The dominium command in Genesis 1:28 (Gn 2:15) is the point of departure for an eco-theological assessment for the sustainability of creation, in the case of Kitwe of the Copperbelt Province in Zambia. ILamba is a territory of an indigenous community, whose wild life was endowed with various forests, marine and animal species.
The scenario has changed following the discovery of minerals, particularly copper, after which the region was named the Copperbelt. The copper mining industry, as an extractive undertaking has its impact on biodiversity and nature. The reconstruction of the indigenous community?s forest, wild life, their concept of God, their lifestyle before the industrialisation of the territory, their cultural cosmology, a consideration of the global ecological crisis debate, and a theological framework are used to assess the impact of the industry from an eco-theological perspective. Pope Francis in his most recent encyclical letter argues that ?neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself?? (Francis 2015: 68). The assessment therefore aims at rediscovering the human responsibility pertaining to creation. Moltmann argues that Interpreting the world as God?s creation means precisely not viewing it as the world of human beings, and taking possession of it accordingly. If the world is God?s creation, then it remains his property and cannot be claimed by men and women. It can only be accepted as a loan and administered as a trust. (Moltmann 1993:30) The copper mining industry?s activities in the Copperbelt therefore have to be assessed in the light of scripture
Through eco-hermeneutics, relevant texts of scripture have been explored to understand the desire of the creator for the created, including human beings. This is done in view of Pope Francis? statement who further argues that ? sister earth, along with all the abandoned of our world cry out, pleading that we take another course. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. Yet we are called to be instruments of God our father, so that our planet might be what he desired when He created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness. (Francis 2015:33)
The situation in relation to Pope Francis? concern as indicated above is explored with regard to the Copperbelt. A theological framework serves as praxis for a desired ecological outlook, taking into consideration the role of scripture, the Church, Government, investors and individual citizens in mitigating and resolving the ecological crisis locally and globally. The crisis, we maintain is mostly due to human activities such as the effects of copper mining, carbon emission and the use of chemicals. Obedience to scripture is the basis for the change of the human mind-set, particularly in Zambia?s Copperbelt.
Among the findings of the dissertation are: Disobedience to God?s law, misinterpretation of scripture, depletion of species, loss of cultural heritage, disregard of policies, particularly by investors and of course materialism or greed in its barest form.
Further research is recommended on issues of ecological, social and economic effects, the extent of damage to ecosystems in the Copperbelt, and how best to reconstruct them. Sustainability for continued desired status for the sake of the species, nature and future generation is the quest of the study.