Open Journal of Social Sciences
2013. Vol.1, No.6, 50-61
Published Online November 2013 in SciRes (
Open Access
Pyschologizing Philosophy and Philosophizing
Environmentalism: Seeking for a Sustainable Human
Values Framework for Africa in the 21st Century
Ani Casimir1, Mathew Chukwuelobe2, Ambrose Nwankwo2
1Department of Philosophy/Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
2Department of Philosophy, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Received September 2013
The traditional paper about the environmental decadence discusses the degradation and despoliation occa-
sioned by consistent human abuse, misuse and exploitation. A critical examination of those negative cli-
chés throws into the equation the disciplinary injections from philosophy, psychology and environmental
management. In the African world, words have meanings and connotations that outweigh their daily
commonalities. These words are colored by the cosmological, ontological and axiological backgrounds
that are informed by African belief systems and human values. Most importantly, the mind of the African
man and woman is tempered by the beliefs and value systems which form his/her attitudes towards the
environment. This interpenetration and inter-operationality generate a unique multidisciplinary mobiliza-
tion of associated concepts and principles of philosophy and psychology that could sustain the African
personality in successfully meeting up with the challenges of his environment. In coming up with human
values of environmental ethical management, philosophy engages psychology adequately in empowering
the mind and personality of the African man and woman to establish sustainable environmental manage-
ment systems. This is the methodology of psychologizing philosophy and philosophizing environmental-
ism in creating new and better human attitudes towards our environment in Africa.
Keywords: Culture; Philosophy; Sustainable Human Values; Environmental Management; Attitudes;
Habits; African Personality; Ethics; and Methodology of “Psychologizing Philosophy and
Philosophizing Environmentalism”
Introduction-Conceptual Clarifications:
Philosophical Psychology and Psychological
Psychology claims to be a science while philosophy is taken
as speculative study of life, nature and the universe of man.
Again, psycho logy is seen as a science of the mind and human
behavior while philosophy is seen as the study of man and his
mind in the philosophy of mind. What then is the relationship
between philosophy and psychology? Social science theory and
perspectives differ on this but the truth is that there is a dialec-
tical interconnectivity between philosophy and psychology,
which the relationship was described by Asker (2012: p. 1) as
the relationship between truth and need; psychology works with
need, philosophy works with truth.
As an example, consider political theory. A psychological
approach can determine the needs of the various strata of a
society. Then a philosophical theory can be constructed which
takes into account of these needs. Usually, however, a political
thinker centers his theory at his own social level.
Historically in Western Philosophy, Psychology was part of
philosophy until the 19th century when it became a separate
science. Accordingly the well researched views of Asker sup-
port the notion that there are issues that coaelesce the joints of
the two associated subjects as he goes down memory lane of
Western philosophy to trace the interconnections of the two: Is
Psychology a sibling of Philosophy? Surely in the past they
were close siblings, members of the same family. After the 19th
century the relationship becomes more problematic.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, m any Western philosophers
did pioneering work in areas that later came to be known as
“psychology”. Eventually psychological inquiry and research
became separate sciences, the study and research into the mind.
In short, psychology became identified as the science of mind
insofar as its function is to analyze and explain mental pro-
cesses: our thoughts, experiences, sensations, feelings, percep-
tions, imaginations, creativity, dreams and so on. It is mostly an
empirical and experimental science; although t he field of psy-
chology does include the more theoretical Freudian psychology
and the more speculative Jungian psychology. But philosophi-
cal work was not always distinct, and even today it is not
wholly distinct, from psychological considerations. It may be
that some forms of philosophy can never break away com-
pletely from psychological issues.
Baruch Spinoza’s great work, Ethics, includes many obser-
vations and insights about our reasoning processes and emo-
tions. The early emphasis on epistemological questions by suc h
thinkers as Rene Descartes, John Locke, David Hume, and
Immanuel Kant includes much observations and statements
about mental processes connected with knowing and be lief; but
in these writings there tends to be a mixing of psychological
statements (process of knowing) with conceptual philosophy.
The problem of environmental degradation and the challenge
of seeking for sustainable human values of environmental
Open Access
management bring together the two disciplines and compel us
to apply both t he philosophical themes of logic, conceptual and
propositional evaluation in the context of African philosophy
and ethics and the psychological aspects that explores the caus-
es of belief, mental processes underlying perception and the
positive behavioral changes in the African personality that will
lead to changed attitudes towards environmental management.
This com mon challenge will lead to the fuselage of the multi-
disciplinary approaches of both philosophy and psychology in
the social sciences, a core subject of consideration in this con-
ference. Thus we have a new determined discipline known as
philosophy of psychology which refers to issues at the theoret-
ical foundations of modern psychology. Some of these issues
are epistemological concerns about the methodology of psy-
chological investigation while other issues in philosophy of
psychology are philosophical questions about the nature of
mind, brain, and cognition, and are perhaps more commonly
thought of as part of cognitive science, or philosophy of mind.
(Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 2008). This article is about
transcending the limitations of the two social science discip-
lines at the same time applying the values and concepts found
in both to tackle the challenges of the African human environ-
ment by utilizing theoretical frameworks discovered in African
ethics and phil osophy. This new threshold is what we have
aptly defined asPyschologizing philosophy and philosophiz-
ing Environmentalism: Seeking for a sustainable human values
framework for Africa in the 21st century”. This article is about
continuing the search for a sustainable environmental ethical
theory that will be utilized for the environment management of
Africa through the instrumentality of good character, habits and
behavior of the African personality.
Ethics and the Environment
The relationship between ethics and the environment is ne-
cessary for it to be exposed. Accordingly, Ojomo had done the
scholarship on the relationship and delivers the following defi -
nitional insights:
Ethics is a normative study of t he principles of human con-
duct in relation to justice and injustice, good and evil, right and
wrong, and virtue and vice. It questions what ought to be done
and the extent to which there is justification for a past action
that had been done. By environment, we mean our surroundings,
including the life support provided by the air, water, land, ani-
mals and the entire ecosystem of which man is but a part
(Osuntokun, 2001: p. 293). Ethics has something meaningful to
do with the environment. It questions humanity’s relationship
to the environment, its understanding of and responsibility to
nature, and its obligations to leave some of nature’s resources
to prosperity (Pojman, 1997: pp. 1-2). Environmental ethics is a
field in applied ethics that asks fundamental questions about
humans and the environment; it examines the moral basis of
environmental responsibility. Environmental ethics is a diver-
sified discourse with competing different ideas and perspectives.
Generally, discourse on environmental ethics can be catego-
rized into five schools of thought: enlightened (weak) anthro-
pocentrism, animal liberation/rights theory, biocentrism, eco-
centrism (which includes the land ethic, deep ecology and the
theory of nature’s value) (Yang, 2006: p. 28) and eco-feminism.
African Culture, Ethics and Human Values
African ethical theory and propositions fall under the cultural
framework of Africa. Therefore we would first take a look at
culture and its associated principles. The study of culture has
taken many forms including the anthropological approach,
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the self reference criterion, diffu-
sion theory, hi gh and low context culture, and perception ap-
proaches. “Culture” itself is made up of a number of learned
characteristics including aesthetics, education, religion and
attitudes and values. One of t he principal researchers on culture
and its consequences is Hofstede, who, as a result of his studies,
offers many insights and guides to social scientists when deal-
ing with diverse nati onalities. Ignoring differences, or even
similarities, in culture can lead to environmentalists making and
executing decisions with possible disastrous results for people
in their indigenous environments. Having said that , let us seek
to link culture and environmental behavior as we reflect on the
definition given by scholars at Explaining
Culture is seen as the integrated total sum of learned beha-
vioral traits that are manifest and shared by members of society
with elements are—language, social norms, religion, ethics,
socio economics, mores, traditions, societal regulations, natio-
nalism, aesthetics, material culture, attitudes, values, social
Therefore, as argued by this article, the cultural dimension to
environmental management has to do with the perceptions,
attitudes of Africans in the context of their belief systems and
human values of the African world view or cosmology. One of
the most prolific writers on culture is Hofstede, who worked
together with two of his peers Franke and Bond (1991) to ex-
plain why “culture” could be a better determinant influence
than “material” or “structural conditions” in explaining why
some countries gain a competitive advantage and others do not
in managing the challenges of life. They noted that in Michael
Porter’s 1990 book on the “Competitive Advantage of Nations”
he popularized the idea that nations have competitive advantage
over others. In their stud y Hofstede, Franke and Bond sought to
answer that question in research entitled “Cultural Roots of
Economic Performance”. They hypothesi z ed that differences in
cultural values, rather than in material and structural conditions
(the private and state control) are ultimate determinants of hu-
man organization and behavior, and thus of economic growth
(Studying Africa through the Social Studies—Exploring It is clear that the African cultural environment
determines the socio-economic and natural environment since
the African personality with his mind and his human values
determines the state of capacity of the people to apply the val-
ues of culture to generate appropriate environmental manage-
ment systems or techniques. It shows that the s ocial and cultur-
al aspects of any society form its very nature and essential abil-
ity to manage its environmental challenges. The group goes
why study Africa has given a dynamic and “work-in-progress”
definition of not just culture but African culture:
Culture is a very broad and inclusive concept. In its broadest
cast, everything human can be viewed as culture. Consequently,
students often have difficulty com ing to terms with culture as a
concept. African cultures are dynamic. There is a widely held
perception in Europe and North America that often gets trans-
ferred into school texts and curricula that represents African
cultures as traditional. That is, authentic African cultures are
perceived as pre-colonial. We want to challenge the under-
standing of culture as static and sedimented in time (never
changing) and space (located at a specific place). African cul-
tures, in their many articulations, have throughout history been
Open Access
dynamic, malleable, plastic. Consequently, we will be careful
not to represent African cultures as unchanging or to assert that
specific cultural characteristics are uniquely African, or unique
to specific ethnic or national groups in Africa. Instead, we
would like to emphasize that a great deal of heterogeneity and
diversity exists within these commonly used categories and
classifications. African cultures, like cultures elsewhere, are
historically and environmentally contingent. Culture is not an
independent category or concept that can be separated from
history, economic pr actice, politics, social practice, and the
environment. Beliefs, values, cultural practices, and expressions
certainly impact history, how we as humans do politics, eco-
nomics, and organize ourselves (in social institutions), and how
we interact with the environment. However, beliefs, values,
cultural practices, and artistic expression also reflect economic
and political practices and the phy sical environment in which
they are located. A quick example of how this symbiotic rela -
tionship works can be seen in the clothes people wear. Clothes
not only reflect cultural beliefs, but they also reflect climate
(hot, humid, cold) and the economic resources (availability of
materials, i.e. cotton, wool, etc., trade patterns and costs) and
history (impact of outside influence, i.e. introduction of Islam
or colonialism on dress).
The fact that African culture is environmentally contingent
presupposes that there are inherent human values for environ-
mental sustainability which ha d been abandoned by the modern
generation of Africans. This environmental contingency and
friendliness of African culture arise from its thr ee components
which research by why Stud y Africa has elaborately identified
and explained below as follows:
1) Culture as system of beliefs, values, andworld view
Unlike other animals, human beings are distinguished in part
by the ability to think, to conceptualize, and to form systems of
values and beliefs. Values, when coalesced into systems, form
specific ways of sanctioning behavior and of interpreting and
viewing the world. Soc ial scientists often define these particular
systems of interpreting and acting in the world as cultures.
However, cultures, so defined, are not in any sense permanent.
Rather, they are constantly challenged and changing;
2) Culture as human practice-ritual
As indicated above, culture, understood as a system of values,
beliefs, and perceptions, not only influences the distinctive
ways we view the world, but also informs distinctive human
behavior, particularly the way we organize ourselves in social
3) Culture as human expression: art, architecture, clothing,
language (literature), music, performance, film
Culture is also the arena of human expression. This module
can only introduce the wonderful diversity of artistic expression
in Africa. One of the most egregious misconceptions of cultural
expression in Africa is that it is static or traditional and that real
African cultural expression was interrupted, or destroyed, by
colonialism. While colonialism often had a very deleterious
impact on African culture, it did not destroy or co-opt the crea-
tive spirit of African artists and cultures. A frican cultural ex-
pression is very dyna m ic (Why Study Africa-African studies
Center/African online digital library, 2012).
Culture is therefore part of African philosophy. But part of
culture is the ethics and human values reflecting the ideas and
beliefs of the African society that bear on proper ethical con-
duct. This aspect of African ethical conduct has not been give
elaborate investigation, clarification and extensive analysis.
According to the Standford Scholar has given a lucid insight
into the nature of this ethical obscurity in the history of global
In the last three decades or so, attempts have been made by
contemporary African philosophers to give sustained reflective
attention to African moral ideas. This entry is intended to make
some contribution to the understanding of African ethical think-
ing. The entry makes the African moral language its point of
departure, for the language of morality gives insight into the
moral thinking or ideas of the society. The centrality of the no-
tions of character and moral personhood, which are inspired by
the African moral language, is given a prominent place. The
term “ethicsis technically used by philosophers to mean a phi-
losophical study of morality—morality understood as a set of
social rules, principles, norms that guide or are intended to
guide the conduct of people in a society, and as beliefs about
right and wrong conduct as well as good or bad character. Even
though morality is the subject matter of ethics, it is most often
used interchangeably withethics”. We can comfortably define
nevertheless, ethics as the basic features, the core elements of
the morality of a society, taken to mean in the culture of Afri-
can culture as moral principles and values that actually guide and
influence the lives of a people that enable them to be what they
are or sustain themselves in their environment and empower
them to overcome challenges facing them in the millennium.
As argued by the template of Standard encyclopedia of Phi-
losophy—African ethics—the moral beliefs and circumstances
of their own societies constitute the immediate focus of their
philosophical activities—for hu m an experience is most directly
felt within some specific social or cultural context—neverthe-
less, moral philosophers do not think or imply at all that the
results of their reflective activities are to be tethered to their
own societies as such. They believe, to the contrary, that, in the
light of our common humanity, which speaks to the common
sentiments, purposes, responses, hopes, and aspirations of all
human beings in respect of certain situations, the conclusions of
their reflections would, surely, have implications for the capa-
cious community of humankind, for the universal human family.
Thus, moral principles and rules may emerge from or evolved
by a particular human society; even so, they are principles that
can—and do—apply to all human societies inasmuch as they
respond to basic human needs, interests, and purposes’.
We can readily see that human conduct and behavior in any
environment are subject matters of both philosophy and psy-
chology. Ethical considerations of human behavior concern
reflective human thinking, behavior, conduct and attitudes as
they relate to the disciplines of psychology and philosophy in a
multidisciplinary manner. The psychological dispositions of the
African towards his environment reflect his philosophical
thinking, belies, human values and emotional motivations. The
African has a cosmological, ontological and axiological atti-
tudes towards his environment. The Igbo word for character is
isomume”. In Africa, character is the essence of et hics or
morality”. The implication here is that ethics or morality is
conceived in terms essentially of character. It is noteworthy that
the Greek word ethike, from which the English word “ethics
derives means “character” (Ethos). What we callethicsAris-
totle calls “the study (or, science) of character”, the ethike. For
the Greek, as for the African and the Arab, the character of the
individual matters most in our moral life and thought (Stanford
encyclopedia). The same template on African ethics supports
this and goes further to further observations that have i mpli-
Open Access
cations for the development of good African environmental
behavior and character, presently lacking in the continent:
There are of course other moral concepts in the African mor-
al language and thought. The concepts of good, bad (or, evil),
right and wrong feature prominently in African moral thought,
as they do in the moral systems of other peoples and cultures.
In Akan, for instance, pa or papa means good and bone means
bad or evil (see below). Thus, the expression onipa bone means
a ba d person. A bad person is said to be a person with a bad
character, suban bone. When a person is known to be honest or
generous or compassionate, he would be judged by the Akan as
a good person, by which they mean that he has a good charac-
ter (suban). A person would be judged as having a bad charac-
ter if he is considered dishonest, wicked, or cruel. In most mor-
al evaluations reference is made to the character of a person;
thus, character is basic—the crucial elementin Akan, as it is
in African, ethics generally. Iwa (character) is, for the Yoruba,
“perhaps the most important moral concept. A person is moral-
ly evaluated according to his/her iwawhether good or bad
(Gbadegesin, 1991: p. 79). African ethics is, thus, a character-
based ethics that mai ntains t hat the quality of the individual’s
character is most fundamental in our moral life. Good character
is the essence of the African moral syste m, the linchpin of the
moral wheel. The justification for a character-based ethics is
not far to seek. For, all that a society can do, regarding moral
conduct, is to impart moral knowledge to its members, making
them aware of the moral values and principles of that society.
In general, society satisfactorily fulfills this duty of imparting
moral knowledge to its members through moral education of
various forms, including, as in African societies, telling moral-
ly-freighted proverbs and folktales to its younger members. But,
having moral knowledge—being made aware of the moral prin-
ciples and rules of the society—is one thing; being able to lead
a life consonant with the moral principles is quite another. An
individual may know and may even accept a moral rule, s uch as,
say, it is wrong to cheat the customs. But he may fail to apply
this rule to a particular situation; he is, thus, not able to effect
the transition from knowledge to action, to carry out the impli-
cations of his moral belief. In the Akan and other African moral
systems such a moral failure would be put down to the lack of a
good character (suban pa). In other words, the ability to act in
accord with the moral principles and rules of the society re-
quires the possession of a good character. Character is defined
by the Akan thinkers in terms of habits, which result from a
person’s deeds or actions: “character comes from your actions”
(or deeds: nneyee), says an Akan traditional thinker. Persistent
performance of a particular action will produce a certain habit
and, thus, a corresponding character. To acquire virtue, a per-
son must perform good actions, that is, morally acceptable ac-
tions so that they become habitual. The action or deed that led
to the acquisition of a newly good habit must be persistently
performed in order to strengthen that habit; in this way, virtue
(or, good character) is acquired.
Over time such an acquired virtue becomes a habit . Mutatis
mutandis, an acquired environmental virtue of proper waste
disposal and not casual dumping of refuse in a sewage pipe
could many lives as a good environmental habit from a good
African character manifested by moral personhood in his pe r-
sonality. What is personhood in this context? Let me start the
analysis of moral personhood in African moral philosophy with
a statement made by Ifeanyi Menkiti, an African philosopher
from Nigeria:
The various societies found in traditional Africa routinely
accept this fact that personhood is the sort of thing which has to
be attained, and is attained in direct proportion as one partici-
pates in communal life through the discharge of the various
obligations defined by one’s stations. It is the carrying out of
these obligations that transforms one from the it-status of early
child-hood, marked by an absence of moral function, into the
person-status of later years, marked by a widened maturity of
ethical sensean ethical maturity without which personhood is
conceived as eluding one (Ifeanyi Menkiti, 1984: p. 176).
The Notions of Characte r, Personhood, Common
Good Humanity, Brotherhood and the Ethics of Duty
as Part of the Ingrained Environmental Human
Values in African Philosophy and Ethics
The notions of character, personhood, common good Hu-
manity, Brotherhood and the ethics of duty are part of the in-
grained environmental human values in African philosophy and
Ethics. They are perceived and accepted as prominent features
of the African moral environment that shapes the African social
and moral thought and practice.They are among the moral or
human values that constitute the basic—perhaps the ultimate
criteria that not only motivate but also justify human actions
that affect other human beings. A contemporary thinker, writ-
ing through the Standard philosophical lexicon (2011) sees
them and describes their angular influences very profoundly in
the following depositions:
Humanity and brotherhood: In African terms, humanity is
not just an anthropological term; it is also a moral term when it
comes to considering the relations between members of the
human species. The termbrotherhoodhas come to refer to an
association of men and/or women with common aims and in-
terests. But the notion of brotherhood is essentially a moral
notion, for it is about the relations between individual human
beings that make for their own interest and well-being. There is
some affiliation between humanity and brotherhood in African
ethical conceptions: if we are human, we are (must be) brothers,
in a capacious, comprehensive sense of the wordbrother” (to
be discussed shortly). Humanity has no boundary. A practical
translation of the idea of brotherhood leads to such social and
moral virtues as hospitality, generosity, concern for others, and
communal feeling;
The notion of the common good: It can therefore be inter-
preted as symbolizing the good of all the individuals within a
The common good is not a surrogate for the sum of the vari-
ous individual goods. It does not consist of, or derive from, the
goods and preferences of particular individuals. It is that which
is essentially good for human beings as such, embracing the
needs that are basic to the enjoyment and fulfillment of the life
of each individual. If the common good were the aggregate of
individual goods, it would only be contingently, not essentially,
common and, on that score, it would not be achieved in a way
that will benefit all the individuals in a society. If the common
good is achieved, then the individual good is also achieved.
Thus, there should be no conceptual tension or opposition be-
tween the common good and the good of the individual member
of the community, for the common good embraces the goods—
the basic goods—of all the members of the community;
The ethics of duty: The ethics of a society is embedded in the
ideas and beliefs about what is right or wrong, what is a good
or bad character; it is also embedded in the conceptions of
satisfactory social relations and attitudes held by the members
Open Access
of the society; it is embedded, furthermore, in the forms or pat-
terns of behavior that are considered by the members of the
society to bring about social harmony and cooperative living,
justice, and fairness. The ideas and beliefs about moral conduct
are articulated, analyzed, and interpreted by the moral thinkers
of the society. African societies, as organized and functioning
human communities, have undoubtedly evolved ethical sys-
temsethical values, principles, rules—intended to guide so-
cial and moral behavior African ethics, is a humanitarian eth-
ics, the kind of ethics that plac e s a great deal of emphasis on
human welfare. The concern for human welfare may be said to
constitute the hub of the African axiological wheel. This orien-
tation of African ethics takes its impulse, undoubtedly, from the
humanistic outlook that characterizes traditional African life
and thought. Humanism—the doctrine that sees human needs
and interests as fundamental—thus constitutes the foundation
of African ethics. Social or community life itself, a robust fea-
ture of the African communitarian society, mandates a morality
that clearly is weighted on duty to others and to the community;
it constitutes the foundation for moral responsibilities and ob-
ligations. There appears to be a conceptual tie—perhaps also a
practical tie—between the soci al ethic prescribed by the com-
munitarian ethos and the ethic of duty mandated by the same
ethos. A morality of duty is one that requires each individual to
demonstrate concern for the interests of others. The ethical
values of compassion, solidarity, reciprocity, cooperation, in-
terdependence, and social wel l-being, which are counted among
the principles of the communitarian morality, primarily impose
duties on the individual with respect to the community and its
members (Stanford Encyclopeadia, 2010).
As we can see, the African ethical environment is one suf-
fused with human and spiritual values. This moral environment
is peopled by human values whi ch a re communitarian ethos
which can, and had been tapped in the past to manage the Afri-
can environment in a sustainable manner. Our Standford ethi-
calist underscores this environmental potential and influence:
African morality is founded on humanism, the doctrine that
considers human interests and welfare as basic to the thought
and action of the people. It is this doctrine as understood in
African moral thought that has given rise to the communitarian
ethos of the African society. For, ensuring the welfare and in-
terests of each member of society can hardly be accomplished
outside the communitarian society . The communitarian ethos is
also borne of beliefs about the natural sociality of the human
being, expressed, for instance, in the Akan maxi m, previously
referred to, that says thatwhen a human being descends from
the heavens, he descends into a human town” (onipa firi soro
besi a, ob esi onipa kurom). Social or community life is, thus,
not optional to the human being. Social life, which follows
upon our natural sociality, implicates the individual in a web of
moral obligations, commitment s, and dutie s to be fulfilled in
pursuit of the common good or the general welfare.
It is not just in Akan that we have a suffuse of communita-
rian and communalistic human values but also in the Igbo indi-
genous community of south Eastern Nigeria. We are obliged to
analy ze and explain that dimension in the context of Kantian
ethical propositions.
Re-Examining the Commu n al Values of the Igbo
Man’s Personality in Hi s Environmental
Management and Search for Sustainability
The African personality is a personality centered on com-
munal values which are necessary fallouts of his metaphysical
and cosmological world centered naturally upon his God. In his
inner world t he Supreme Being, who oversees the affairs of the
community is manifested and represented in his personality as
his chi, a personal conscience which determines his sense of
moral right and wrong. While the Supreme Being creates a
social conscience with communal value s which ensure that the
society progresses, prospers, and succeeds at what it applies
itself to do, the individual conscience ensures compliance with
the metaphysical synergy of the society. Such vibrancy and
development could result only when t he social and individual
integrity of the community is maintained. The destruction of
such integrity results in much destruction and underdevelop-
ment in the community. There is no doubt that, by single tragic
act of abandoning Igbo core primordial values, the Igbo man of
the 21st century has become a ghost of his former vibrant and
dynamic self who was capable of contributing selflessly to the
creative and productive development of his society. In the 2002
Iguaro Igbo heritage lecture entitled The Igbo lost worlds;
Christopher Ebigbo enumerates some positive values and nega-
tive vices which have, for good or bad, contributed to the cur-
rent deplorable state of underdevelopment and moral asphyxia-
tion in Igbo land. It is necessary to enumerate some of the per-
sonality traits Nd’igbos are known for and are currently losing
as a result of moving away from their traditional value system
(4). Ebigbo outlines and explains the se lost values and acquired
vice as follows:
Disregard and Disrespect to Elders
The Igbo today obviously has more regard to material wealth
than he has for human beings. He has no respect for elders. He
feels that everybod y is equal in all spheres of life in as much as
he fends for himself. This has given them bad reputation in
other parts of Nigeria.
He has more concern for himself than for others. He is such
that forgets eve ry other person when it comes to satisfying
himself. This has made him infamous in Nigeria.
By all indication, an Igbo man is the type that feels very ar-
rogant to reckon with others at any point in time. He believes
that he is a king in his home in as much as nobody feeds him
and his family, therefore damning every other person and the
people in authority. This has made him infamous in Nigeria.
Transparency or Proven Character
An Igbo man, of course, is naturally endowed with and exhi-
bits a proven character or transparency. T his results from the
Igbo belief that “imebi aha nwa ogaranya ka ogbugbu yaas
well as their belief in the Igbo customary meaning thatNeze
aha ka uba”. Thi s transparency still exists but has been badly
battered by the present phenomenon of 419. This is a reflection
of Ozo-Eze symbolism propagated by the Nri system.
Self-Esteem and Self-Belief
An Igbo man is one who strongly believes in self-esteem and
Open Access
self-belief. That is, the consciousness that whatever is worth
doing is worth doing well and the desire to attain the peak of
his target in it. The Igbo man has strong self-reliance in his
ability to achieve his goal in life. He believes that there is noth-
ing any man c ould do to him and could not be e ve n better.
Dedication to Duty
An Igbo man is known to be highly dedicated to duty result-
ing in his belief that in whatever field of endeavour he or she is
found he must remain an achiever.
An Igbo man believes that he is being cultured in doing
things in a proper or universally accepted manner. In other
words, he is bestowed with pure sense of standardism.
An Igbo man is no doubt a man full of ambition. He wants to
be at the top or ahead of others in every field of life.
An Igbo man is one who always perseveres in his struggle to
make ends meet. He is extra resilient to retrogressive factors of
life. No matter the ups and downs in his struggle to survival, an
Igbo man believes that giving up is not the best, so the end
determines the means. This is a reflection of Ikenga symbolism.
An Igbo ma n is one always full of self-control. His all time
consciousness is to respect and avoid disgrace to himself. This
imbibes in him the sense of self-control. Again this is another
Ikenga quality.
This is one of t he natural attributes of an Igbo man. An Igbo
man is conscious at all times of self-defense and the desi re to
conquer. This is found in the Igbo adage “mberede ny i ri dike,
mana mberede k’eji ama dike” meaning: surprise attack con-
quers the brave but it is also that which marks the brave.
Hard Working
The Igbos are hard workers, because they natural ly believed
in the philosophy that one must always be the architect of his or
her own destiny. Therefore, they determined to work hard and
succeed. This is again another Ikenga symbolism.
Human Dignity and the Igbo Man’s Personalit y
In this research the effort and the attempts to throw light on,
and show the fundamental similarities and differences between
African and Kantian ethical conceptions by examining t he
foundational ethics and morality using the communal golden
rule principle of African ethics and Kant’s categorical impera-
tive as tools of comparative analysis needs a little exposition.
The basic elements of African indigenous ethics revolve around
the “Golden Rule Principleas the ultimate moral principle.
This principle states that, “Do unto others what y ou want
them to do unto you”. This principle compares favorably with
Immanuel Kant’s ethical foundational principle whose mai n
thrust revolves around his “Categorical Imperative”, with the
injunction for us toAct only on that maxim through which you
can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”.
The categorical imperative becomes for Kant, the principle of
reason and universalizability, which according to Kant, is cate-
gorical and must be equally binding on everyone. This idea of
Kant, we argue, compares with the “Golden Rule Principle”.
Comparing the two ethical principles, Godwin Azenabor gives
more exposition but gives more authenticity to the humanism of
African communalistic values:
Both are rationalistic and social but the limitation of Kant
which I hope to point out is the idea that moral intentions can
be fully grounded on reason. I argue that huma n interest or
welfare is the basis for morality. This refusal to see the wider
horizon of morality is precisely the limitation of Kant’s prin-
ciple, which makes it quite insufficient as the foundation of
morality. The African conception is more humanistic and better
describes morality. The main difference between the two ethi-
cal systems lie s in the fact that whereas the “golden rulestarts
from the self and considers the consequences on the self before
others, the universalizability principle on the other hand con-
siders the consequences on others first before self. We argue
that both are rationalistic and social but that that of Kant is
insufficient as the foundation of morality and that the African’s,
which is more humanistic and pragmatic, describes morality
better. African ethics is that branch of African philosophy,
which deals with the critical reflection on the manner, or nature
of life, conduct, behavior and character of the African. African
ethics is defined by K. Wiredu “as the observance of rules for
the harmonious adjustment of the interest of the individual to
those of others in society” (Wiredu 1998: p. 210), it is the con-
ceptualization, appropriation, contextualization and analysis of
values within the African cultural experience. African ethics
presupposes a regional ethics. Even though theories and ideas
of universal character are propounded in ethics, they do not
diverge from their prevailing cultural experience, the philo-
sophical spirit of their age, challenges of the time, history, tra-
dition and civilization that they find themselves. This is the
basis then for the appellate “African ethics”.
From the above arguments and depositions ther e is stable
theoretical background that gives authenticity to the existence
and application of the pristine Igbo man’s ethics, morality and
values as the projection of contemporary African ethical discip-
lined source of a better human conduct and behavior. While
arguing for the comparative moral pragmatism of African mo-
rality to Kant’s mere individualistic bent, this does not give any
theoretical room for this discourse to throw away the entire effi-
cacy of the Kantian moral template, especially as it concerns
the concepts of human dignity and its role in the refinement and
creation of a better human society which we have already re-
ferred to and would be explaine d in greater detail later in the
article. This exposition therefore throws more light not only on
Igbo morality but also the basic thrusts of the African moral
discourse which is aimed at creating a better society where
human dignity and rights is respected and honored. Each time I
go through Monsignor Professor Obiora Ike’s work, “Under-
standing Africa” (2008), I have this strong intuitive perception
of the correspondence between the concept of human dignity
and the communal values that define the personality and integr-
ity of the Igbo man. According to Professor Ike, the Igbo Afri-
Open Access
can communal values are the only authentic basis for culturally
rooted and sustainable development in Africa. There is no
doubt that when Professor Ike talks about African indigenous
values which are universal and shared globally we have on our
hands the concept of the human dignity and the values which
produced them in human personalities as espoused primarily by
Emmanuel Kant. These values when maintained as in the Afri-
can past, have always contributed to the balanced development
of its society and ensure the well-being of its citizens. There is
interconnectedness between the maintenance of these values
and the development of the society. As argued and pointed by
Ike, Obiora:
A deeper understanding of t he African culture and its peoples
will ultimately breed a profound respect for, and embrace of,
African traditional values which, when properly understood,
reveal to the discerning mind a wisdom of the ages, capable of
providing s ome solutions to our contemporary search for sus-
tainable development and a peaceful, equitable society.
There is need to harness the innovative potential in our so-
cieties and cultures with a view to effecting a sustainable and
self-reliant rationalization and modernization of communities.
Our challenge is to search for appropriate paradigms and ex-
pressions to define and evaluate cultural, social, ethical and
religious conditions relevant to our many Africa societies.
Culture and Environment Conservation
Practices among the Baganda, Uganda
The Case of the Baganda in Uganda was given by Leonard
Ssozi (2012). Leornard has given a profund expose that has
treated the indigenous educational system, natur e preservation,
agro-ecology and sustainable use of resources by Baganda in-
digenous peoples of Africa.He treated his situational value
analysis of t he Baganda human values for sustainable environ-
mental management under four headings whi ch we shall re-
produce with hi s permission below:
The Indigenous Education System and Environment
The Ancient Baganda cosmology promoted values that sup-
ported conservation and discouraged values and ethics incom-
patible with sustainable ways of life (Lubowa, 2009). This oral
tradition was passed on from generation to generation through
strict instruction of the young by the old using stories, taboos,
riddles, slogans, tales, poet ry, commentaries, proverbs, sayings,
and songs with the intent to teach conservation of the environ-
ment (Osei-Ama kye, 1993). Njogu (2006) observes that stor y-
telling was a woman’s genre us ed to interweave experiences
and share thes e with communities. He contends that revival of
story-telling and oral traditional mythology could contribute
immensely in the empowerment of women. In this regard, edu-
cation institutions ought to give girls and boys equal opportuni-
ties to respond to oral questions in a bid to equip them with
essential skills needed to articulate their positions and interpre-
tation of the world, without necessarily waiting for prompts
from males.
Nature Preservation among the Baganda
The Role of Totems in Nature Preservation
The totemic system of the Baganda depicts a strong e thical
connection between human beings and nature. Each clan (ekika)
has a totem (omuziro), which could be an animal, insect or
plant, and it is forbidden to eat one’s totem, t he mother’s and
grandmother’s. This ethical stand thus places a responsibility
on each clan member to promote ecological sustainability
through protection of totems against harm and destruction.
Marriage between people of the same clan is a taboo and prohi-
bited. The reason for this is to prevent s pread of hereditary
diseases (such as sickle cell anemia), an aspect of preservation
of life. Secondly, marrying from other clans is intended to
promote harmony and togetherness among the different clans of
the kingdom. The totemic system is one of the few surviving
and respected cultural practices in the kingdom.
Agro Ecology among the Baganda
In Buganda, women were the most efficient custodians of the
diversity of food species in their gardens. Greater access to and
control over a wide range of crops would help them provide for
their families, a virtue required for preservation of biodiversity
(Rea, 1995). The Baganda practiced mixed farming where or-
ganic manure in form of plant remains, cow dung and urine,
and chicken droppings was applied to gardens to improve soil
fertility. Compost pits were dug for proper disposal of rubbish
and refuse (Ssozi, 2007). T his decomposed manure was applied
to gardens to improve their fertility. Trees were planted in gar -
dens to provide shade for the plants, to act as wind breaks, and
also to demarcate people’s farmlands and homes. Using shifting
cultivation, gardens where rested for a particular period so as to
regain their fertility. Reviving organic agriculture would help
conserve water, mitigate climate change, and ensure sustained
biodiversity (IFORM, 2009).
The Baganda Sustainable Practices in Resource Use
There were places with special healing power that were re-
garded as sacred in the kingdom. These included forests, rivers,
bushes and swamps. There were certain tree species that were
not supposed to be cut down as well as animal species that were
not supposed to be killed. For example, I grew up knowing that
if one killed a lizard (omunya), he or she would not go to hea-
ven. This was communicated in one of t he popular traditional
songs. Each village had a sacred groove or a small forest dedi-
cated to ancestral spirits (misambwa). As Sozi (2007) rightly
points out, these sacred forests and grooves were a source of
herbs and it was an abomination to fetch firewood from them.
Similarly, the kings’ houses were constructed using timber
from tree species of kirundu, enzingu, ensalaganyi and namu-
kago (Kaggwa, 2005). Therefore, it was incumbent upon chiefs
to mobilize people to pla nt these tree species for use during
construction. In a country where the cultural leaders have been
rendered powerless, it would be good to empower them to
champion the conservation of the earth’s vitality and diversity
as was the case in the pre-independence times. The Baganda
respected the sacredness of life by showing utmost care for
fellow humans, plants and animals. Mbiti (1990: p. 106) un-
derscored the importance of belief in community among tradi-
tional Africans arguing that, in an African context, the individ-
ual does not and cannot exist alone. He accordingly concluded
that an individual can only say: “I am because we are, and since
we are, therefore I am”.
The African Behavior towards His Environment:
An Ethical Consideration of Nigeria and South
Africans have abandoned the hu m an values of environmental
behavior and ethica for which our forefathers were renowned
Open Access
over the centuries. This abandonment has been documented and
efforts made by scholars to design a normative environmental
ethics and morality. However, there are environmental crisis in
tow as recorded by Ojomo (2011: Abstract):
Global concerns about the current environmental crisis have
culminated into some controversial environmental ethical theo-
ries, i.e., normative environmental ethics, sentientist ethics,
biocentric ethics, ecocentric ethics and eco-feminist ethics. One
of the fundamental underlying features connecting t hese envi -
ronmental ethical theories is their grounding in Western pers-
pectives and cultural experiences. Given that environmental
concerns are global concerns, a nd that the imperative of envi-
ronmental ethics is challenging those life-threatening concerns,
critical explorations of environmental ethics need to go beyond
the Western horizon. But with respect to the African perspec-
tive to environmental ethics and the people’s cultural under-
standing of t he environmental crisis, little has been done in this
penultimate area. However, Segun Ogungbemi and Godfrey
Tangwa have pioneered philosophical discussions on environ-
mental ethics from an African vantage point. Hence, Ogungbe-
mi defends what he callsethics of nature-relatedness,” while
Tangwa proposes “eco-bio-communitarianism” as a definitive
theory of an African orientation to environmental ethics. This
paper is therefore a contribution to the consolidation of an
African orientation to environmental ethics through a critique
and reconstruction of some of the misrepresentations of the
African perspective to the environment, implicit in the argu-
ments of Ogungbemi and Tangwa.
Describing a scathing narrative of t he environmental con-
cerns and negative attitudes of Africans, Ojobo went virile,
drawing attention to the contrast between the past and the
Africa has a complex history of valuable heritages as well as
multifaceted challenges in her cultural-politico evolution. Since
primordial times, African people have had a humane and peace-
ful society and environment informed by a sound ethics. But
owing to some internal dynamics in the people’s culture and
some other external constraints and forces, African states are
now experiencing acute developmental challenges which have
impacted negatively on their environment. Besides political
issues arising from leadership ineptitude and capitalist aggran-
dizement, which have brought about vices of corruption, injus-
tice, poverty and underdevelopment of the continent, there is
now a new dimension to the African crisis. And this is the en-
vironmental imbroglio. It is a known fact today that the envi-
ronment crisis is one of the most pressing and timely concern of
our planet in the turn of the 21st century. As a global pheno-
menon, no society is totally immune against the threats and
dangers, which the environmental crisis poses to humanity and
our collective planet, the earth. But with respect to the African
experience, a vast area of land rich in natural resources of all
categories, flora and fauna of immense diversities, the dimen-
sion of the global environmental crisis in the continent has a
peculiar character. The causes of environmental pollution and
degradation, environmental injustice, poverty of effective cop-
ing and management strategies in challenging the environmen-
tal crisis, and lack of a viable environmental ethics that takes
cognizance of the peculiar dynamics of the environmental crisis
in Africa are issues worth courting with philosophically.
Nigeria: How NigeriansAttitudes Underdevelop the
A Nigerian researcher, Sani Babadoko (2005) paints a pain-
ful picture of negati ve environmental management of the peo-
ple, which obviously point to the fact that the y have lost their
pristine Africa human values and attitudes towards environ-
mental management:
In his satirical book: The Problem with Nigeria, Chinua
Achebe demonstrated how negative values and attitudes have
become a stumbling block to Nigeria’s development as a nation.
Though written several decades ago, t he book captures the atti-
tude of Nigerians since the country became independent. It is a
commentary on how this attitude has continued to impede the
development of the country. Today several Nigerians in high
places continue to display these negati ve values, perceptions
and attitudes. Since 1990 over 20,000 Nigerians have lost their
lives in fires in connection with petroleum pipeline vandaliza-
tion. It happened because these Nigerians have been told
projects and services designed for their economic empower-
ment were still in the pipeline, and since they desi red to see the
impact of t hese unfulfilled promises on their lives they went for
the pipeline carrying petroleum products to get a direct impact
of the oil wealth. The results, as we saw, were very catastrophic.
The reasons w hy these negative environmental policies, pro-
grams and habits continue both on the Government’s side and
those in leadership is because the indigenous local knowledge
of environmental conservation or sustainability is often not
engaged, ignore or disengaged from environmental manage-
ment operations of those concerned. This could be ascribed to
non-non-participatory and non-people governance approach to
environmental and nature conservation. The idea is that engag-
ing and involving the people in the planning and programming
of environmental management systems would have helped to
inject the rich value-modeled indigenous knowledge systems
that are part of African culture. This was why, supporting this
assertion Oko ji Maurice argues for t he empowerment of indi-
genous local communities in Forest conservation policies:
Participation involves organized efforts to increase control
over resources and regulative institutions in given social situa-
tions, on t he part of groups and movements of those hitherto
excluded from such control (Pearse & Stirfel)… Despite the
strong and convincing reasons for integrating local communi-
ties and conservation planning and management in an effort to
promote biodiversity in Forests, the process by which protected
areas are conceived, planne d, managed and monitored works
against the involvement of the people. This is because the
process begins with a top-down approach in which outside
international and national agencies are recruited in the process
long before the local people are thought of, not to mention
involved. Conservationists should start with a bottom-up pers-
pective with the aim of empowering the local people to define
their goals and attain the means of seeking solutions to eco-
nomic and ecological problems posed by the challenge of sus-
tainable biodiversity.
Perception of Environmental Challenges in South
The late 20th and early 21st centuries witnessed the emer-
gence of the environment as an important political and social
issue (Berglund, 2006; Dunlap, Gallup, & Gallup, 1993; Ebero
& Vining, 2001; Inglehart, 1995; Rohrschneider, 1988; Jacobs,
2002; Schellas & Pfeffer, 2005). Rising concerns about envi-
ronmental pollution and global warming led governments a nd
civil society alike to expand efforts to increase public aware-
Open Access
ness of water, air and ground pollution and the means for alle-
viating these conditions. How views regarding environmental
conditions are developed, the relationship of these views to
behaviors regarding these circumstances and the relative influ-
ence of living conditions, social status and other factors in
forming these attitudes and resultant behaviors are important
questions in social science. The broader public understanding
of these matters is also an essential ingredient for informed
responses to climate change and related environmental con-
cerns Exploring Environmental Consciousness in South Africa
(Barbara A. Anderson Marie Wentzel, John H. Romani, Heston
Phillips (2010). What are these concerns? They centre around
the issues of environmental degradation. Recent studies in the
social sciences concering these issues are supported by the
following reports by the Barbra, Wentzel, Romani and Phillips,
especially as they concern South Africa and Afr ica generally:
The role of socio-economic status and individual character-
istics in the development of perceptions about the environment
and actions taken to cope with environmental pollution have
been studied by social scientists for several years (Van Liere &
Dunlap, 1980; Rohrschneider, 1988; Dunlap & Scarce, 1991;
Hunter, Strife, & Twine, 2009; Jacobs, 2002; White & Hunter,
2009). One body of work gave rise to the position that the con-
cern about the environment and its protection were more likely
to found in developed societies where populations enjoyed
higher socio-economic status (Franzen, 2003; Inglehart, 1995)
Other studies challenged this position, arguing that awareness
of environment pollution as well as a willingness to take action
to mitigate these conditions is also found in developing socie-
ties (Anderson et al., 2007; Dunlap, Gallup, & Gallup, 1993;
Goksen et al., 2002; Jacobs, 2002; Dunlap & York, 2008; White
& Hunter, 2009). A common element in findings from these
studies is that socio-economic factors have a differential in-
fluence depending upon both individual circumstances and the
particular questions of environmental concern that are being
explored. Moreover, the strength of the relationship between
any given factor, or set of factors, may also vary according to
the particular situation of the population concerned. Our find-
ing in an earlier study of perceptions about water pollution in
South Africa thatthose most directly affected by water pollu-
tion were also most likely to see it as a problembears this out
(Anderson et al., 2007). White and Hunter (2009) concluded in
their study of Ghananiansattitudes about environmental mat-
ters that: “…residents of less-wealthy nations also often pri-
oritize environmental issues” (White & Hunter, 2009: p. 980).
Gosken and his colleagues (2002) reported the capacity to dif-
ferentiate among environmental issues in their study in Turkey
of the effects of the geographical proximity of an environmental
problem on environmental attitudes and a willingness to pay to
deal with that condition. Hunter and her associates (2009: p.
20) noted in their study of environmental perceptions of rural
South Africans that among people and communities around the
worldthere may actually be more commonality than differ-
ences with regard to social and environmental concerns.
Sustainable Human Values, Attitudes and
Behaviors-Recommendations for Africa
According to a report released by Leiserowtz et al. (2004)
entitledsustainability values,attitudes, and behaviors: a review
of multi-national and global trends”, Most advocates of sus-
tainable development recognize the need for changes in human
values, attitudes, and behaviors in order to achieve a sustaina-
bility transition that will meet human needs and reduce hunger
and poverty, while maintaining the life support systems of the
planet (National Research Council, 1999). Values are expres-
sions of, or beliefs in, the worth of objects, qualities, or beha-
viors. We can see very clearly that every research and evidence
points to new philosophy of science; a new philosophy of en-
vironmental ethics; a new philosophy of psychology and a new
psychology of philosophy leading to the establishment of a new
discipline in the social science that will be known as the phi-
losophy and psychology of sustainable environment manage-
ment in Africa which will lead to a better private and public
health systems. Central to the establishment of that innovative
discipline we need to first philosophize psychology and philo-
sophize psychology so as to achieve sustainable health and en-
vironmental safety in the continent. This implies that we rec-
ommend the following points of action:
Research into New Areas Connect Philosophy an d
Psychology as Human Health Disciplines
There is need for More Research in new areas of philosophy,
psychology and environmentalism.
We must move forward in this conference by widening the
frontiers of the associated areas in the social science. This point
is accepted by many scholars t oday such as Mabogunje 2004:
Most advocates of sustainable development recognize that
for it to be realized would require changes in human values,
attitudes, and behaviors... Despite the importance of such value
changes, however, relatively little is known about the long-term
global trends in values, attitudes, and behaviors that will both
help or hinder a sustainability transition”.
A review of global sustainability values, attitudes, and beha-
viors has summarized findings from the handful of global-scale
surveys with relevant data (World Values Survey, 2012). All
the human value s found in Africa n ethics identified in this ar-
ticle correspond with global sustainability values, attitudes, and
behaviors and could be applied to achieve the new upscale
turn-around of the African environmental crisis. The National
research council (1999) has already identified core areas that
would benefit from a value engendered human environmental
habit and behavior in the African personality and gave what
should constitute the tenable ends and goals of sustainability for
a value guided environmental management in Africa(touching
majorly on Nature, People, Life Support, Economy, community,
and Society) elaborated as follows : stained:
What is to be developed:
A) Nature: Earth, Biodiversity, Ecosystems
B) People: Child Survival, Life Expectancy, Education, Eq-
uity, Equal Opportunity
C) Life Support: Ecosystem Services, Resources, Environ-
D) Economy: Wealth, Productive Sectors, Consumption
E) Community: Cultures, Groups, Places
F) Society: Institutions, Social Capital, States, Regions
The Need for Change in Values, Attitudes, and Behavior
Secondly there is need for a radical change in behavior and
attitudes as new research finds emerge as above. As we make
recommendations there is a need to note t hat most advocates of
sustainable human values and sustainable development recog-
nize the need for changes in human values, attitudes, and beha-
Open Access
viors in order to achieve a sustainability transition in African
environmental management and approaches which will lead to
people acting on Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors; accelerating
requisite ethical action in environment management;
Bridging Barriers
We also find that widely shared sustainability values and at-
titudes are a necessary, but insufficient condition for the achi-
evement of sustainability goals. There are a number of critical
gaps or barriers that obstruct the translation of abstract values
and attitudes into concrete actions. These include at least three
main types of barriers. First are the existence, direction, and
strength of particular values and attitudes. For example, des pite
a remarkable global public consensus regarding the va lue of
environmental protection, the current human-nature relationship
is clearly unsustainable. In this case, global environmental val-
ues exist and are heading in the right direction but remain low
priorities relative to other values (e.g., economic growth).
Choosing Values over Environmental Vices/Wastes
Finally, we live in a world of limited resources, including
time, energy, money, and attention. In this context, human be-
ings are forced to choose, consciously or unconsciously, be-
tween competing values.
Individuals and societies may unanimously support abstract
values like economic growth, security , freedom, and environ-
mental protection in isolation, but in the realm of concrete deci-
sion-making, t hese values are often incommensurate, thus tra-
deoffs have to be made. For example, large majorities world-
wide va lue both environmental protection and economic pros-
perity. Yet these two values often conflict in particular situa-
tions, as difficult choices have to be made between species
protection vs commercial exploitation, forest protection vs log-
ging, or shifting to cleaner, but more expensive energy sources
vs the exploitation of polluting, but cheap fossil fuels like coal.
Establishing Environmental Education Curriculum and
Environmental education is a learning process that increases
people’s knowledge and awareness about the environment and
associated challenges (UNESCO, Tbilisi Declaration, 1978).
For environmental education to be meaningful, it should enable
people to gain an understanding of how individual actions on
values and participation affect the environment. In Buganda,
informal environmental education embraced awareness and
sensitivity to issues of nature preservation, dissemination of
knowledge in environment conservation via stories, riddles,
songs, proverbs and taboos, as well as through participation in
sustainable resource use and other eco-friendly activities (Lsso-
zi, 2012).
Readapting Global Attitudes toward the Millennium
Declaration Values Such as:
Freedom and Democracy
The Millennium Declaration uses a broad definition of free-
dom, stating that: “Men and women have the right to live their
lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and
the fear of violence, oppression, or injustice. Democratic and
participatory governance based on the will of the people best
assures these rights.” While these are self-evident values to
many, we know of no global-scale survey data that has meas-
ured public attitudes towards these declared rights. Further,
among 34 developing countries worldwide, very large majori-
ties of respondents said it was important for t hem to live in a
country with free elections (86%), free speech (87%), freedom
of religion (91%), and freedom of the press (80%) (Pew, 2004).
Freedom thus appears to be a nearly universal value. Outside
freedom and democracy other human values deemed necessary
to building better environmental systems in the Leiserowitz led
report were as follows:
1) Equality
The Millennium Declaration states: “No individual and no
nation must be denied the opportunity to benefit from devel-
opment. The equal rights and opportunities of women and men
must be assured” (Inglehart, 2004).
2) Solidarity
The Millennium Declaration defines solidarity in the follow-
ing way: “Global challenges must be managed in a way that
distributes the costs and burdens fairly in accordance with basic
principles of equity and social justice. Those who suffer or who
benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most.Ac-
cording to the Oxford English Dictionary, solidarity refers in-
stead to “the fact or quality, on the part of communities, etc., of
being perfectly united or at one in some respect, esp. in interests,
sympathies, or aspirations” (emphasis added). This ideal of
global unity, standing shoulder to shoulder, or working together
as a team towa rd common goals, transcends this particular fo-
cus on equal distribution of costs and burdens or the responsi-
bility of the rich and powerful to help those in need.
3) Tolerance
The Millennium Declaration states that, “Human beings must
respect one other, in all their diversity of belief, culture, and
language. Differences within and between societies should be
neither feared nor repressed, but cherished as a precious asset
of humanity. A culture of peace and dialogue among all civili-
zations should be actively promoted.”
4) Respect for Nature
The Millennium Declaration states that, “Prudence must be
shown in the management of all living species and natural re-
sources, in accordance with the precepts of sustainable devel-
opment. Only in this way can the immeasurable riches provided
to us by nature be preserved and passed on to our descendants.
The current unsustainable patterns of production and consump-
tion must be changed in the interest of our future welfare and
that of our descendants.”
5) Shared Responsibility
The Millennium Declaration states that, “Responsibility for
managing worldwide economic and social development, as well
as threats to international peace and security, must be shared
among the nations of the world and should be exercised multi-
laterally. As the most universal and most representative organ-
ization in the world, the United Nations must play the central
Ojomo (2011: p. 12) of the Department of philosophy, Fa-
culty of the social sciences, University of Lagos, while joining
other Africans in the search for a sustainable environmental
ethic makes an important issue of avoiding a necessary aca-
demic misconception in the search as identified by this article
and research:
The point of this paper on an African orientation in environ-
Open Access
mental ethics should not be misconstrued. It is not seeking for
an entirely unique environmental ethics for the African world
all alone. Rather its point of emphasis is that not just any envi-
ronmental ethic s will do for the continent because of certain
peculiarities in environmental degradation in Africa. If need be ,
there could be borrowings from the existing Western ethical
approaches to the environment, but such must borrowings must
critically have in addition, a concern for the African environ-
mental experience. While the known environmental ethics in
Western discourse are not infallible, their respective deficien-
cies left us open to the dilemma of which ethics is the most
appropriate and should/ought to be embraced in effectively
challenging the African condition (The Journal of Pan African
Studies, vol.4, no.3, March 2011).
We have no choice in following up on the recommendations
identified at the end of this article. Philosophical and psycho-
logical principles, and human attitudes and habits must change
to reflect human values of environmental sustainability and for
man to achieve a friendly charter with mother earth and her
environmental resources. If these values are applied in our en-
vironmental management policies, systems and programs then
we shall transform our current African abusive attitudes to-
wards our environment and elevate it to sustainable heights. In
that way we would have succeeded in philosophizing psychol-
ogy and psychologizing philosophy for better health of both
man and his environment in Africa.
(2010). The Uganda cultural leaders bill.
Anderson, B., Wentzel, M., Romani, J., & Phillips, H. (2010). Explor-
ing environmental cons ciousness in South Af rica. Population Studies
Center Research Report 10-709. (2012). what is the connection between psychology and
Babadoko, S. (2005). Nigeria: How Nigerians’ attitudes underdevelop
the country.
Blake, J. (1999). Overcoming the “value-action gap” in environmental
policy: Tensions between national policy and local experience. Local
Environment, 4, 257-278.
Bongaarts, J. (1997). Trends in unwanted childbearing in the develop-
ing world. Studies in Family Planning, 28, 267-277.
Dower, N. (1997). Sustainable development: Some ethical issues. The
Journal of Contemporary Health, 6, 57-60.
Dunlap, R. E., & Saad, L. (2001). Only one in four Americans are
anxious about the environment.
Dunlap, R. E., & Van Liere, K. D. (1978). The “new environmental
paradigm”. Journal of Environmental Education, 9, 10-19.
Dunlap, R. E., Gallup Jr., G. H., & Gallup, A. M. (1993). Health of the
Planet: Results of a 1992 international environmental opinion survey
of citizens in 24 nations. Princeton, NJ: The George H. Gallup Inter-
national Institute.
Earth Charter International Secretariat (2004). The earth charter hand-
Earth Charter International Secretariat (2004). The earth charter initia-
Ebigbo, C. (2002). The Igbo Lost worlds: 2002 Iguaro Igbo Heritage
lecture. Owerri.
Fadahunsi, A. (2007). Challenging Africa’s environmental crisis: The
ethical imperative.
Franke, R. H., Hofstede, G., & Bond, M. H. (1991). “Cultural roots of
economic performance: A research note”. Strategic Management
Journal, 12, 165-173.
Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of culture: Selected essays. New
York: Basic Books.
Halstead, J. M. (1996). Extract from “Values and values education in
schools”. In J. M. Halstead, & M. J. Taylor, Eds., Values and values
in education (pp. 5-8, 12-14). The Falmer Press.
IFORM (2009). Environmental benefits of organic agriculture positive
benefits for society and for nature.
Inglehart, R. (1999). Globalization and postmodern values. Washington
Quarterly, 23, 215-228.
Inglehart, R. et al. (2000). World values surveys and european values
surveys, 1981-1984, 1990-1993, and 1995-1997. Ann Arbor, MI: In-
ter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.
Inglehart, R., & Norris, P. (2003). Rising tide: Gender equality and
cultural change around the world. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cam-
bridge University Press.
Inglehart, R., Basanez, M., Diez-Medrano, J., Halman, L., & Luijkx, R
(2004). Human beliefs and values: A cross-cultural sourcebook bas-
ed on the 1999-2002 values surveys (1st ed). México: Siglo XXI.
Kaggwa, A. (2005). The customs of Baganda. Kampala: New Era Prin-
ters and Stationers.
Kant, E. (2001). The categorical imperative essay (Reprinted). London:
Oxford Publishers.
Leiserowitz, A. (2003). Global warming in the American mind: The
roles of affect, imagery, and worldviews in risk perception, policy
preferences, and behavior. Unpublished Dissertation, University of
Oregon, Eugene.
Leiserowitz, A. A., Kates, R. W., & Parris, T. M. (2004) Sustainability
values, attitudes, and behaviors: A review o f multinational and glob-
al trends. Cambridge, MA: Science, Environment and Development
Group, Center for International Development, Harvard University.
Lssozi (2012). Values and Participation: the role of culture in nature
preservation and environmental education among the Baganda.
Journal of Sustainability Education is housed. The Institute for Sus-
tainable Social Change and The Prescott College PhD Program in
Sustainability Education.
Mabogunje, A. (2004). Framing the fundamental issues of sustainable
Matovu, K. N. (1995). “Environmental conservation through cultural
practices and language use” in Uganda: A Century of Existence.
Kampala: Fountain Publishers.
Mbiti, J. (1990). African religions and philosophy (2nd ed.). London:
Menkiti, I. (1984). Culled from the Standford Encyclopedia of philos-
ophy. African ethics entry.op.cit
Module Eight: Culture and Society in Africa (2012). Studying Africa
through the social studies (source-exploring
Murdock, G. P. (1945). The common denominator of culture. In R.
Linton, Ed., The science of man in the world crisis (p. 145). New
York: Columbia University Press.
National Research Council (1999). Sustainable development goals.
Njogu, K., & Orchardson-Mazrui, E. (2006). Gender inequality and
women’s rights in the Great Lakes: Can culture contribute to wom-
en’s empowerment? UNESCO.
Obiora, I. (2008). Understanding Africa. Enugu: CIDJAP Press.
Ogungbemi, S. (1997). An African perspective on the environmental
crisis. In L. J. Pojman, Ed., Environmental ethics: Reading s in theo ry
and application (pp. 330-337). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing
Ojomo, P. A. (2011). Environmental ethics: An African understanding.
The Journal of Pan African Studies, 4.
Okoji, M. (2003). Promoting biodiversity and empowering communi-
Open Access
ties in Nigerian forests. In Onokoloa, Phil-eze, & Madu, Ed., Envi-
ronmen and poverty in Nigeria. Enugu: Jamoe Enterprises.
Osei-Amakye, S. (1993). Sacred Grooves: The forgotten traditional
botanical gardens in tropical Africa (pp. 53-57). Ghana: Environ-
mental Protection Council.
Osuntokun, A. (2001). Environmental problems of the Niger-Delta.
Nigeria: Davidson Press, University of Ibadan.
Pearse, A., & Steifeil, M. (1979). Inquiry into participation: A research
approach. Popular participation program, UNRISD/79/C/14, Geneva.
Pojman, P. L. (1997). On ethics and environmental concerns. In P. L.
Pojman, Ed., Environmental ethics: Readings in theory and applica-
tion (pp. 1-3). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Rea, V. (1995). Gender: A vital issue in biodiversity. Appropriate
Technology, 22, 8-9.
Rolston, H. (1989). Environmental ethics: Duties to and values in the
natural world. Philadelphia: Prometheus Books.
Serrato, A., Ibarra-Manriquez, G., & Oyama, K. (2004). Biogeography
and conservation of the genus Ficus (Moraceae) in Mexico. Journal
of Biogeography, 31, 475-485.
Shaver, J. P., & Strong, W. (1976). Facing value decisions: Rationale-
building for teachers. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Ssozi, K. (2007). Culture is the foundation of a nation. Kampala: Ma-
riah Printers and Stationers.
Stanford Ecyclopeadia of philosophy. African ethics entry. Stanford,
Calif. Stanford University Press.
Turner, B. S. (1986). Types of equality. In Equality (pp. 34-55). Ellis
Horwood/Tarvistock Publication UNDP Human Development Re-
port, 2007.
UNESCO (1978). Tbilisi declaration. Connect, III, 1-8.
Why study Africa (2012). African studies centre. Africa online digital
Wikipaedia (2008). The philosophy of psychology.
Wiredu, W. (1980/2012). Philosophy and an African culture. London:
Cambridge University Press.
Botterill, G., & Carruthers, P. (1999). The philosophy of psychology.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Authors/works consulted but not quoted in the article:
Adams, J. S. (1976). Advanced experimental social psychology. Wal-
tham: Academic Press.
Aragona, M. (2009). Il mito dei fatti. Una introduzione alla Filosofia
della Psicopatologia. Roma: Crossing Dialogues.
Bellarmine, N. (2010). Eco-responsibility: The cogency for environ-
mental ethics in Africa, essays in philosophy.
Craig Steven Titus (2009). Philosophical psychology: Psychology, emo-
tions, and freedom. Washington, DC: CUA Press.
Fulford, K.W.M., & Stanghellini, G. (2008). The third revolution: Phi-
losophy into practice in twenty-first century psychiatry. Dialogues in
Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences, 1, 5-14.
Hall, E. T. (1976). Beyond culture. New York: Anchor Press/Double-
Horgan, T., & Tienson, J. (1996). Connectionism and the philosophy of
psychology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2000). Emissions scena-
rios. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
International Social Science Program (2000). Environment (No. 3440).
Koeln: Zentralarchiv fuer Empirische Sozialforschung an der Un-
iversitaet zu Koeln.
Jose, B. (2005). Philosophy of psychology: A contemporary introduc-
tion. London: Routledge.
Joseph, M. (2008). Philosophy of psychology Prentice-Hall foundations
of philosophy series. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Kasperson, J. X., Kasperson, R. E., Pidgeon, N., & Slovic, P. (2003).
The social amplification of risk: Assessing fifteen years of research
and theory. In N. Pidgeon, R. E. Kasperson, & P. Slovic, Eds., The
social amplification of risk (pp. 13-46). Cambridge: University of
Cambridge Press.
Kates, R. W., & Parris, T. M. (2003). Long-term trends and a sustaina-
bility transition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of
the United States of America, 100, 6.
Ken, R. (2008). Understanding psychology. Open University Press
Klimont, Z., Streets, D. G., Gupta, S., Cofala, J., Lixin, F., & Ichikawa,
Y. (2002). Anthropogenic emissions of non-methane volatile organic
compounds in China. Atmospheric Environment, 36, 14.
Kollmuss, A., & Agyeman, J. (2002). Mind the gap: Why do people act
environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental bea-
vior? Environmental Education Research, 8, 239-260.
Lambin, E. F., Turner, B. L., Geist, H. J., Agbola, S. B., Angelsen, A.,
Bruce, J. W. et al. (2001). The causes of land-use and land-cover
change: Moving beyond the myths. Global Environmental Change:
Human and Policy Dimensions, 11, 10.
Lee, J. A. (1966). Cultural analysis in overseas operations. Harvard
Business Review, 106-114.
Leonard, B. (1972). Social psychology, Scott, Foresman basic psycho-
logical concepts series. Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman.
Levitt, T. (1983). The globalization of markets. Harvard Business Re-
view, 93-94.
Maslow, A. H. (1964). A theory of huma n motivation. In H. J. Leavitt,
& L. R. Pondy, Eds., Readings in managerial psychology (pp. 6-24).
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Ned, B. (1980). Readings in philosophy of psychology (vol. 1). Cam-
bridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Stuart C. Brown, Royal Institute of Philosophy. 1974. Macmillan, 1974.
Original from the University of Michigan.
The London Philosophy Study Guide offers many suggestions on what
to read, depending on the student's familiarity with the subject: Phi-
losophy of psychology.