Plettenberg Bay, South Africa 21 June – 30 June 2024

Ocean Defenders at Work!

Oil and gas exploration - impacts and consequences

IMAGINE A WORLD WITH OILED UP BEACHES & WITHOUT A LIVING OCEAN! ARE WE RUNNING OUT OF TIME? BE INFORMED! Government makes various decisions on developments which pose a risk to ocean health, potentially undermining existing livelihoods which depend on a healthy ocean. Some of these decisions have been made without meaningful public participation by those most likely to be affected, undermining the constitutional right to procedurally fair decision-making. IS IT TOO LATE? The potential negative consequences of these decisions are often overlooked, with government promoting oil and gas exploration for the “development” it promises. As a result, the large oil companies are the ones benefiting, while coastal communities bear the risk of negative social and economic consequences. That’s why the people, especially those whose livelihoods could be directly affected, are having to go to court to claim back their rights to be informed and have their say. STOP OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS EXTRACTION NOW – THE CLIMATE IS CHANGING! Oil and gas are fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and are a major cause of climate change. If we continue to use fossil fuels for energy, it will lead to more floods, heatwaves, droughts and storms. Thus, negatively impacting food and land security. Fossil fuel pollution (of air, land, and the ocean) also affects human health. The evidence about the risks and negative impacts associated with offshore oil and gas exploration – particularly regarding the ecosystems – is growing. For example, science shows that physical harm to various species - such as concussion, haemorrhaging and hearing damage - are linked to seismic survey sounds. Oil spills release toxins into the ocean, can cause severe health problems such as heart damage, immune system effects, etc. Oils spills can also result in the death of species that are unable to avoid it, such as birds and fish. NOT JUST A BEACH PARTY While the ocean may, for many of us, have mostly a recreational and religious or cultural value, we must also remember that a healthy ocean is critical to life as most of our oxygen (50% to 85% is produced by ocean plants/and plankton). The ocean also helps us cope with climate change – it is our main buffer, absorbing heat from global warming (warming needs to stay below 1.5/2 ̊C). NOW IS THE TIME FOR A JUST TRANSITION TO SUSTAINABLE RENEWABLE ENERGY “Oil and gas developments” continue to be promoted despite the economic risks. The World Bank studied 12 Sub-Saharan countries that discovered considerable oil and gas resources between 2002 and 2020 – in each of these countries the oil and gas finds were overvalued, the timeline from discovery to production took much longer than promised, and that government revenues were lower than predicted. So why ignore the research and keep repeating the mistakes of the past? Fossil fuels are the past and South Africa should not be left in the past, but can grow new jobs and economic opportunities in sustainable renewable energy. PROTECT EXISTING JOBS And for a country struggling with unprecedented high unemployment rates, we also need to protect existing jobs. #OurOceanOurFuture Thousands of small-scale fishers in the four coastal provinces rely on the ocean to feed their families and develop economically viable livelihoods, while Tourism provided 175000 jobs in 2019 in Western Cape alone.


Liziwe McDaid Liz believes that good environmental practice underpins human survival. It is not a luxury but a necessity. Power, Politics, secrecy and the manner in which our very economic structure operate are leading to our own destruction and in South Africa, we are faced with stark reminders of this everyday life. Trained as a scientist with a BSc from the University of Cape Town, Liz McDaid also has a teachers diploma, adult facilitation qualification and a MSc in Climate Change and Development from the African Climate Development Institute at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Her work draws on her political activism history and environmental training to focus on ecojustice. She is currently the strategic lead for the Green Connection, campaigning to protect the oceans and those that depend on them, from oil and gas drilling. She also works with various civil society organisations working on sustainable ways to reach energy security for all, and ensure eco-justice underpins decision-making. Liz believes that good governance with meaningful dialogue and participation is the way to ensure a future liveable planet. She took the unlawful nuclear deal between South Africa and Russia to court and won, and also recently won an oil and gas related court case to ensure community voices be heard in decision-making, and in 2023 forced the South African president to capitulate and take steps towards producing an energy road map for the country. For her effort in the nuclear court case, Liz and fellow activist Makoma Lekalakala received the international Goldman Award in 2018 for their environmental activism.


Quote that motivates his work: “I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me.” Kwame Nkrumah

Neville van Rooy is The Green Connection’s Community Outreach Coordinator. He has a Degree in Theology and is a qualified nature conservation field and tourist guide. Neville started his career as a volunteer, working with young people, and later with emerging farmers (ultimately becoming a farmer himself). He has partnered with a variety of environmental justice platforms. Neville also works for the Support Centre for Land Change (SCLC), on an environmental justice programme that resists fracking and promotes renewable energy in the Karoo.

This event takes place on:

Saturday 22 June

16:15 - 17:00