Protect Africa's Eden! No oil drilling in the world's largest nature conservation area!
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My name is Ina-Maria Shikongo, I was born in a refugee camp in Angola, grew up in East Germany and went to school in Namibia. Together with Fridays For Future Windhoek, I am fighting for an ecological change, because I see that an incredible amount of people are losing their homes due to the climate crisis.
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Out of pure greed for profit, the Canadian company ReconAfrica is endangering the largest cross-border nature reserve on earth (KAZA - Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area), which also includes the unique Okavango Delta, with its oil drilling. The drilling plans not only threaten to destroy the sensitive ecosystem of one of the largest and most animal-rich wetlands in Africa, but would also have a direct impact on the lives of the San who live there.
What made us start this petition now:
Test drilling in the region has already started. We have to act fast NOW and stop this madness immediately in order to protect the largest nature reserve on earth and home of the San. We cannot under any circumstances allow ourselves to lose further “Garden of Eden” to companies out of pure greed for profit. That is why we call on the German Federal Government to stand up for the preservation of the livelihood of the people and animals in KAZA, the Okavango Delta and the surrounding areas.
How is Germany involved in the whole thing?
The German Federal Government is funding the preservation of the KAZA area through the KfW Development Bank with over 35.5 million euros in taxpayers' money. This must not be destroyed by ReconAfrica's greed for profit. Oil drilling is by no means compatible with these KAZA preservation targets. As a possible direct consequence of Recon's plans, Angola recently lifted its oil production ban in the Okavango Basin. The German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Müller, must ensure that the exploration phase (drilling and seismic surveys) is stopped until all consequences for the environment have been clarified!
Last year, the Canadian company ReconAfrica, which is also listed at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, secured approval for test drilling for the production of oil and gas in the Kavango region. If the test wells are successful, the company plans to produce oil and gas on the Namibian and Botswana side for at least 25 years. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they will probably also want to use fracking! The group suspects shale oil deposits of around 120 billion barrels of oil and refers to the Kavango Basin as the last large oil field in the world. The drilling sites are located in the middle of KAZA and only about 50 km away from tributaries to the Okavango Delta.
Local environmentalists are demanding a transnational environmental assessment as soon as possible. This is the only way to reliably and transparently assess how serious the impact of oil drilling is for the people, animals, water, the soil and our climate. The only assessments carried out so far are neither neutral nor comprehensive.
What is at stake:
- A UNESCO World Heritage site will be destroyed
The Okavango Delta is an intact ecosystem and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique fauna. It is home to elephants, rhinos, lions and leopards, as well as other endangered species such as wild dogs and lechwes.
- Our climate
Fossil energies must remain in the ground all over the world in order to limit global warming to the necessary 1.5° C. Investments should be made in renewable energies like solar energy and not in oil!
- Water pollution and conflicts over the scarce resource water
Fracking requires 10-40 million litres of water per drilling site, which the local population and agriculture therefore are deprived of. Namibia is already one of the driest regions in the world. In the event of damage, the wells could also contaminate the groundwater and surface water, which ultimately also flows into the Okavango Delta.
- Fracking and the oil industry are an environmental hazard
The chemicals used in fracking would be released into the environment. Even if fracking were not used, toxic production wastewater would have to be stored and disposed of, and the oil industry with its heavy goods vehicles would leave behind a devastated environment. It is already becoming apparent that proper treatment and disposal of the toxic fracking water will not take place. The controversial extraction method also increases the health risks for pregnant women.
- KAZA National Park as a cross-border peace project might be affected
The German government has invested over 35.5 million euros in the region through the KfW Development Bank. The money is to be used to promote local farming and ecotourism, among other things. This now threatens to be undone.
- Tourism threatens to collapse
Nature tourism in the region would come to a standstill in the event of extensive oil explorations. This is the third largest economic factor in Namibia, in Botswana tourism contributes around 13% to the gross domestic product (and the trend is rising).
The company also does not seem to care much about the safety of the surrounding farmers, nature or minimum environmental standards. The backflow that flows back to the surface from the drilling site is e.g. stored in an unsecured pit right next to it. Backflows from oil/gas production are highly toxic and could cause considerable damage to the immediate vicinity and contaminate the groundwater.
We call on the German government to stand up against the oil drilling and for a cross-border strategic environmental assessment! Until all the consequences of the project have been finally clarified, the drilling and seismic investigations may not be continued!
Thank you very much for your vote and support!
Ina and Deutsche Umwelthilfe
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Today: Ina-Maria Shikongo und die Deutsche Umwelthilfe is counting on you
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