Land constitutes a very important medium. This is simply because all of humanity dwells on it and depend on it for survival. But one factor responsible for the misuse of land is misconception. This misconception flows from the value attached to land. Helena Howe argues that there are two dominant perspectives with regards to land or the value attached to land. These are anthropocentric and ecocentric approaches. The anthropocentric approach is interest-centred. It centres on who benefits from the land. On the other hand, an ecocentric approach is centred on relationship with land that entails close ties with land, embodying even spiritual implications. She also argues that laws, regulations and environmental decisions that flow from it are centred on the benefit that can be derived from land without reference to its intrinsic value.Land is seen as a commodity not as part of the wider earth community. To ensure good management practices of land use requires a rethink of the relationship with land so that laws, regulations and environmental decisions that flow from it will reflect this relationship. This Paper will draw on traditional African conception of land as embodying an ecocentric framework. It will discuss the legal principle of harmony with nature with practical examples. In traditional African jurisprudence, land was regarded as a deity. It was not commodified, it was their identity. This changed with modernisation. Laws that do not reflect this connection evidently disconnects with the people and has been a cause of crises in Nigeria's oil region.
Nyingi Bonnie, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Stream: Environmental Sustainability & Environmental Management: Land Use & Misuse
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