This is the content of a short speech given on Friday night 25 March 2011 in Cape Town by Lewis Gordon Pugh OIG (a.k.a. the Human Polar Bear) about the proposed fracking for gas in the Karoo, by Shell Oil.
He received a sustained standing ovation !
Please read it and pass it on if it matters to you.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank for the opportunity to address you. My name is Lewis Pugh.
This evening, I want to take you back to the early 1990’s in this country. You may remember them well.
Nelson Mandela had been released. There was euphoria in the air. However, there was also widespread violence and deep fear. This country teetered on the brink of a civil war. But somehow, somehow, we averted it. It was a miracle!
And it happened because we had incredible leaders. Leaders who sought calm…Leaders who had vision. So in spite of all the violence, they sat down and negotiated a New Constitution.
I will never forget holding the Constitution in my hands for the first time.
I was a young law student at the University of Cape Town. This was the cement that brought peace to our land. This was the document, which held our country together. The rights contained herein, made us one.
I remember thinking to myself – never again will the Rights of South Africans be trampled upon.
Now every one of us – every man and every women – black, white, coloured, Indian, believer and non believer – has the right to vote. We all have the Right to Life. And our children have the right to a basic education. These rights are enshrined in our Constitution.
These rights were the dreams of Oliver Tambo. These rights were the dreams of Nelson Mandela. These rights were the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi, of Desmond Tutu and of Molly Blackburn. These rights were our dreams.
People fought and died so that we could enjoy these rights today.
Also enshrined in our Constitution, is the Right to a Healthy Environment and the Right to Water. Our Constitution states that we have the Right to have our environment protected for the benefit of our generation and for the benefit of future generations.
Fellow South Africans, let us not dishonour these rights. Let us not dishonour those men and women who fought and died for these rights. Let us not allow corporate greed to disrespect our Constitution and desecrate our environment.
Never, ever did I think that there would be a debate in this arid country about which was more important – gas or water. We can survive without gas…We cannot live without water.
If we damage our limited water supply (and fracking will do just that), we will have conflict again here in South Africa. Look around the world. Wherever you damage the environment you have conflict.
Fellow South Africans, we have had enough conflict in this land. Now is the time for peace.
[Read more →]