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Choosing between Environmental Conservation and Survival: Livelihoods and the Environment Risks in Rural Zimbabwe.

Mavis Macheka, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Pranitha Maharaj, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Divane Nzima, University of KwaZulu-Natal

This study explores how the livelihood strategies of people in the Chivi district in Zimbabwe impact on the environment. In addition, the study examines how humans have interacted with the environment during this era of limited sustainable livelihood options in Zimbabwe. This study employed a qualitative research methodology. Data was gathered through face to face in-depth semi-structured interviews and data was analysed through thematic analysis. Findings from this study suggest that poor communities have resorted to environmentally hazardous activities to earn livelihoods. Illegal mining of minerals such as gold and chrome, sand mining, brick moulding, and traditional craft making were found to be very common among the rural poor who are facing high levels of unemployment. Additionally, there are gaps in environmental regulation and protection to enable sustainable livelihoods. This study recommends a bottom-up formalisation in the extraction of natural resources to enable effective environmental regulation, rehabilitation and protection.

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  Presented in Session 46. Climate Change, Environment and Population Health