Drakensberg region under fracking threat
Anti-fracking lobby group Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) and social rights group AfriForum hand delivered a letter to President Jacob Zuma this week calling on him to declare a fresh moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in South Africa, or face possible legal action.
TKAG CEO Jonathan Deal reported on Tuesday that the letter questioned government’s apparent willingness to proceed with the processing of exploration applications despite having failed to address several outstanding concerns that had been raised by fracking opponents over the past three-and-a-half years.
Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
I find it interesting that we are paying Lesotho such a substantial amount each year for purchase of water, yet we are willing to destroy the good supply we already have in the interests of generating jobs and economic growth. American economist Herman E Daly puts it quite well:
“Environmental degradation is an iatrogenic disease induced by economic physicians who treat the basic malady of unlimited wants by prescribing unlimited growth.... Yet one certainly does not cure a treatment-induced disease by increasing the treatment dosage.”
The theoretical purpose of this fracking is to produce gas for energy (whether directly through LPG gas for gas stoves or electricity generation - I am not sure). The crazy fact is that, if a small portion of the uninhabitable parts of each continent - the Sahara on the border of Libya and Chad, parts of the Atacama desert where there is literally no moisture and basically no life even on a micro level etc - were used for solar power generation, we would have sufficient energy for everyone on earth at a substantially lower cost, less emissions and practically no continuing environmental damage. Admittedly it isn't a complete solution as you still need electricity and night, and you can only build so many dams to store the energy (e.g. that one by Bergville where they pump the water backwards and forwards according to what is needed) - but between tidal, hydro-electric and solar (minced fish aside), expanding the use of fossil fuels in this country (or any other country) is really unnecessary.
I only recently learned the reason why nuclear energy is so often promoted and encouraged even though it is by far the most dangerous form of energy creation, and by no means the cheapest or cleanest as it is advertised: mining (the industry that is the real driver behind basically the entire world economy) has a tendency of producing large amounts of certain byproducts - notably including uranium. If you are on a mine that has stocks of uranium ore, the area is marked off and you are not allowed anywhere near it. Runoff water near the stores has to be redirected into the slimes dams as it is contaminated. To the best of my knowledge, uranium has very limited uses in medicine seeing as radium is usually what is used. Thus the main uses of uranium are military and electricity creation. Thus we have a product that we need to dispose of but have no use for, so we find a use and thereby "solve" the problem.
Some day we will all appreciate the value of water, usable farming land and clean air, but sadly that will probably be long after its too late. While, aside from more efficient recycling and moving away from this throw-away culture on electronic devices, I don't have a good answer for how we can significantly reduce the necessity for mining of certain minerals, drastic reduction of reliance on fossil fuels is easy to implement and increases in fracking and coal mining are not the answers to anyone's problems.
Over the medium term there will be increased exploration for on- and offshore oil and gas, by developing an exploratory drilling plan and legislation.
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Shocking to see the Tugela running straight through the area. Destroying less important rivers is bad enough, but to risk SA's 2nd largest river is utter madness. Perhaps we can liquidise (liquidate?) the money and drink that...
My sister-in-law is doing her Masters on some aspect of frakking. She tells me that it is suitable for dry areas where there isn't much life, but that even the measure used to limit contamination do very little to the surrounding areas. Apparently it was a lot worse a few years ago.