Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya

Volume 2, Issue 2, December 2010

Philomena A. Ojomo
Pages 49-63

An African Understanding of Environmental Ethics

Global concerns about the current environmental crisis have culminated in some controversial environmental ethical theories, among which are normative environmental ethics, sentientist ethics, biocentric ethics, ecocentric ethics and eco-feminist ethics. One of the underlying features connecting these environmental ethical theories is their grounding in Western perspectives and cultural experiences. Given that environmental concerns are global, and that the goal of environmental ethics is to address those concerns, critical explorations of environmental ethics need to go beyond the Western horizon. Nevertheless, very few African scholars have investigated the African people’s understanding of the current environmental crisis, and the African perspective on environmental ethics. However, Segun Ogungbemi and Godfrey Tangwa have pioneered philosophical discussions on environmental ethics from an African point of view. Ogungbemi defends what he calls “ethics of nature-relatedness”, while Tangwa proposes “eco-bio-communitarianism”. This paper is a contribution to the consolidation of an African orientation in environmental ethics through a critique and reconstruction of the African perspective on the environment as presented, separately, by Ogungbemi and Tangwa.