reply.

He got back to me yesterday with a reasonable and perfrectly acceptable reason for the delay in getting back to me. However, he went a step further and gave me his mobile number so that we meet and discuss this issue next week. I look forward to doing this, and I will keep you updated with the developments.

This is an abstract of his email: “Hi Mickey – apologies my late reply. This is not borne out of disrespect but of lack of time, since I am leading most of my campaign. Your proposal is mostly valid – I don’t agree with 2 small points you make however:

1 It is very difficult to store energy on a large scale
2 A study showed that if we were to cover all our rooftops with pv’s, we would still only glean 7% of our energy supplies – wind is much more cost-effective than solar at the end of the day – my mobile number is XXXXXXXX – pls give me a call after next Saturday and we can meet since I have loads of literature to pass on

Hope I have been of help in some way or another and pls excuse me again.”

Written by mickeymalta

13/04/2009 at 11:44

Maybe I’m not that green after all

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Monday, 6th April 2009

Doubts over wind farm

‘Alternative energy schemes not good enough’

Claudia Calleja

Foreign experts have told the government that an offshore wind farm at Sikka L-Bajda off Mellieħa was not viable, Alternattiva Demokratika said yesterday.

The party has demanded that the German experts’ conclusions be published, claiming it has information that the offshore project’s viability has been ruled out.

“Let the government prove us wrong… which I hope we are, for the country’s sake. Can we see the experts’ results?” party chairman Arnold Cassola asked.

The experts, he said, were consulted by the government after the €130 million project was announced in the last budget. When pressed, he insisted that his sources were reliable.

Asked to confirm the claim, the resources ministry said: “We have no such information”.

However, the ministry’s spokeman would not reveal the experts’ conclusions when asked for them, saying they would be made public “at the opportune moment”.

He pointed out that even though no announcements had been made so far, the preparatory work was ongoing and has included the submission of an application to the Malta Environment and Planning Authority for a wind monitoring mast at Aħrax Point to complement the various studies and reports already in hand.

There is a lot riding on the wind farm in terms of Malta’s strategy to come in line with the EU’s energy target, which is to generate at least 10 per cent of its energy from renewable energy resources by 2020. It is estimated that the farm would provide around four per cent of Malta’s energy requirements.

The application with the planning authority, filed two months ago, is for a temporary 80-metre-long wind mast to be installed at Aħrax Point in Mellieħa (the closest point to the offshore reef) to monitor wind in the area.

Prof. Cassola said he, together with AD’s other MEP candidate Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros, would work towards speeding up the rate at which Malta was tapping into alternative energy sources.

The government’s schemes for the purchase of solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels were good, he said. However, while about 4,600 families benefited from them, they did not reach out to enough people if Malta was to reach the EU targets.

(Excerpt from http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090406/local/doubts-over-wind-farm)

Maybe we should drown this dream once and for all, and focus on resources that are already available like . . . . rooftops

Maybe we should drown this dream once and for all, and focus on resources that are already available like . . . . rooftops

If there is one thing I hate is people quoting themselves, but this time I’m left with no other option.

On the 2 April, I posted a suggestion on this blog where I suggested that the government uses people’s rooftops to install photovoltaic panels and wind generators. This will result in a huge saving on capital investment, and the government can invest the money allocated to this capex on energy devices.

We’re nowhere near the EU target, and there’s very little doubt that we will miss the 10% alternative energy target by 2020. This will undoubtedly result in hefty fines from Brussels.

I sent an email TWICE to Dr Alan Deidun to ask about his feedback on this suggestion. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any form of feedback – not even an acknowledgement.

Dr Deidun’s feedback would be very important on these matters as he’s an expert. On the other hand, I asked Alternattiva for their feedback, and received the following message in less than 24 hours:


Your suggestion is an interesting alternative take on our Green New Deal, aimed at economic incentives to create green employment opportunities. Shortly, the Green Party will be concretely explaining its proposals about the matter, and your suggestion will be also taken on board.

For more information on the Green New Deal being proposed by the European Green Party and endorsed by all its member and observer parties, please check out, among other sources,http://europeangreens.eu/petition/

AD2009 campaign team


Now that experts said that is-Sikka l-Bajda is not viable, the government should really be looking at practical solutions to start tackling this issue fast once and for all.

The clock is ticking . . . .

Written by mickeymalta

06/04/2009 at 17:48

Please excuse my ignorance as I’m completely green on this matter, but I’d like to share this suggestion anyway

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There have been a number of ideas thrown around from time to time about the energy strategy we should adopt in the future. In typical Rocker and Italian-like fashion, we’ve been discussing for years till we got blue in the face and meanwhile . . . . . nothing got done.

So we spoke about land reclamation for solar panels, shallow water and/or deep water wind farms, waste incineration, buying energy from Siciliy, and possibly other ways of providing power to The Rock.

When I look at these suggestions, I ask why should we spend so much money on creating huge energy farms when we don’t even have enough space for the people to roam around? What if the government had to negotiate a good deal (based on economies of scale) with top manufacturers of photovoltaic panels and domestic wind turbines, and then distribute these at a ridiculous price (nothing comes for free – even if people had to pay a nominal fee) for the home consumer?

This way, we will be saving on the capital investment of reclaiming land and installing offshore wind turbines. We would also do away with long networks of cables (meaning less energy inefficiency, maintenance, damage risks, etc). Families will have their own ‘mini power station’ on their own rooftops.

Having a good mix of solar and wind energy will ensure continuity, as the latter will still be able to generate energy at night while the former will perform well on cloudless days. This will even make more sense if the energy generated is stored in a battery, or some other form of energy storage device,  to be used when and as necessary.

Needless to say, prior to the distribution, experts would need to study which kind of devices should be installed in any given area so as to maximise on the natural elements.  If this had to happen, there would definitely be a mix of both energy generators on every street, but as I just said, these may vary depending on prevailing weather conditions in that particular area.

I know that this will not replace our total dependence on fossil fuels, but no reclaimed land or offshore wind farms will cover the same area as all our rooftops put together, and guess what – this won’t cost anything. Hence, the capital investment required for land reclamation  and/or the setting up offshore wind farms could be diverted to power generators on rooftops.

I know I may be completely wrong, as I’m no expert in this filed, but I think that this may be a simple solution to an issue that we’ve been discussing for far too long now.

Is this idea a 'light bulb' moment, or a whole load of hogwash?

Is this idea a ‘light bulb’ moment, or a whole load of hogwash?

Written by mickeymalta

02/04/2009 at 09:58