Karoo Activist Demand A Just Energy Transition Plan and A Frack-Free Environment
In pursuit of a frack free environment and clean energy, Warren Blouw and Danny Davidson from the Karoo – devoted eco-justice activists and alumni of The Green Connection’s Legacy programme – are hard at work creating widespread awareness about this issue. In May 2021, these two remarkable activists led a peaceful demonstration to draw attention to their concerns for the precious underground water sources in the Karoo.
“The Karoo is well-known as a water-scarce area and sometimes we are solely dependent on boreholes, which we cannot risk. And now, with the developments that government is bringing such as exploring for gas in our area, we are very concerned about our precious water sources becoming polluted. This could lead to dangerous health issues and agricultural problems. What about the risks involved with the equipment that the oil and gas companies use to frack? These may lead to major consequences like explosions, which will ruin our water,” says Blouw.
Davidson adds, “Fracking may not lead to the development of our communities, instead will mean taking 10 steps back as they are in a region with water scarcity and the livelihoods of people will be damaged.”
These champions are working closely with commercial and emerging black subsistence farmers around the issue of fracking and how the agricultural industry would be negatively impacted if these projects take off. Communities have highlighted concerns at not being involved in public consultations regarding developments happen in the area, where government structures have started to explore the types of gas the Karoo has.
The community continues to point out that they do not want fracking and call on the Department of Mineral Energy and Resources (DMRE) to implement renewable energy, phasing out fossil fuels, as a matter of urgency. Local councilors must take their mandate from the communities (and not simply tow their parties’ line) and they ensure that their communities are included and have a seat at the decision-making table, particularly when it comes to their environment. The communities’ inputs must be recognised and included in all plans.
These enthusiastic Legacy activists say they remain grateful to The Green Connection for the opportunity to develop their knowledge of environmental rights, while developing the skills (and confidence) to demand that they be recognised as valuable stakeholders in government’s development plans.
The Green Connection Legacy Programme equips the Green Connectors with advocacy skills to fight against environmental and socio-economic injustices through workshops and mentoring.
Written By: Lisa Makaula and Natasha Adonis