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Unified Movement in South Africa Wins Fracking Moratorium; Shell Fights Back

June 6, 2011

The vast arid Karoo region of South Africa is under threat of being fracked even though water is already scarce.

While we are hard at work protecting our water, air and public health here in the states, the anti-fracking battle is also being fought by people just like us across the world.  Recently, the gas industry has been paying significant attention to the potential natural gas reserves in the Karoo region of South Africa.  Yet, even with strong interest shown by major gas industry corporations such as Shell and Falcon Oil, the South African government declared a moratorium on all licenses to explore and frack the Karoo region.

Last month, Andreas Spath wrote an inspirational piece for Care2 reflecting on this victory and the grassroots movement that organically formed among a diverse group of South Africans to protect their land:

…alarmed farmers in the affected areas started to join forces for a legal defence of their land; villagers in remote parts of the country formed local anti-fracking committees and city slickers joined a growing number of indigenous Facebook groups… It seemed quite obvious to the vast majority of South Africans that in a extremely water-stressed country like ours and at a time when it’s important to move away from climate-changing fossil fuels and towards cleaner, renewable energy solutions, frack was most definitely wack.

While Spath is unsure of what helped inform the government’s decision, one thing is certain: the growing public opposition must have played a prominent factor in the ruling against fracking. Unfortunately, Spath ends the piece with a sobering reality check:

We may have won a victory, but the struggle against fracking in South Africa continues. Our initial success has certainly given us the confidence to know that we can stop this destructive technology from despoiling our country in the future.

Then, as suspected, just a few weeks later, Spath follows up with a disheartening report of Shell’s attempt to sway the public with lies in spite of the government’s public ruling against natural gas drilling:

Shell, the multinational oil and gas giant that wants to explore for shale gas in 90,000 square kilometers of the semi-arid Karoo region, has been distributing flyers at petrol stations that aim to convince South Africans that fracking is a good thing. A closer look reveals that it’s simply a case of corporate greenwashing — an attempt to present an environmentally hazardous practice as clean and beneficial.

Read more about Shell’s advertisements and the ensuing investigation into their validity here.

Click on the images below to view the “Shell and the Karoo” pamphlets currently being distributed at their gas stations in South Africa:

One Comment
  1. Don James permalink
    August 18, 2011 1:39 pm

    You must take a look at this link, fracking must not be allowed in the Karoo. How would you like to open a tap and set fire to the water ? It happens in the USA.

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