“Climate Change Is Real, And It Is High Time That World Leaders Stick To Their Net Zero Commitments!”Eco-Warrior Award Winner Raises Concern

With several offshore oil and gas exploration projects in the works and in the pipeline, The Green Connection continues to raise awareness about negative impacts that oil and gas extraction could have for coastal communities in South Africa. This is the mandate of the organisation’s Community Outreach Coordinator Neville van Rooy, an environmental enthusiast who was recently awarded (on 22 September 2022) the prestigious Eco-Warrior award for successfully defending the environment and oceans against exploitation of natural resources through community mobilization.

According to van Rooy, “I dedicate this Eco-Warrior award to the many coastal communities who continue to teach me, through our interactions, during my many community visits over the past 3 years. I have always been passionate about nature and my aspiration was to ensure the Earth’s natural resources are protected and not harmed.”

Neville Van Rooy at the Ecologic Awards

He says, “Oil and gas are fossil fuels that cause climate change, which places disadvantaged communities at even further risk of floods, droughts and heatwaves. We hope, now that COP27 has concluded, that we will see world leaders from developed nations funding developing nations’ transition to sustainable sources of energy, without having to payback high tax or interest, since our countries are at risk of being severely affected by climate change.”

The intensifying climate crisis is the catalyst for The Green Connection’s letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, which calls on government to annually publish a National Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) – the plan which should provide a roadmap for the country’s energy investments. After years of not publishing the IEP, the eco-justice organisation questions the energy department’s persistent investing in climate change-causing fossil fuel projects. With an energy plan, South Africa will have a strategy for dealing with the energy crisis and, by investing in renewables, reduce carbon emissions to well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2030.

“Developing countries cannot access the finance needed to invest in sustainable development and reduce poverty,” says United Nations Secretary António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres. It is crucial that industrialised countries – that have hugely contributed to the climate crisis – come to the party and provide assistance to impoverished countries to make the shift from the reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

“During The Green Connection’s International Oceans Tribunal, coastal communities raised concerns of ocean acidification – caused by climate change – which would affect their catch. Many are dissatisfied that government continues to bring oil and gas projects because these will not create employment for the youth but will instead disrupt existing jobs in the fishing and tourism industry. Therefore, to me, this award is an indication that community voices matter and that there is power in people standing up together to fight for environmental injustices,” says van Rooy.

Neville Van Rooy is a Community Outreach Coordinator for The Green Connection who has extensive experience working with coastal communities, to protect people and the environment against unsustainable development.

Join the movement and sign The Green Connection’s petition to stop offshore oil and gas exploration.


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