We do not inherit the land from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our children – Wendell Berry

The above quotation was pertinently demonstrated at a public meeting held in Matatiele in the Eastern Cape to discuss proposed oil and gas exploration in the beautiful mountainous region.  It seems strange to speak of fracking and mountain kingdoms in the same breath; yet that is what is happening across South Africa.  And, as this report sent in by the mother of a young boy indicates, it is not about us, it is about our children and the legacy that we will leave them.

Sam’s Mum writes:

On 24 August 2016, our 3 children aged 3,6 and 8 joined me in attending a meeting to lodge our objection to the proposed application by Rhino Oil and Gas for mining exploration that falls within our catchment of the uMzimvubu River above Matatiele. We attended the public meeting because we are very opposed to the concept of mining and hydraulic fracturing for unconventional gas.  We have educated ourselves and our children about the environmental destruction and serious health threats that it poses.

When we arrived, Samuel, our eight year old budding conservationist, asked me who was from Rhino Oil and Gas.  I pointed out Phillip Steyn, Rhino’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), to him. Sam asked if he could please go and talk to Phillip, so I allowed him to go by himself unaffected by me, as I watched from the back of the hall.

Sam approached Phillip in friendly manner and even offered him a FrackFreeSA bumper sticker, which Phillip politely accepted.

Phillip Steyn meets Sam at matatiele-rhino-meeting-24aug2016

He then asked Phillip simply, “Why are you doing this?”

Phillip replied: “Because you need diesel and petrol for your car.”

Sam then replied, “Maybe for now but solar cars are coming and will be used in future.”

Phillip said, “Yes, maybe, but what about aeroplanes? They need fuel too.”

Sam responded, “We saw the first round-the-world flight by a solar powered plane on TV news a few days ago.  The plane had solar panels on its wings and flew all the way around the world. There are different solutions.”

Phillip then said, “Well, you will still need oil.”

Sam said, “What about all the plastic from oil that ends up polluting the sea?”

Phillip, “Yes, there is a little bit in the sea”

Sam: “No, there is a LOT.  Plastic can and should be recycled.”

Phillip, “But if there is no gas and oil involved, I might lose my job!”

Sam, “That’s better for the water table!”

Phillip:: ” No, mining doesn’t do any harm! Its fine.”

Sam: “Rubbish!”

Phillip: “Then how are you going to drive your car?”

Sam: “Some countries are already making solar-powered cars.”

Phillip: “I don’t think solar-powered cars will work so well.”

Sam: “Well they are better for the environment, with no fumes polluting the air!”

Phillip: “Maybe”

I then called Sam back to join us and the meeting called by Rhino to discuss how they wanted to mine our area began soon after.

Life is simple and the solutions can be too!


From the Mouths of Babes

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