Karoo drought and fracking
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
An Aloe against snowy mountains in July 2008. The Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden is in the Klein Karoo with succulents which are adapted to winter rain.
|July Aloe and snow at the National Botanical Garden in Worcester|
This windmill creaking in the breeze, still stands. There is a windmill museum at Loeriesfontein.
|Windmill on the road to Nieu Bethesda in 2010|
Travelling through the Karoo, you will see donkey-carts, transport for small farmers. Lovingly hand crafted, wooden carts.
Karoo is a Khoisan word, from the first people of South Africa. Dry Land or Place of Great Thirst.
When we visited the Karoo National Park November 2010, the 10 km distant town of Beaufort West was gripped by a severe drought.
|Beaufort West dam dry from news.za.msn in December 2010|
Tourists at the Karoo National Park don't expect suburban lawn. If you must have a lawn try polyculture-lawn-primer. These sprinklers were running. All day. Next to a town that was begging passing travellers to bring them bottled water! 4-million-litres. One quarter of the rise in global sea levels is due to the transfer of fresh water into the oceans, as much of the groundwater used for irrigation is running off or raining into the ocean circleofblue.
Reusing grey water, 40-60% would be returned to the water table via the garden. This chemically green lawn was contaminating the pristine Karoo National Park.
Water was formed with our planet 4.45 billion years ago worldwater. About 97 percent of water is ocean saltwater. Most freshwater is locked up in the polar icecaps. Only .003 percent of the earth's water is available for us to use landscapeforlife
I've been reading about rain, said Jean. That utterly distinctive smell, when rain first starts to fall – two scientists have analyzed it. They’ve named it ‘petrichor’ from the Greek for stone and for the ‘blood’ that flows through the veins of the gods. It’s the scent of an oil produced by plants partially decomposed, undergoing oxidation and nitration, a combination of three compounds. The first raindrops reach into stone or pavement and release this plant oil, which we smell as it is washed away.
We can only smell it as it is washed away.
– From The winter vault by Anne Michaels. (The term was coined in 1964 by two Australian researchers, Bear and Thomas)
|To Nieu Bethesda and the Owl House in March 2010|
This is an anonymous satire.
A man who said he was from Shell came onto my farm last week and said he wanted to go ‘fracking’. Should I lock up my daughters or my sheep?
Be afraid, be very afraid – it sounds like he’s got a very, very big carbon footprint.
The Great Karoo in South Africa. Wide open spaces and very hot. You need power. Solar power? Photovoltaic cells? Oh no – we’ll try fracking.
Millions upon millions of litres of water are required for the process. Down 4 or 5 kilometres thru the rock and into oil-bearing shale, to harvest the natural gas. When they asked the nice Dutch man from Shell where he was going to get all the water in a drought-stricken area – he said brightly – we’ll use trains to bring in sea-water. From a thousand kilometres away, and over mountain ranges. No research has ever been done on deep aquifers at this level. What chemicals? Oh well … we can’t say, it is a long list.
Fracking the Great Karoo. A great idea.
As Janus, the god of doorways, looks back to 2014 and forward to 2015, I wish you, my readers, a Very Happy New Year!
Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer
of Elephant's Eye on False Bay
(If you mouse over teal blue text, it turns seaweed red.
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