Religion and Nature in Akan Culture: A Case Study of the Okyeman Foundation

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Eshun, Edwin Kwame
Ghana , Akan , Okyeman Foundation
Akan relationship with nature as expressed by Jefferson and Skinner (1974) enjoins the living to view nature as sacred and in effect prevent it from wanton destruction. This is because humans have a relationship with nature and must in return treasure it. This relationship shaped people‟s perception and attitude towards nature through the adherence to taboos associated with nature as well as the recognition of the place of non-human members of the community. This was meant to consolidate the sacred relationship between humans and nature. However, with Ghana‟s adoption of „Western‟ perspectives of development which perceives humanity as superior and in charge of creation as well as its perception of Akan animistic tendencies as „primitive,‟ „superstitious‟ and „fetish‟ has led to the destruction of nature. Ghana‟s environment continually faces gradual degradation because of the neglect of the role of the Akan indigenous religion in the preservation of nature because of the perception that the adoption of the animistic tenets of Akan Indigenous religion in Ghana‟s environmental policy constitutes a retrogression. The continuous neglect of religion and the over-reliance on legislation as a means of preventing environmental degradation will worsen the environment situation. It is therefore appropriate that contemporary conservation methods take cognizance of Indigenous religion.
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