Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The following quotation from Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Sí is one of the most quoted parts of his well-known encyclical: We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature (139).

This is a very challenging statement. Not everyone accepts this idea of an ‘integral ecology’; that is, the notion that the condition of human society is directly linked to the condition of the natural environment. The world context of industrialization, consumerism and the myth of development and progress contribute to the neglect of the protection of the environment. For those who accept the idea of “integral ecology,” moving from the Pope's vision of integral ecology to concrete guidelines for moral life in society is a complex task. My country of Cameroon suffers a number of social and environmental difficulties. Cameroonians have long struggled against poverty, disease and social injustice. The governmental response to these struggles involves encouragement to industry to sell the country’s valuable natural lumber resource on the global market. On the local level, this translates to individuals leveling trees and shrubs for personal use and for sale as firewood. To most Cameroonians, this deforestation is working toward a solution to the country's social injustices, it is not part of the problem. This dissertation argues that deforestation is most significant part of the social problem in Cameroon and that any solution to these numerous social injustices must include the environmental answer of reforestation. The argument in the dissertation is a test case affirming Pope Francis’ notion of an integral ecology; that "[s]trategies for a solution demand an integrated approach"--both social and environmental.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.