15 October 2021
Prince Harry has urged oil companies not to “pillage the ecosystem for potential profit”.
The Duke of Sussex has teamed up with activist Reinhold Mangudnu for an opinion piece as part of his campaign with the Re: wild conservation organisation, and the pair hailed the Okavango River Basin in southern Africa as a “natural beating heart that has nourished humans and wildlife for generations” as they called for it to remain “undisturbed”.
They wrote in the Washington Post newspaper: “[We have both] found sanctuary and inspiration in the Okavango… Some things in life are best left undisturbed to carry out their purpose as a natural benefit. This is one of them.”
Harry and Reinhold slammed Canadian gas and oil company ReconAfrica – which undertake exploratory drilling in Namibia and Botswana – of keeping the river basin “under siege” and warned there could be disastrous consequences.
Highlighting an oil spill off the California coast a few weeks ago and the Gulf of Mexico fire on the surface of the ocean in July, they wrote: “There is no way to repair the damage from these kinds of mistakes.
“Drilling is an outdated gamble that reaps disastrous consequences for many, and incredible riches for a powerful few.
“It represents a continued investment in fossil fuels instead of renewable energies.”
The pair called on governments to do more to protect the environment from those looking to profit from fossil fuels in Africa.
They said: “To protect the Okavango River Basin, we call on the world to stand in solidarity with us, our allies and local communities in advocating a full moratorium on oil and gas development in the region.
“Now, the choice is simple: Either we honour our natural and life-sustaining ecosystems, preserving them for generations to come, or we exploit them on a path to permanent destruction.
“Will you stand with us?”