Be the Change

Many of the actions for this Fast for the Earth are around our individual actions. But it is also important that we use our power as a consumer and a citizen to push for change higher up the ladder. 

One of the greatest challenges that we face is that, even though the science tells us that we can no longer afford as a global community to use the gas and oil reserves that we already have, fossil fuel companies continue to prospect for more oil and gas.

The impacts are huge – the pattern is the same wherever you look. Generally rural people do not have documentation showing that they own the land, so they are forced off the land. This might be when a governor or chief is given a bribe or incentives (eg bursaries). Then the drilling starts, leading to environmental damage, pollution of water etc. But this often happens far from the capital city, so politicians, with their eye on the big bucks, and often greased with back handers, turn a blind eye. Civil society begins to protest, the media gets sued or slapped with court cases. Environmental legislation is sidestepped or fast tracked.

In our African context the rate of fossil fuel explorations in increasing. We are faced with the Canadian Company Recon Africa who are drilling in the Kavango region, pushing people off their land, polluting water sources and threatening the World Heritage site of the Okavango and a migration route for endangered elephants.

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In Northern Mozambique, oil companies such as Total have pushed local people off the land, created jobs for people from the capital city thousands of km away, as well as foreigners. So, the young people became frustrated and joined the Al Shabab, and started a wave of terror attacks, even beheading people. There are now 750,000 displaced people.

In Tanzania and Uganda they are planning a 1400 km East African Crude Oil pipeline which will run through the basin of Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria, which more than 40 million people depend on for water and food production. It will cross more than 200 rivers and run through thousands of farms and multiple game parks. Just one spill or leak could have absolutely catastrophic effects on these vital freshwater sources and the millions of people that depend on them.

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So what can I as an individual do?
There is lots

  • Firstly, consider your bank, who are they investing in? If they are investing in new fossil fuel developments write to them, say you will change your bank
  • Secondly – divest your money. Have a meeting with your financial advisor tell them you do not want to make a profit from destroying the planet
  • Thirdly – get your church or Diocese to divest from fossil fuels
  • Fourthly – use your social media to raise awareness about these issues

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