Accepted paper:

Preventing climate change impacts using the African traditional religious system; a case of Osun Osogbo Grove in Nigeria


Yemi Adewoyin (University of Nigeria)

Paper short abstract:

The ecological effects of climate change and policies to address same are multidimensional. Using a Nigerian case study, the traditional religious system in Africa, with its theocentric, anthropocentric and ecocentric features, presents a pathway for addressing the consequences of climate change

Paper long abstract:

An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment predicts that the earth would be warmer than in the pre-industrial era by the end of the twenty-first century due to human activities. This will increase the intensity of extreme weather events and their attendant consequences on the ecosystem. While several efforts are being made globally to address these and build resilience, the role of the traditional African religion has not been adequately examined. Religion is as old as mankind and its evolution and diffusion is a reflection of the changing paradigm about individual and communal belief systems. In spite of widespread acceptability of Christianity and Islam in Africa, the traditional African religious belief system subsists. Some of its practices emphasize the supremacy of God; that humans are at the center of and lord over everything God created; and that all creatures are important. Using the Osun Osogbo Grove in Nigeria as a case study, how these seemingly antagonistic, yet complementary philosophies interact to prevent the negative consequences of climate change is examined in this work. Satellite imageries of the Grove were obtained for a period of 30 years and analyzed for land-use and land cover change using supervised classification method. The results showed that between 1986 and 2016, the Grove had only marginally decreased in size, its ecosystem remained largely intact, and the ecological footprints of climate change were non-existent. Qualitative data revealed that the fear of the repercussions of breaching the sacredness of the Grove was responsible for these outcomes.

panel I2
Religions and Climate Action [paper]