Fracking up the Karoo

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, has been hitting the headlines recently. Fracking involves injecting huge amounts of water mixed with sand and toxic chemicals into shale to release the shale gas stored there. It was not viable until fairly recently, but a worldwide shalerush is now on as companies rush to exploit as much as possible before any pesky legislation gets in the way, or awareness of the damaging effects spreads. Perhaps twenty years ago there’d have been no internet to bring to our awareness the destruction fracking has caused elsewhere, or to mobilise opposition so quickly.

There’s no excuse now. Fracking requires huge amounts of water, a crime in a water-starved area such as the Karoo. And not only does is waste water, it contaminates the water supply in the area due to the toxic chemicals used.

Our friends in the US have faced the worst of it. Much like genetic modification was first permitted there with almost no testing, thanks to political connections ensuring that the legal position is that genetically modified food is just like any other variety, and therefore requires no special testing, fracking chemicals have been given exemption from being disclosed under drinking water protection laws.

So while how much flouride or chlorine is used in water is relatively carefully monitored, there are no controls for what’s used in fracking.

With no-one watching, a toxic soup has been injected into the US water supply. In one site in Pennsylvania, a drinking well that was previously fine found arsenic at 2600 times acceptable levels, benzene 44 times above and naphthalene five times above federal safety standards.

And what’s all this for? We need more natural gas so that we can continue to leave our geysers on all the time, leave lights burning all day. Natural gas is also an important part of the process for producing synthetic fertilisers, making our low-nutrient food look big and attractive in the shop aisles.

Shell, Sasol, Anglo American, Falcon Oil & Gas, Bundu Gas and Oil, Statoil and Chesapeake Energy. These are the companies whose shareholders are rubbing their hands in glee at the profits they can look forward to. All while communities far away are left with the destructive legacy.

There’s no excuse, and it needs to be stopped.

New this week
Organic nuts can be rarer than hens teeth, so we’re very happy to have both organic pine nuts and organic hazel nuts available this week to add to our existing range of cashews, brazils, pecans and almonds.

If you’re looking for any of SOIL’s essential oils or spritzers, make sure you order this week. Our supplier is going to be away for a month – we’ll be holding limited stock over that period, but this is the last week until April that the full range will be available.

We also have coconuts back – both the green and mature coconuts, as well as coconut slices and very limited quantities of dessicated coconut.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head on over to

Comment ( 1 )

  1. Sofia

    Here is the petition to stop Fracking in the Karoo: