So our government has given the go ahead for drafting fracking rules in South Africa. The Business Day article calls it the "green light" but there is nothing green about it. Of course this is simply another step into the inevitable downward spiral chasing after easy billions no matter what the cost to our fragile environment.
What has this to do with art? For me plenty. The karoo region is loved by South Africans for diverse reasons. For artists and other creative minded people it is a well of inspiration that has helped to produce profound art over the years. Of course there is prehistoric art too not only modern work.
I have spent wonderful moments in that silent and peaceful place. No surprise that many paintings have been created from those experiences. They always seem to be my most popular works, because there is that emotional content that comes through. For residents in the region the idea of fracking is disturbing. Would we not all feel this way when we realise how brutal the process is. No it is not about jobs for the unemployed. Fracking is not sustainable. Once the deed is done the foreign companies will move on leaving all sorts of social and environmental scars.
Fracking is safe they say? Look at this recent spill in North Dakota and tell me that anyone wants to see that in the karoo. We need to remember that the karoo's water comes from ancient springs underground. It is not being replaced. Once contaminated that is it! Gone. I took the picture above in Niue Bethesda. The village is a wonderful green oasis with spring water running through furrows to small farms. Will this water be safe when the spills take place?
What can we do? Continue to voice outrage. Boycott the services and products of the oil companies behind the project. Write to the minister and make your votes count in protest. Support organisations like Treasure the Karoo. You can also share this article and hopefully we help spread the word.
Some years ago Lewis Gordon Pugh gave a moving speech protesting fracking in South Africa. It is worth watching again and reminding ourselves that this is our country. Not Shell's or any other foreign corporation. Ours! We do not have to roll over.