• Editor: Ikechukwu Anthony KANU, OSA, PhD


The formation which the African worldview gives to the human mind regarding the environment is one in which nature is understood not only as a physical home but a spiritual abode. The African world is a worldhood that exists in unity with its creator and the community expresses her realization of this by maintaining the relationship through caring for nature. It is in this sense that the African understands his or her life as sacramental- in that they point to something deeper than can be seen. In the words of Klauder (1987), the environment meant much to the people's identity and their interrelationship, and becomes a “revelation of God, and the world cannot be understood without God for He is the centre and end of creation” (p. 34). Nature becomes, for the African, the locus in and through which God touches His people and reveals himself to them. The exploitation, destruction or mismanagement of this world becomes a destruction of the modes of the divine presence.

This understanding of the relationship between the African and nature is at the heart of the African Christian’s theological reflections on the environment, and also constitutes what distinguishes African eco-theology from other eco-theologies. African eco-theology is, therefore, simply a theology of social responsibility with a view to saving the future generation, to save the mother earth and the universe, the air, water and the soil from further degradation. African eco-theology is the African prophetic voice crying for the protection and preservation of the life of human beings, their environment and the entire cosmos; a voice that springs from the African worldview of the relationship between the human person and nature. According to Mbiti (1975): Africa has a very rich heritage of what past generations of African people thought or did, experienced, and passed on to their children. This heritage forms a long life that links African forefathers and mothers with the descendants who now feel proud of it. (p. 46).

Scholars such as Udodora (2011), Mbiti (1976), Thompson (1970), Calder (1968), Gbenga (2006) had observed that all religious traditions whether elementary, pre-literate or advanced, are environmental friendly and teaches environmental preservation and protection. African eco-theology, therefore, stands to articulate in a theological manner African earth-based spiritual traditions and innovative spiritual practices that are emerging in response to the painful realities of climate change, mass extinction, biodiversity loss, and the disruption of local and global ecosystems which have for long not received the attention that it deserves. It is in this sense that this Book of Readings titled African Eco-Theology: Meaning, Forms and Expressions will become one of the greatest ornaments and lights in the world of ecotheology as it responds to fundamental questions looming at the corridors of ecological discourses.