The President of the Association of Biblical Exegetes (GABES), the Most Reverend Joseph Osei-Bonsu, said on Tuesday that issues of the environment should be of great concern to everyone in the country because the high rates of degradation could affect all.
He noted that creations are gifts from God and that mankind had a duty to use resources judiciously by consciously preserving and conserving natural resources not only in one’s country but the world at large for future generations.
Most Rev Osei-Bonsu, who made the call when he opened the 10th Annual Conference of GABES at Brafoyaw near Cape Coast, said posterity would not forgive the present generation if it failed to conserve the environment.
The three-day conference being attended by about 30 scholars and priests from both religious and academic institutions in the country is on the theme: “The Bible and ecology”.
Among the institutions were the Methodist and Anglican Churches, the Valley View University at Oyibi and the University of Ghana, Legon, the Cape Coast University, St. Nicholas Seminary and St. Peters Seminary also in Cape Coast.
He expressed concern about the rapid rate of deforestation in the country as a result of excessive lumbering, bush burning, over-grazing and surface mining and mentioned with regret the recent introduction and wide-spread use of agro-chemicals, harmful weedicides and pesticides, saying they could have grievous effects on the environment.
Most Rev Osei-Bonsu noted that humans in their attempt to exploit natural resources to meet the needs of their day to day existence usually fail to take adequate care to guard against the depletion of resources.
Consequently, resource utilization has led to loss of biodiversity, depletion of soil fertility, climate change, a hole in the ozone layer, significant increase in waste generation and misuse of chemicals, he added.
According to him, water use was virtually unregulated in the country and so there was little or no effort to conserve it, adding that deforestation and reduction in vegetation cover, among others had a significant impact on the amount of water left in water bodies.
He said greater percentage of all these negative activities including littering the environment with plastic were carried out by human beings resulting in environmental degradation and called for an abrupt halt to these practices.
He was worried that the danger posed on the environment was very great and hoped that the deliberations of the conference would help to offer some solutions to the ecological problems.
In his keynote address, the former Rector of St. Peters Seminary in Cape Coast, Rev Msgr. Wynnard Ameworwor, said that in order for Christians and the church to “heal” the earth and the environment, they should “heal” themselves first by observing good environmental practices.
“The ecological sensitivity of church members should be raised through preaching, teaching, performing rituals and adopting simplicity of lifestyle” he stressed, adding that frequent opportunities for ecological and environmental protection education of the people should not be consistent
He said the electronic gadgets and wastes being dumped in Ghana, was of ecological concern and must be tackled with seriousness, because such goods contained Chlorine-Fluorine-Carbonate (CFC) gas that destroyed the ozone layer and contributed to the increase of temperature on the planet.
Rev Msgr. Ameworwor said the ecological challenge was a call of responsibility to the voice of the creator that humanity should take care of nature, cultivate and look after the “garden” and live in peace with all creation.
Other topics to be treated at the conference include Christian Mission and Ecological Degradation in Africa, the Bible and Sustainable Development as well as Creation in God’s image and the command to dominate creation.