Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and the Environment: The Akan Perspective

AUTHOR: Joseph Kofi Antwi
ISSUE: Vol.2  No.1 April 2020 Article 8
PAGES : 58 – 69
DOI : 10.38159/motbit.2020048



There are a number of academic studies that suggest that conservational values embedded in religio-cultural thoughts could be used in collaboration with science in finding lasting solutions to the environmental problems. However, despite these abundant studies and advocacy, environmentalists have ignored these in environmental management strategies. It is against this background that this paper examines the relevance of Akan indigenous ecological knowledge to environmental management strategies in Ghana. Three qualitative techniques were employed in this study: key-informant personal interviews, participant observation and focus-group discussion. The paper argues that there are a number of resources and concepts in Akan indigenous knowledge systems that help to conserve the natural environment. It is believed that the sacredness of these conservational resources can contribute to the pursuit for effective ways of curbing the crisis, which is the ultimate objective of policy-makers. In the process, the paper engages through critical analysis the argument for and against integrating Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK), in the quest for finding a lasting solution to the environmental crisis in Ghana. The paper argues that IEK contains vast knowledge and moral values that can inform contemporary conservational strategies. The paper notes that IEK ensures the survival of not only the natural environment but the people as well. The paper therefore challenges Ghanaian environmentalists, ethicists, researchers and policy-makers on the need for a critical engagement with IEK.

Keywords: Akan, Atiwa, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Religio-Culture Thought, Environmental Degradation, Conservation

Author’s Biodata: JOSEPH KOFI ANTWI, Ph.D. (Religious Studies, KNUST). His research interests are Indigenous Knowledge in African, Eco-theology African Traditional Religion, Currently, he serves on the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research Institutional Review Board (NMIMR-IRB) and a member of the African Association for Pastoral Studies and Counselling (AAPSC). He is an Ordained Minister of the Gospel in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and currently serves as the District Minister of the North Kaneshie District.