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Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS): Christian Perspective

Karoo fracking and the Christian faith community

One of the challenges for Practical Theology in Africa is to engage with the continent’s concerns and challenges in such a way that the kingdom of God is realised in society and is seen to be relevant to these issues by people who are outside of academia.

In our article, which was first presented at the Practical Theology congress in Pretoria in January 2014, the authors seek to demonstrate how this may be accomplished by applying insights to one concern, namely ‘fracking’. The objective is to mobilise the influential Christian faith community in South Africa to begin to exercise prophetic discernment concerning fracking in the Karoo. The fracking debate is a product of the tension between the environmental degradation that might be caused by its waste products on the one hand, and on the other hand the greater energy demands of a rapidly increasing world population, along with the expectation of an ever-increasing living standard. Shale gas fracking in the Karoo region of South Africa promises to make vast reserves of oil and gas available to help meet a significant percentage of the country’s energy needs for many years to come, and thus aid development and contribute to raising the standard of living of many people. Yet, the management of the waste products associated with the process is an area of serious environmental concern. The article aims to apprise the South African Christian faith community on the technology and risks involved.

Theological guidelines are presented by which fracking’s benefits and dangers can be interrogated so that the community may come to an informed decision as to whether or not to support fracking.

Van Tonder, G. and Tucker, R. 2014. Karoo fracking and the Christian faith movement, HTS Theological Studies, 70(2).

The Karoo fracking debate: A Christian contribution to the world communities of faith

The fracking debate is a product of the tension between the environmental degradation it may cause on the one hand, and on the other the greater energy demands of a rapidly increasing South African population with expectations of an ever-increasing standard of living. Shale gas fracking in the Karoo of South Africa promises to make vast reserves of oil and gas available to help meet a significant percentage of the country’s energy needs for many years to come. This will aid development and contribute to raising the standard of living of many.

This article seeks to apprise the South African faith communities on the technology and risks involved. Christian theological guidelines are presented by which its benefits and dangers may be interrogated so that the community may be able to come to an informed decision as to whether or not to support fracking.

Tucker, A. Roger and Van Tonder, Gerrit. 2014. The Karoo fracking debate: A Christian contribution to the world communities of faith. Science and Engineering Ethics, 20(3).

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