The Green Connection Oceans Tribunal Gives Voice to Communities Raising Concerns about Negative Social and Environmental Impacts of Oil and Gas

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The Green Connection
The Green Connection
Environmental and social justice organization The Green Connection will soon host its first-ever Oceans Tribunal (21-22 of September 2021), to create a platform for community champions from fishing communities along South Africa’s coast to voice their concerns about offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling. The Tribunal will specifically look at the negative impacts to marine ecosystems and, in turn, the impact on small-scale fisher livelihoods, with an emphasis on the need for more meaningful public consultation and strengthening their capacity to engage on these issues.  
The Green Connection’s Outreach Coordinator Neville van Rooy says, “Our objective with the Oceans Tribunal is to amplify, on an international platform, the voices of marginalized fishing communities to emphasize the injustices they face within a profit-driven system such as capitalism. The Green Connection wants to make space for fishing communities to get the chance to provide insights about their struggles, such as fishing restrictions (particularly during Covid-19) and not being included in decisions that affect them. If government & oil and gas industries continue to ignore fishing communities, who have been dependent on the ocean for decades, the fight will continue till their voices are heard.”

Neville van Rooy participating in a protest in Cape Town to raise awareness about the ongoing killing of our oceans
Neville van Rooy participating in a protest in Cape Town to raise awareness about the ongoing killing of our oceans
Offshore oil and gas drilling pose several very real risks to the livelihoods of coastal communities. The Oceans Tribunal will help amplify these concerns and raise awareness about some of the major threats, such as catastrophic oil spills and gas leaks – which may have a negative effect on fish stocks and other marine life. This may even have adverse effects on tourism, as well. The Green Connection’s research report on the economic impact of the offshore oil and gas industry also shows that job creation in this sector has been inflated, since many of the jobs are not long-term or rely on outsourced skills.
“The fishing communities want to send a strong, clear message to government that the future they envisage includes a healthy ocean, without oil and gas. Development should be done in a way that will not place marine habitats and ecosystems in jeopardy. They also want government to promote and invest in responsible local fishing to help their communities thrive. Ocean health means a healthy planet as we are in climate crisis, we dare not to gamble with the system that sustains our planet,” says van Rooy.  
Chairperson of the Saldanha Coastal Links Carmelita Mostert says, “Fishing communities are calling on government to consult with them, to make the time and effort to hear their worries when it comes to decisions about the oceans they depend on. Small-scale fishers do not want karpowerships nor oil and gas in our oceans.”
Carmelita Mostert engaging with The Green Connection team in her neighborhood
Carmelita Mostert engaging with The Green Connection team in her neighborhood
Barend Fredricks from Bigai community in Knysna adds, “We call upon government to shift to renewable sources of energy instead of floating power ships and offshore oil and gas drilling.”
The Green Connection’s Oceans Tribunal takes place in Cape Town on 21 – 22 of September 2021. The event will be live streamed via The Green Connection’s YouTube channel. 
The Green Connection Ocean Tribunal Poster
The Green Connection Ocean Tribunal Poster
For more information about The Green Connection’s Who Stole Our Oceans campaign and the Oceans Tribunal, go towww.thegreenconnection.org.za or follow us on the socials: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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