The Spirits of the Great Green Wall in Senegal

Spirituality, Ecology, and Secularization


  • Frédérique Louveau University Gaston Berger



Sukyo Mahikari, Great Green Wall, reforestation, ecology, Secularization, Senegal


This article offers an ethnographic study of the involvement of a controversial modern Japanese religious movement, Sukyo Mahikari, within the state-led pan-African reforestation project known as the Great Green Wall. The author argues that the members’ environmental efforts against desertilcation and climate change bring together so-called ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ actors. She shows how the oflcial recognition of Sukyo Mahikari as a valuable partner of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Senegal blurs the boundaries between the political, environmental, and religious spheres thanks to a ‘working misunderstanding’, an expression coined by Marshal Sahlins, thereby overcoming different framings in their relation to nature. This contribution examines the conditions that have facilitated the simultaneous secularization and spiritualization of ecology in the Senegalese context.


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How to Cite

Louveau, F. . (2021). The Spirits of the Great Green Wall in Senegal: Spirituality, Ecology, and Secularization. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 15(3), 368–389.