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Land, Development and Ecology

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For all peoples, land is an invaluable asset, a pre-condition for life, growth, and development. There are, however, different assessments of land in various parts of the world. In the North with its Enlightenment inheritance, scientific approach and technological development, land is viewed rather rationally, while in the South land is understood also rela- tionally, intuitively and mystically, in contrast to a purely rational view and use. "Reason seeks to analyse, to define and so, in a sense to master. The intuitive view has a strong component of belonging" (Tuwere 1994:10). Since in both the Pacific and Africa land has a mystical, spiritual background, it seems that Christians and Christian churches elsewhere can greatly benefit from their experiences and insights for deepening an understanding of and approach to land, development and ecological issues. This paper presents viewpoints expressed mainly by Pacific and Africans theologians. There are, of course, other perspectives as instanced by Cecilia Asogwa, a popular educator in Nigeria who, in her reflection on the integrity of creation, inserts experiences and initiatives of rural women in Ebenebe, Nigeria, who through involvement in an economic self-help group obtained personal and community empowerment experienced as part of the healing of creation (see Asogwa 1992).


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