Stop Exploitation of the Okavango Delta

Join us on 4th June at 4pm at Canada House, London, to demand that Canada and other G7 countries take active steps to stop oil exploration and fund real alternatives in vulnerable countries.

The action is focused on the Canadian High Commission because ReconAfrica, a Canadian listed company is exploring for oil in the Kavango watershed. Development of new oil fields is not compatible with reducing climate change. The San people speak of the consequences: “Even preliminary drilling will create vibrations and noise and position infrastructure that will disrupt the migratory paths of animals, frighten them or bring them into fatal conflict with humans”, they say. “Oil and gas operations are notorious for gas flaring and accidental oil spills. Such inevitable pollution will be disastrous for the Okavango River, and the water catchments feeding the Okavango Delta,”

The Bishop of Namibia, Luke Pato, supported by 30 bishops and 4 archbishops, called for a halt to drilling: “…based on the principle of restorative social and environmental justice, the Bishops call upon the international community to support Namibia and Botswana to develop renewable energy systems and help safeguard the precious Kavango ecosystem.”

In an action suitable for children as well as adults, we will be hearing people speak from the region, designing masks and/or costumes to celebrate the endangered animals of the Delta, joining in a mass die in with live music and singing, and a procession around the High Commission. You can find out more by joining the Telegram chat and reading the action briefing and ideas for costumes.

There will be parallel actions in Namibia, Germany and Canada.

The Okavango delta, is an amazing wetland ecosystem in an arid environment, covering 7000 km2 and expanding to 15000 km2 in flood. A world heritage site, it is home to enormous biodiversity (including the largest population of elephants), and the indigenous San people.

The San people state: “as the custodians of this land for thousands of years, and the rightful current inhabitants and custodians of this land, we have never been consulted, nor have we given the go-ahead to any entities to prospect for oil and gas in this our lands,”

The San also note: “Any consequent production will irrevocably damage our life-giving water and the fragile ecosystem we depend on as a people. The presence of the oil industry will mean the forceful enclosure of land; excluding us and preventing our free movement and that of animals; and resulting in our further displacement. In this way, we will be prevented from hunting and gathering food, collecting medicine and performing our cultural practices and sacred rituals – in short, it will prevent us from being San.”

Ben Buse, who is involved in the campaign, says: “Having read about the damage done to the ecoystems and the harm to indigneous people by oil exploration and global warming in Alaska, I cannot bear to see the same thing happen here, when it is utter madness. We cannot use the oil without pushing the world beyond 1.5C and across the remaining tipping points.”

Whether or not you can attend the action on the 4th June, other things you can do are:

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