Uzondu Emmanuel Muoedu - Soil scientist/agriculturist based in Nkpor, Anambra/Nigeria.

25.08.2016

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There are numerous proposals regarding the best way to protect the environment and ecosystems. Instead of inventing the wheel anew, our Nigerian author advocates reflecting on the cultural and religious concepts of his ancestors.

Every day, part of the ecosystem is destroyed through human activities in the environment. Many animals and plants are either extinct or have moved to other locations with a smaller population. Climate change is affecting our everyday lives, and people are coming up with all sorts of proposals to preserve the ecosystem.

Africans believe in their gods and ancestors. Most of these ancestors were scientists in the sense that they studied the environment and how to preserve and manage it, and find a way to ensure sustainability and healthy living. Day by day, more and more scientists are emerging with proof, theories, ideologies, findings, result, hypothesis, etc. of one sort or the other to better life – and to “make a difference”. The question is whether they are aware of all impacts their new technologies are going to have.

In Africa, every community has a variety of gods. Before the advent of Christianity, the ecosystems were preserved using the principles and doctrines of these gods. This also holds true for my home region, Anambra State of Nigeria. One example is the belief that there are large areas of land that the gods and their spirits occupy. You do not cultivate or hunt in that particular land because it is believed to be sacred. In his book entitled “Abatete Cultural Heritage”, published in the 1980s, Chief Obibuenyi Muoedu wrote: “Omaliko acquired two separate forests covering many acres of land.

Cultivation of food crops, hunting, fetching firewood and building dwelling houses are strictly prohibited in these forests.” Omaliko is a god in Abatete. Another example is that people in Idemili Local Government Area, which consists of more than 20 towns, do not kill pythons. Even the neighbouring towns have joined them in forbidding the killing of pythons. The animals are very docile and are easily encouraged to go away.

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