Home |

One Life One Land One Karoo - Don't FRACK it up!

Don't FRACK up the Karoo

Don't FRACK up the Karoo

Please support our cause against FRACKING in the Karoo by leaving a comment on the following web page:


Thank You

Karoo fracking: Shell details its plans - Read by clicking here

This is the content of a short speech given on Friday night in Cape Town by Lewis Gordon Pugh OIG (a.k.a. the Human Polar Bear) about the proposed fracking for gas in the Karoo, by Shell.

He received a sustained standing ovation !

Please read it and pass it on if it matters to you.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank for the opportunity to address you. My name is Lewis Pugh.

This evening, I want to take you back to the early 1990's in this country. You may remember them well.

Nelson Mandela had been released. There was euphoria in the air. However, there was also widespread violence and deep fear. This country teetered on the brink of a civil war. But somehow, somehow, we averted it. It was a miracle!

And it happened because we had incredible leaders. Leaders who sought calm.. Leaders who had vision. So in spite of all the violence, they sat down and negotiated a New Constitution.

I will never forget holding the Constitution in my hands for the first time.

I was a young law student at the University of Cape Town. This was the cement that brought peace to our land. This was the document, which held our country together. The rights contained herein, made us one.

I remember thinking to myself - never again will the Rights of South Africans be trampled upon.

Now every one of us - every man and every women - black, white, coloured, Indian, believer and non believer - has the right to vote. We all have the Right to Life. And our children have the right to a basic education. These rights are enshrined in our Constitution.

These rights were the dreams of Oliver Tambo. These rights were the dreams of Nelson Mandela. These rights were the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi, of Desmond Tutu and of Molly Blackburn. These rights were our dreams.

People fought ­ and died ­ so that we could enjoy these rights today.

Also enshrined in our Constitution, is the Right to a Healthy Environment and the Right to Water. Our Constitution states that we have the Right to have our environment protected for the benefit of our generation and for the benefit of future generations.

Fellow South Africans, let us not dishonour these rights. Let us not dishonour those men and women who fought and died for these rights. Let us not allow corporate greed to disrespect our Constitution and desecrate our

Never, ever did I think that there would be a debate in this arid country about which was more important ­ gas or water. We can survive without gas.... We cannot live without water.

If we damage our limited water supply ­ and fracking will do just that we will have conflict again here in South Africa. Look around the world. Wherever you damage the environment you have conflict.

Fellow South Africans, we have had enough conflict in this land ­ now is the time for peace.

A few months ago I gave a speech with former President of Costa Rica. Afterwards I asked him "Mr President, how do you balance the demands of development against the need to protect the environment?"

He looked at me and said : "It is not a balancing act. It is a simple business decision. If we cut down our forests in Costa Rica to satisfy a timber company, what will be left for our future?"

But he pointed out : "It is also a moral decision. It would be morally wrong to chop down our forests and leave nothing for my children and my grandchildren."

Ladies and gentlemen, that is what is at stake here today: Our children's future. And that of our children s children.

There may be gas beneath our ground in the Karoo. But are we prepared to destroy our environment for 5 to 10 years worth of fossil fuel and further damage our climate?

Yes, people will be employed ­ but for a short while. And when the drilling is over, and Shell have packed their bags and disappeared, then what? Who will be there to clean up? And what jobs will our children be able to eke out?

Now Shell will tell you that their intentions are honourable. That fracking in the Karoo will not damage our environment. That they will not contaminate our precious water. That they will bring jobs to South Africa.

That gas is clean and green. And that they will help secure our energy supplies.

When I hear this ­ I have one burning question. Why should we trust them? Africa is to Shell what the Gulf of Mexico is to BP.

Shell, you have a shocking record here in Africa. Just look at your operations in Nigeria. You have spilt more than 9 million barrels of crude oil into the Niger Delta. That's twice the amount of oil that BP spilt into the Gulf of Mexico.

You were found guilty of bribing Nigerian officials ­ and to make the case go away in America - you paid an admission of guilt fine of US$48 million.

And to top it all, you stand accused of being complicit in the execution of Nigeria's leading environmental campaigner ­ Ken Saro-Wira and 8 other activists.

If you were innocent, why did you pay US$15.5 million to the widows and children to settle the case out of Court?

Shell, the path you want us to take us down is not sustainable. I have visited the Arctic for 7 summers in a row. I have seen the tundra thawing.

I have seen the retreating glaciers. And I have seen the melting sea ice. And I have seen the impact of global warming from the Himalayas all the way down to the low-lying Maldive Islands. Wherever I go ­ I see it.

Now is the time for change. We cannot drill our way out of the energy crisis. The era of fossil fuels is over. We must invest in renewable energy. And we must not delay!

Shell, we look to the north of our continent and we see how people got tired of political tyranny. We have watched as despots, who have ruled ruthlessly year after year, have been toppled in a matter of weeks.

We too are tired. Tired of corporate tyranny. Tired of your short term, unsustainable practices.

We watched as Dr Ian Player, a game ranger from Natal, and his friends, took on Rio Tinto (one of the biggest mining companies in the world) and won.

And we watched as young activists from across Europe, brought you down to your knees, when you tried to dump an enormous oil rig into the North Sea.

Shell, we do not want our Karoo to become another Niger Delta.

Do not underestimate us. Goliath can be brought down. We are proud of what we have achieved in this young democracy ­ and we are not about to let your company come in and destroy it.

So let this be a Call to Arms to everyone across South Africa, who is sitting in the shadow of Goliath: Stand up and demand these fundamental human rights promised to you by our Constitution. Use your voices - tweet, blog, petition, rally the weight of your neighbours and of people in power.

Let us speak out from every hilltop. Let us not go quietly into this bleak future.

Let me end off by saying this - You have lit a fire in our bellies, which no man or woman can extinguish. And if we need to, we will take this fight all the way from your petrol pumps to the very highest Court in this land. We will take this fight from the farms and towns of the Karoo to the streets of London and Amsterdam. And we will take this fight to every one of your shareholders. And I have no doubt, that in the end, good will triumph over evil.


       A penetrating tale of eroticism in the Karoo

Shell lustfully eyes its crust with a view to fracking it for profit

Mar 26, 2011 11:42 PM | By Ben Trovato

When I first heard about fracking in the Karoo, I assumed Ronnie's Sex Shop was sponsoring a three-day carnival of peace, love and music that would attract hordes of beautiful people to Matjiesfontein where everyone would take off their clothes and play guitars and drums, and dance naked under the full moon in a magnificent orgy of lust and laughter.

It did not occur to me that fracking might involve a Dutch fuel company violently penetrating the earth's crust and quite possibly poisoning the underground water table for centuries to come in a crazed attempt to make filthy amounts of money on the pretext that gas is an environmentally friendly alternative to coal.

This is not to say that Shell's evil vision, should it come to pass, would be any less pleasurable than Ronnie's carnival, especially to those who consider hydraulic fracturing an act of raw animal eroticism. Each to his own. But while I enjoy explosions as much as the next man, these ones would take place several kilometres below the ground, and I really can't see much fun in that.

I am no geologist, but I cannot help thinking it's a bad idea to inject millions of litres of water, sand and dangerous chemicals into the earth at a pressure so high that rock shatters. Yes, there may well be tons of natural gas trapped down there. But it's not, like, desperate to be released, is it? If it really wanted to come out, it would. Mine does.

When I realised that fracking would attract surly men in bulky protective suits, not nubile fawns in thongs, I was outraged. Save the Karoo! Where the hell is the Karoo? I might have driven through it on a few occasions, but I can't be sure because there is nothing there to tell you where you are.

Come to think of it, I don't know why everyone is making such a fuss about Shell poisoning the groundwater. People who live in the Karoo drink Witblits and diesel, not water. Okay, so they might need it for their animals. And yet a frisky Karoo lamb raised on nothing but mampoer and wild dagga would be a fine thing to snack upon while waiting for the biltong to dry.

For those who don't know these things, Karoo is derived from a Khoi word meaning, "you must be out of your mind to live here". Apparently the region is divided into two parts - the Great Karoo and the Nothing-To-Write-Home-About Karoo.

If you think it's the last place on the planet you would ever go to on holiday, as I do, you should have seen it 250 million years ago.

Even if you survived the giant killer volcanoes, you'd be torn apart by lizards the size of elephants and hideous amphibians with murderous jaws that lurked in the venomous swamps and lakes of this vast inland basin from hell. If you look carefully, you can still find the remains of ancient palaeontologists frozen in outrage at having their government funding withdrawn.

Before white people were invented, large herds of antelopes, zebras and Bushmen roamed the grassy flats of the Karoo. There were no Bantu people. I don't know if I am allowed to say Bantu. If not, this will probably be my last column.

Anyway. The whiteys arrived with their sheep and moonshine and tobacco, and some idiot built a railway line, and then everything went to hell in a hand-basket.

Somewhere along the line, the British and the Boers started killing each other all the way from the mountains of Camdeboo to the plains of God-knows-where. I have no idea why they did this. I expect they were drunk.

Whether or not Shell gets a licence to frack the Karoo will, I expect, depend on the size of the backhander they might offer.

I beg your pardon. I meant to say the size of the compensation they might offer to landowners who develop a spot of brain rot or liver cancer from the toxic water in their whisky.

(Sunday Times: Sunday 27 March 2011)

Ed Lunnon.co.za is proudly brought to you by Online Innovations Visit Ed's Blog This feature will be  available soon

Ed's in Wed in Blue Waters cafe

Join me for coffee every Wednesday at 11am Read More


Belinda Walton - involved in a life-changing accident 15 years ago - recently launched her book BELINDA in ADDO, PORT ELIZABETH and JOHANNESBURG Read More

Faith for Daily Living

What we believe about the world to come shapes how we live in the world today. Read More

Don't FRACK it up!

Support our cause against FRACKING in the Karoo - Please leave a comment Read More


Listen to "ED is in WED" on AlgoaFm in the Eastern Cape Read More

The Last Right by Marianne Thamm

Craig Schonegevel's Struggle to Live and Die with Dignity Read More