Target: Ian Khama, President of Botswana
Goal: Protect the people and wildlife who depend on Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve from toxic natural gas drilling.
Since 1961, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana has been set aside to sustain the traditional way of life of local tribes of Bushmen, the indigenous people of the region. The Bushmen have lived and hunted in southern Africa for thousands of years, and today many Bushmen tribes still live a largely traditional lifestyle. But the reserve on which Botswana’s Bushmen depend could soon be permanently damaged, if fossil fuel extraction companies get their way.
According to recently leaked documents, the Botswana government has agreed to allow the controversial practice of natural gas “fracking” inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Fracking is an unusually toxic and dangerous form of drilling for gas, which involves injecting water and toxic chemicals deep underground, to dislodge gas trapped far beneath the earth’s surface. Fracking can contaminate nearby bodies of water and causes localized air pollution. Perhaps more to the point, carrying out an industrial activity like gas extraction in a protected place like the Central Kalahari would do permanent damage to land the Bushmen have relied on for centuries.
Not only is the Central Kalahari Game Reserve one of the last strongholds of the Bushmen – it’s also one of the last largely intact ecosystems in Africa, and the planet’s second biggest game reserve. The area is home to threatened and endangered wildlife species including elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, and leopards. In addition to sustaining the Bushmen, it’s an important tourist destination that generates income for local economies.
Fracking in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve would irrevocably damage this spectacular area, and threatens Bushmen tribes’ right to choose a traditional way of life. Sign the petition below to help raise an international outcry over this proposal, and call for a ban on fracking in this reserve.
Dear President Khama,
We, the undersigned, call on the Botswana government to respect indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, and end plans to open the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to fracking. Fracking in this remote area would do permanent damage to an area that helps sustain local Bushmen tribes, as well as countless wildlife species. Allowing such a project would also put a cloud over Botswana’s reputation as an international tourist destination. Please, keep fracking out of this fragile reserve.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is globally renowned for its vast landscapes and vibrant wildlife populations. But international visitors want to know they are supporting responsible management of southern Africa’s cultural and biological heritage, and fracking in such a pristine area is hardly in keeping with this goal. We urge you to cancel all plans to open the Kalahari Reserve to fracking or other forms of natural resource extraction, before the proposal adversely impacts Botswana’s tourism sector.
Thank you for listening to our concerns.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Hiasinho via Flickr