Environment, livelihoods and the church in Mozambique : a theological reflection.
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This thesis concerns the relationship between poverty and the environment in Mozambique, and the response that is required from the Church. It is a way to describe and analyse the situation, and also to provide possible strategies for the Church. The thesis begins by providing a general overview of the environmental crisis in Africa at present. Then, drawing on field-work in the Matutuine District of Mozambique, and making considerable use of the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, it provides an indepth description and analysis of people's livelihood strategies, noting the strong link between poverty and the environment, and how there is a cause and effect relationship between them. In order for the Church to respond in an adequate fashion, the thesis provides theological resources for caring for the environment, and then ends with a range of strategies which the Church can be engaged in. The key findings of the thesis are that, given the immense vulnerability of the poor in Mozambique, households have very little access to human, social, financial and physical capital, and so are forced to rely upon the existing natural capital for survival. Livelihood strategies involve subsistence farming, charcoal production and hunting, all of which deplete the natural resource base, and yet there is no commitment to restore the base which provides these things. Thus these strategies are unsustainable and require a response from the church. The thesis concludes with a range of practical strategies for the Church including awakening people to their obligations as creatures on earth, being involved in holistic mission, responding to pollution, deforestation and land degradation, contributing to and enhancing existing livelihood strategies, contributing to food security, and supporting people in small scale farming practices.
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