Home Institution

Portland State University

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


In order for environmental conservation to be effective it must have a method of translating to people’s everyday values. Developing countries which include mostly bio-diversity hotspot areas are important to maintain sustainable development. Due to most of these countries following an organized religion, predominantly Christian, an alternative method of conservation may be successful to motivate citizens to participate in efforts. In order for this to be successful, members of the congregation must agree that there is a religious obligation to care for the environment. For Christianity this obligation is discussed by the creation story in the bible. This paper will use the town of Karatu, Tanzania as a case study of how successful Christianity can be related to environmental conservation. Data was collected using surveys (n= 155) distributed to members of various churches evaluating their beliefs on the meaning of the creation story as well as their churches involvement in conservation. Additional interviews were used to gain important information about the implementation of conservation by churches and the local government. The results of the study showed that a high majority of people who attended church agreed God commands humans to care for the environment. While churches participated in small acts of protection, mostly efforts to plant trees, they can be more beneficial as a method of gathering and spreading education on conservation. Pastors opinions and willingness to participate is very important for the church to be useful for conservation. Local government and conservation organizations should maintain positive relationships with church leaders in order to pass along beneficial conservation ideas and methods.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Biblical Studies | Christianity | Environmental Policy | Environmental Studies | Place and Environment | Practical Theology | Sociology of Religion


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