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Protest at the Namibian High Commission in London against ReconAfrica oil drilling licences in Namibia and Botswana

Male activist in a blue jumper, outside a building with black railings. He holds up a sign which says 'No Drill, No Kill, in the Okavango'.

22 March 2021: Protesters including XR Buddhists Nick Clarke and Zoe Solomans outside the Namibian High Commission in London highlighting the risks posed by oil drilling licences granted to Canadian oil company ReconAfrica. 

Licences for oil exploration (with a 25 year licence for oil production if oil is discovered) cover an area of approximately 35,000 sq kms of which about 25,0000 are in Namibia. In total this is an area larger than the size of Holland! The boundary of the licenced areas include the main river flowing into the Okavango Delta which it abuts for about 270 kms and up to the edge of the Delta. The Delta is an oasis in the middle of the Kalahari desert, so large it can be seen from space and home to the largest remaining wildlife populations in Africa and a UNESCO world heritage site. It also remains the home of the San people, so ancient that all modern humans can trace their DNA to them. All of this is under threat from the inevitable pollution from oil drilling.

Drilling is being conducted by a Canadian company, ReconAfrica. A number of its chief officers have a background in fracking, from its founder Craig Steinke and including its VP of Drilling (who pioneered fracking in the US) and its current CEO. The company believes there are 125 billion barrels of oil in the region. If burnt that would release 1/6th of the worlds remaining carbon budget!

An activist in a blue coat knocks on the door of an old expensive building to deliver a letter.

This is a project of such insanity it is hard to find the right words. All of these plans were under the radar until drilling began this year. However the world is waking up. 

Activists in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Germany and Canada are challenging these plans. In the UK we are linked to them and are uniting under the banner of ReConOut! This network includes people within XR (with a strong XR Buddhist and faith flavour) and from the region. ReConOut were at the Namibian High Commission to present a letter to the Namibian High Commissioner, HE Linda Scott describing their concerns. You can find a link to this letter below. 

At this action Nick Clarke said: “Today is World Water Day and I am joining with activists across the globe highlighting threats to water systems. The Okavango Delta is a jewel of biodiversity, its value is beyond all measure and its waters sustain the livelihoods of more than a million people. Oil exploration inevitably risks polluting the Delta. If we were to burn the amount of oil ReconAfrica believes is there it will contribute to catastrophic levels of climate change risking billions of deaths and the collapse of our human societies. In solidarity with activists in Namibia, Botswana and Canada and indigenous peoples of the region I am imploring the Namibian government to think again and look for sustainable alternatives to meet its economic and energy needs. We understand this would come at a cost and we demand industrialised countries support Namibia to fund these alternatives.”

Two activists, one in a wheelchair, hold up a sign which says 'No oil drilling in the Okavango #reconout'.

Moving forward the network will be focussing on G7 leaders as they meet in Cornwall in early June. These G7 talks will include much on climate change and plans for the COP climate talks in Glasgow in November. ReconAfrica has corporate links with the US, Canada, Germany and the UK. The failure of industrialised countries to regulate their companies, to allow further oil exploration at home and globally, to not meet their commitments to fund alternatives to fossil fuels for countries in the global south to meet their energy and economic needs and the UK cancellation of much of its overseas aid… these and others are all issues it will be demanding leaders address. The Drilling in the watershed of the Okavango Delta needs to be urgently stopped: it is profiting shareholders in the global North and the wealth of a small company above the lives of millions in the short term and all of life in the future and sacrificing a priceless pristine ecosystem. In challenging this project we can also show how it exemplifies so many issues that must be addressed globally.

ReConOut will be starting with actions in April and May, building momentum towards the G7 talks and then on to COP.

To receive updates and get involved please sign up here: http://bitly.ws/cemz or email ReConOut@pm.me

#moneyrebellion

photo of Barclarys Stop Funding Ecocide banner

XR Buddhists from across the UK yesterday took part in Extinction Rebellion’s Money Rebellion.

Despite the worsening climate & extinction crisis, banks continue to invest massively in fossil fuels. The money rebellion is to raise awareness and to put pressure on banks to defund fossil fuel and other harmful investments. One of the main targets was Barclays bank, who have invested $145 billion in fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Find out how your own bank is doing here: https://switchit.money/

Nick and Patrick meditate in Barclary bank. 'Nick is wearing a sign that reads $145 Billion invested in fossil fules since 2015.. criminal.' Patrick is wearing a sign that says 'Barclarys the ecocide bank'
Nick and Patrick meditating in a Barclays highstreet branch
Three people meditating outside a Barclays bank in Cambridge. They have pasted lots of 'the ecocide bank' posters to the windows and have signs and banners including: Stop Ecocide funding, clean up properly divest now and stop funding fossil fuel.
XR Buddhists meditating outside Cambridge Barclays
Joe meditating inside a Barclays
XR Buddhist Joe is being carried out of the bank by two police officers.
Joe being removed by police
three meditators sit in front of some wide concrete steps wearing signs saying 'infinite growth finite planet' and listing high-street banks investment in fossil fuel in billions on dollars in 2020.
Satya. Mel and Kaspa demonstrating in Malvern
Placards reading Infinite Growth, Finite Planet, and Your Bank Funds the Climate Crisis.
Signs used in the Malvern demonstration
a person sits outside a Barclays bank, near and ATM, wearing an Barclays the Ecocide Bank placard.
Meditating outside a Barclays brank branch
two XR rebels hold a green banner with the words: the planet needs a Barclays bank holiday