Research Nugget

Youth, faith and environmental consciousness in Africa

Climate change is a worldwide environmental concern and Africa is expected to be among the regions severely affected due to its impoverished population which is more vulnerable to climate change and less resilient in adapting to adverse conditions.

Research partly funded by the NRF argues that African youth should be at the forefront of discussions about climate change, environmental consciousness and ecological justice. The study, which investigated the connection between youth, faith, and environmental consciousness within the theological disciplines of youth ministry and practical theology, maintains that environmental education for Africans and African youth is critical in the fight against environmental concerns. Even though young people across Africa are progressively making their voices heard and campaigning for climate change action and environmental challenges, they can play an even bigger role as they are capable of altering the status quo in a variety of ways and they have a history of contributing to change.

The study also suggests that the role of youth ministry in the environmental discourse should be promoted. Environmental policy; its influence on local communities; and the role faith communities may play in addressing these policies should all be taught in a youth ministry curriculum and to the youth. Furthermore, educational interventions should incorporate leadership and skill development that concentrate on preparing youth to participate successfully in various processes.

Given that practical theology drives the process of change responsibly from both theological and social scientific viewpoints, practical theological environmental involvement should also be concerned with ecological injustice and how it affects poverty and underdevelopment issues, and vice versa, all of which have serious consequences for African countries and the world.

Read the full paper published in the Stellenbosch Theological Journal here.