Tilling and keeping the earth in an unjust economic order towards an African eco-theological framework.
This study proposes an African life sustaining eco-theological framework for tilling and preserving the earth in the context of food insecurity and environmental degradation. The study argues that food insecurity in Tanzania results from an unjust economic order, application of modern farming methods and a lack of concern for the environment. The study examines the impact of the industrial agricultural revolution and the green revolution on food security and the environment. It argues that although these modern approaches to agriculture have improved the status of food security in many places in the world, their negative impact on the environment cannot be underestimated. More importantly, most of these modern farming methods are not compatible with the smallholder farmers in rural Tanzania due to their cost concentrated nature. The study has identified organic farming methods as having the potential to increase food production and take care of the environment. The study concludes that an African life sustaining eco-theological framework must comprise, but not limited to, six principles. These include: an African world view, a life-centred vision, a focus on sustainability, an African ethic of care, an understanding of salvation as holistic and recognition of an ecumenical earth community. An African life sustaining eco-theological framework that embodies these principles is capable of developing a sustainable relationship between humankind and non-human creatures. Further, such a framework ensures the sustainability of life within the entire ecumenical earth community. It will stand against all forces, powers, structures and systems that are a threat to life in all its dimensions. This framework will advocate for the systems, structures and practices that are life affirming. However, in order for this framework to be fruitful, the application of these principles should not be restricted to the human community alone. Rather they must extend to include the entire earth community which form a web of life on earth. In a long run this will help shape the behaviour, attitudes and practices of humankind in relation to nature, which will then lead to the addressing of issues of food insecurity and environmental degradation in Tanzania.