Activists shelve Shell’s plans, for now

You may have heard about fuel company Shell’s plans to send sound blasts through our ocean in search of oil and gas. The process was meant to start on Wednesday despite an uproar among activists and ordinary citizens alike. It’s particularly galling given that our government gave the go-ahead – the same government, mind you, that received billions during recent global climate talks to switch to green energy sources. 😕 The good news is that four environmental and human rights organisations filed a last-minute court interdict against Shell’s plans on Wednesday; the judge is expected to make a decision tomorrow.

For its part, Shell insists that the process will not harm marine life. The method is called a seismic survey and is used to collect information from formations below the earth’s surface using sound waves. This particular survey was to take place along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. Experts say the loud noises will impact all forms of life in the ocean, from plankton and coral to whales and dolphins, which use sound to navigate for food and communicate with each other. The department of mineral resources approved Shell’s plans in 2014, The Guardian reported. But that means very little now because the approval process is outdated, according to law firm Cullinan & Associates, who are representing the organisations fighting Shell. We trust the court to decide in favour of our precious marine life – after all, this won’t be the first time activists have stepped in to defend the environment. In 2017, two South African activists took legal action against SA’s infamous $76 billion Russian nuclear deal, and won! They were awarded the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for their efforts, so we’re expecting the same energy (haha) this time too. 🐳

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 2 December 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.