Cape Town - Faith leaders with climate and environmental activists gathered for the Global Day of Action in silent protest and prayer against the exploratory drilling of oil and gas in the Okavango Basin in Namibia and Botswana today.
A silent protest organised by Green Anglicans on the steps of the St George’s Cathedral was part of the global call to action by the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute and the GreenFaith initiative.
ReconAfrica is in the early stages of exploratory drilling of three wells. Thirty-four bishops and three archbishops globally have signed a petition calling for the immediate halt to the drilling. According to the ReconAfrica website, it is estimated that the oil generated in the basin could be billions of barrels.
The bishops and activists protested over the violation of indigenous rights, water scarcity in the area, its impact on climate change, inadequate public participation process, inadequate environmental impact assessment, and over moral and spiritual concerns.
Environmental co-ordinator Reverend Rachel Mash said: “The groundwater from the Okavango basin flows into the Okavango, so once you start fracking or any kind of drilling then whatever chemicals you’re using, they’re now going to flow down into the Okavango and we know that the Okavango is such a delicate and amazing ecosystem, so if you pollute that water, you’re polluting this gem.”
Mash said the region should instead be encouraged and supported to make use of solar energy.