Theological Reflection on Environmental Degradation And Vicious Cycle of Poverty

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The poor generally have access only to areas that have higher risk for health and income generation, and they generally lack the resources to reduce the exposure to the risk or to invest in alleviating the causes of such risk. Environmental degradation therefore affects the health and nutrition status of the poor and lower their productivity. The main objective of the study was to examine the Christian attitude towards the environment and vicious cycle of poverty. Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect data from officials of EPA, mining companies, ‘galamsey’ and church members. The study revealed that as people become poorer, they destroy the resources faster. They tend to overuse the natural resources because they do not have anything to eat or any means of getting money except through the natural resources. Poor people often lack sufficient income and education to afford higher quality life. The study further revealed that some communities are denied access to good drinking water due to mining operations. The problems of environmental degradation and water availability has also meant that in some areas, affected communities rely to a great extent, particularly in the dry season, on water sources that are increasingly polluted by chemicals from mining operations. It was realized that maintaining year round access to safe abundant supplies of water was a significant problem for communities affected by mining activities. It was recommended that churches should preach and educate its congregation that the fragile environment on which they depend for their survival is being neglected or over-exploited, and it is now necessary to rehabilitate it and manage it sustainably. It is recommended that there is the need for the churches to have a theological reflection that will help to change their attitude towards the environment. Churches should also teach its members that the environment belongs primarily to them, and v they must take the responsibility for the land and organize themselves in groups, cooperatives, development associations and local associations to defend it. There is also the need for churches to promote a Christian Fund and similar mechanisms for directing funds to environmental awareness projects.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Philosophy in Religious Studies, August-2012