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Archbishop visits green roof project at University

Issues related to quality of life central to Church’s teaching – Mgr Scicluna

Project manager Antoine Gatt (second from left) showing Archbishop Charles Scicluna (centre) the plants forming part of the faculty’s green roof.

Project manager Antoine Gatt (second from left) showing Archbishop Charles Scicluna (centre) the plants forming part of the faculty’s green roof.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna recently visited the Life Med Green Roof project at the University of Malta’s Faculty for the Built Environment. The project aims to create a baseline study on green roofs to encourage the adoption of the technology in Malta’s urban areas.

The benefits of green roofs are well documented, and many countries are introducing incentives and policies to encourage the adoption of roof greening. They help to reduce flooding due to storm water run-off, insulate the building from the sun’s energy, shrink the carbon footprint of buildings by the lowering electricity consumption for air conditioning, trap air pollution and provide habitats for a diversity of beneficial wildlife such as bees, which are endangered due to pesticides and other agrochemicals.

The project has shown that green roofs can be successfully set up with no danger to the underlying structure. The type of vegetation used will dictate the amount of maintenance needed, although native plant species or other Mediterranean climate type plants require less resources.

Green roofs are important to render towns and cities more liveable and sustainable and can help mitigate urban related problems to contribute to a better quality of life for residents. They are a way of giving back to nature part of what has been taken away due to urbanisation by creating a more attractive and pleasant living environment.

The Archbishop said issues related to quality of life are central to the Church’s teaching, which proposes an authentic human development where people’s well-being is dependent on the health of the natural environment.

Addressing faculty students during his visit, Mgr Scicluna said: “Excessive and unsustainable development and environmental degradation are negatively impacting the lives of many. Some of the consequences of such actions are either discounted as not important or are not immediately obvious.

“Increasing personal wealth and greed has often created a self-centred society where little thought is given to the effects of one’s actions and where environmental accountability and responsibility are often ignored. Unfortunately, the resulting suffering is mostly born by those who are more vulnerable or less fortunate.

“The Church considers the damage of the natural environment due to urbanisation and human activity to be of increasing concern, as is evident in Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home, with its urgent call for an integral ecology. Nature is God’s creation and a heritage which human beings are duly bound to protect.

“Given that more than 50 per cent of the global human population lives in an urban environment one may unfortunately easily develop the perception that humans and nature are separate and that people are able to exist without nature. This is not the case; for not only is man an integral part of nature, but humankind cannot survive without it.

“Nature provides human beings with ecosystem services, which are central to the survival of the human race. Services such as pollination, provision of materials, replenishment of oxygen and aesthetic quality are but some of these benefits that render life more pleasant. However, man not only needs to protect nature for his own survival but he is also morally bound to protect it for its own intrinsic value.”

The project is partially funded through Lifeplus, the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects.  For more information visit the website below or e-mail lifemedgreenroof@um.edu.mt.

www.lifemedgreenroof.org

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