Climate campaigners across South Africa celebrated a court ruling against Shell seismic blasting in search of fossil fuels along the country's Wild Coast, which opponents warned threatened both the local marine life and fishing industry.
Shell planned to map more than 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 square miles) by bouncing sonic waves off the sea floor and using the reflection to build up a 3D image. The area lies off South Africa's so-called Wild Coast. The 300-kilometer (185-mile) stretch boasts rich waters housing exquisite marine life and natural reserves. Campaigners argued that the research would have sent… "extremely" loud shockwaves every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day for five months, potentially harming migration, feeding, and other routines for marine mammals and other species.
The new ruling by the Makhanda-based court is a win "for the people and planet." The court was clear that communities need to be properly consulted and that environmental impact assessments are critical. The cultural and spiritual connection to the land and ocean featured strongly in the judgment.
"Winning this means we are all moving towards an understanding that we need to find sustainable livelihoods; we need to move away from fossil fuels," said Sinegugu Zukulu of Sustaining the Wild Coast. "It is not about us," Zukulu emphasized. "We are in this fight for the good of the planet and the good of future generations. The fight of coastal communities versus Shell is a struggle for environmental justice, for the protection of rural livelihoods, for sustainable development, and for the life of the planet. Shell and the government are fighting for profit in the face of climate change that is putting the future of humanity at risk."
Nonhle Mbuthuma of the Amadiba Crisis Committee similarly declared that "this victory is not just a victory for Wild Coast communities and making our voices heard. This is a victory against capitalist extraction and destruction of our future. This victory is not just about protecting the ocean upon which rural coastal communities depend. This is about protecting the planet and the whole of humanity," Mbuthuma added.
Shell Ruling in South Africa a 'Victory Against Capitalist Extraction and Destruction of Our Future' (commondreams.org)
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