1887
Volume 2012, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2218-7480
  • E-ISSN:

Abstract

For centuries, the Westernisation of Ghana has lead to the devaluation of indigenous ways of life, thought and spirituality or ‘Indigenous Knowledge Systems’ (I.K.S.). It is argued that in general Western thought has also decoupled nature from humankind, which has led to the environmental crisis. Due to the limitations of modern technological and scientific solutions— which originate from the same cultural mindset that caused the destruction to our planet in the first place—it is argued that indigenous religious environmentalism could provide effective solutions. Exploring the case of the Asante Sekyere people of Southern Ghana, this paper shows that I.K.S. still preserved in their native culture is a source of environmental ethics that is inspired by their spiritual cosmology, values and traditional ways of life. The paper outlines how their ‘ecocentric’, environmentally orientated culture is informed by their multifarious spiritual beliefs, encompassing: belief in a transcendent God or Gods; the veneration of ancestors; nature spirits that animate the natural environment (animism); and totemic beliefs based around a sacred identification with an animal, plant or natural phenomenon. These beliefs inform the Sekyere’s core environmental values— respect, cooperation, communalism, care and reciprocity— that manifest in regulatory taboos that conserve natural resources. The paper concludes that alternative ways to solve environmental degradation can be sought in the cultural resources of indigenous people like the Sekyere.

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/content/journals/10.5339/rels.2012.environment.6
2012-10-01
2019-10-16
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