Environmental Ethics

Volume 37, Issue 4, Winter 2015

Workineh Kelbessa
Pages 387-410

African Environmental Ethics, Indigenous Knowledge, and Environmental Challenges

Unlike mainstream Western ethics, African environmental ethics has recognized the inter­connectedness and interdependence of all beings and the more-than-human world. To be an object of moral concern, rationality, intelligence, and language are not required, although different beings have different mental capacities and roles. The unity of the whole estab­lishes an ethical obligation for human beings toward nature. Africa has different cultures that have helped to shape positive moral attitudes toward the natural environment and its human and nonhuman components. Although African environmental ethics is increasingly being marginalized by educational establishments and policy makers in Africa, it has the potential to contribute to human well-being and environmental sustainability. However, it is not a panacea for all global environmental challenges, as it has its own limitations and needs improvement. The solution of environmental problems requires multidisciplinary approaches and the cooperation of all nations. African and other concerned scholars should critically study African environmental ethics and identify its positive elements that can en­able humanity to save Mother Earth and its inhabitants.