The Role of Interreligious Dialogue in Environmental Protection in Nigeria


Ikeke, O.


The environmental crisis is affecting every region and country of the world. The environmental crisis is manifesting in Nigeria through various environmental problems present in the country such as deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, land and atmospheric pollution, and mismanagement of solid and chemical waste. Unless these environmental problems are attended to the country runs the risk of suffering more environmental degradation, health hazards, and so on. All social agents have a duty to contribute to abating the environmental crisis. Among these social agents are religious bodies and institutions. This paper argues that it is not enough for religious bodies as separate groups to be interested and engage in environmental protection, but that they need to be involved collectively to be more effective. To do this, they need to engage in interreligious dialogue of social action of engagement. In Nigeria, it is rare to see religious bodies doing interreligious dialogue for social and environmental projects. The paper uses analytic and hermeneutic methods to examine these issues. The paper concludes that this form of religious dialogue is extremely necessary for promoting environmental protection in Nigeria.


Religion, dialogue, environment, conservation, advocacy


Environmental crisis remains one of the most precarious problems threatening the existence of human beings and all lives on earth. In many of its forms, the environmental crisis is caused or precipitated by human activities and actions. Human activities have led to pollution of air, land, and marine resources, deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, climate change, forced migration, noise pollution, ghettoes, urban violence, unplanned urbanization, and so on. In Nigeria, environmental problems include gas flaring, oil spillage, and pollution, biodiversity destruction, mismanagement of solid and chemical waste, insecurity, food crisis, and so on. Usman (2012) rightly asserts that anthropogenic causes of environmental degradation include- mining, industrial activities, agricultural activities, oil exploration, waste disposal, and overfishing.


There are many theories on the origin of religion and what religion is and is not. On the theories of religion, Greenway (2007) writes that the theories of religion include sociological, psychological, functionalist, interpretive, and rationalist. The sociological concerns the pragmatic social function of religion in sustaining social order. The sociological view is traceable to Emile Durkheim who sees society as sacred and the basis of religion. ...


The paper has examined the role of interreligious dialogue in promoting environmental protection in Nigeria. The environmental crisis is affecting Nigeria and has led to the loss of lives and destruction of properties. Many religions agree on a created earth. The creator God has given the responsibility to human beings to take care of the earth. The paper also reveals those environmental problems that respect no human being or religion. When there are environmental problems, they affect all people. It is important then that heads of different religious bodies dialogue and collaborate to engage in common environmental issues projects in Nigeria. Some of the various ways that the religions in Nigeria can engage in collaboration were also presented. If these are done, it will help to create an environmentally sustainable Nigeria.


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