A theo-cultural exploration on the sacredness of land in contemporary Lauru context.
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The study focused on the Island of Lauru to explore a Theo-Cultural Sacredness of Land in the Contemporary Lauru Context in Solomon Islands. A rapid decline of Solomon Islands rainforests due to unsustainable logging activities throughout the country has been recently confirmed in studies and reports by the Ministry of Forestry and Research, and further by Non-governmental organizations working in the country. During a recent National Resource Management Symposium held in 2017, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Forestry and Research reported for instance, that in the year 2016 alone, a total of One hundred fifty six licenses were approved for logging operations throughout the country, of which the Island of Lauru alone had twenty eight. This calls for a critical exploration on its impact on the sacredness of the land resource in the region. This study held that due to the massive unsustainable harvesting of rainforests by multinational companies, most of the islands in which logging operations are happening have experienced ecological crises. This includes but not limited to crises such as environmental pollution, river pollution, dying of coral reefs in the coastal areas and land degradation. The study argued that the current massive exploitation of natural resources especially in the area of logging activities implies that the land has been perceived as merely a commodity for economic gain. This can also be linked to colonial residues and capitalistic ideologies of uncompromising profit-making attitude, which have had great impact on the mindset of the Lauru people, among whom this study focuses. It is in this very context that this study under the title “A Theo-Cultural Exploration on the Sacredness of Land in the Contemporary Lauru Context” emerged to re-visit the traditional and cultural values of the Sacredness of Land in Lauru. In doing so, the study moved further to integrate traditional and cultural belief systems with sound theological understanding of land in relation to Christian beliefs and practices. Although the thesis mainly focused on the Island of Lauru, it also made reference to findings of scholars and researchers regarding how different people from other parts of the world viewed the importance and sacredness of land. This study utilized the theological view and concept of the sacredness of land as proposed by Leslie Boseto (1995a). According to Boseto, the Sacredness of land has its roots in divine origin, rooted in the Creator and Sustainer of life. This theological approach upholds that the sacredness of land is embedded in land itself as the very source of life. Therefore, this study argued for the sustenance of land and natural resources as custodians of life and not for mere economic gain.