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The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship in Infrastructure and Sustainable Communities, supported by The Equal Opportunities Foundation

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) involves a massive development of trade routes made up of sea and land corridors across the globe. Its large-scale infrastructure investments will cross sensitive ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots, relying and depending on fossil fuels and landscape and connectivity transformations, such that the 21st century Silk Road has been characterised as ‘the riskiest environmental project in history’. This project will conduct cross-scale interdisciplinary research across different administrative, governance and geographical scales, to explore whether BRI projects enhance or undermine global efforts to tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and social inequality while offering concrete recommendations towards supporting social-ecological sustainability and justice.

 

About the project


This study explores the environmental consequences of China’s unprecedented investment in BRI to open up sea and land trade corridors across the globe. BRI’s capacity to reshape the world has been characterised largely through a geo-political/economic/cultural lens. However, its environmental risks and their social implications are less studied even though they may be some of the highest of any project’s in history. Crossing sensitive ecosystems and altering geographies through mega-infrastructure, the BRI will influence the connection between society and nature very directly. By drawing on the fields of political ecology and human geography and by conducting critical social science research in selected case studies (including in Greece and Nepal), the study will explore how BRI is transforming places and livelihoods. The aim is to generate recommendations for policymakers.

 

Dr Elia Apostolopoulou, Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellow

Dr Elia Apostolopoulou, Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellow

Dr Apostolopoulou is the Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship in Infrastructure and Sustainable Communities, supported by The Equal Opportunities Foundation.

Elia Apostolopoulou conducts research on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. She has a PhD in political ecology from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She has held post-doctoral and lectureship positions in the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and she has been an academic visitor in the Finnish Environment Institute, and the Center for Place, Culture and Politics in City University of New York. She has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers in high quality journals and her work is widely read within and beyond the academia and has informed national and local policy.


Office Phone: +44 (0) 12237 674001

Biography:

Research interests

Elia’s main research interest is the investigation of nature-society relationships in capitalism with an emphasis on the political ecology of nature conservation and urban political ecology. Her current research is mainly guided by radical geographical research on the neoliberalisation of nature and neoliberal conservation, uneven development and the capitalist production of nature and space, infrastructure and local communities, planetary urbanisation, social-environmental justice and grassroots innovation.

Career

  • 2017-2019: University Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2017: Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.
  • 2016-2017: Departmental Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford.
  • 2014-2016: Marie Curie Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2015: Visiting Scholar. Center for Place, Culture and Politics (CPCP), City University of New York (CUNY).
  • 2013-2014: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Geography and Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge.
  • 2009-2013: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • 2012-2013: Visiting Academic. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 2011-2012: Visiting Lecturer. Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • 2011: Scientific coordinator and project manager. International Environmental NGO MEDASSET, Athens, Greece.
  • 2011: Visiting Researcher. Environmental Policy Centre of Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Helsinki.

Qualifications

  • 2009: PhD in Political Ecology (with honors). Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • 2004-2005: MSc courses in Environmental Biology. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • 2003: BSc in Biology. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Funding & Awards

  • 2017: Rachel Carson Writing Fellowship. Project Title: A Historical-Geographical Analysis of the Evolution of Market-Based Conservation.
  • 2017: BA/Leverhulme Research Grant. Project Title: Rights to nature in the post-crisis era: Tracing alternative political ecologies against the neoliberal environmental agenda through the study of environmental movements. Principal Investigator.
  • 2016: Organiser of the sponsored 2016 Geoforum Conference.
  • 2014-2016: Marie Curie Individual Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development. Project Title: Conservation and Ecosystem Services in the New biodiversity Economy - CESINE.
  • 2014-2016: Post-Doctoral By-Fellow Elect, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • 2013: Honorary Fellowship from the Research Committee of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • 2008: Marie Curie Fellowship - Training Course on the Human Dimension of Global Environmental Change, Berlin, Germany.
  • 2005-2008: Three-year PhD Scholarship from the General Secretariat of Research and Technology of Greek Ministry of Development co-financed by the EU.

Publications

Books

Apostolopoulou, E. and Cortes-vazquez, J.A., 2018. The Right to Nature Social Movements,

Environmental Justice and Neoliberal Natures, Routledge. 336pp.

Peer-reviewed papers

  1. Apostolopoulou, E. Biodiversity offsetting, depoliticization and contestation: Unraveling the politics of a community struggle against executive housing in North East England. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, in press.
  2. Bormpoudakis*, D.  Apostolopoulou*1, E., Tzanopoulos, J. The rise and fall of biodiversity offsetting in the Lodge Hill large-scale housing development, South East England. Environment and Planning E., in press  [* = equal contribution, 1: corresponding author]
  3.  Greco, E., Apostolopoulou, E.  2019. Value, rent and nature: the centrality of class. Dialogues in Human Geography, https://doi.org/10.1177/2043820619876386.
  4. Apostolopoulou, E., 2019. Biodiversity offsetting and the contradictions of the capitalist production of nature. Arcadia: Explorations in Environmental History (Summer 2019), no. 21.
  5. Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W. 2019. Cutting Nature to Fit: Urbanization, neoliberalism and biodiversity offsetting in England. Geoforum 98, 214-225.
  6. Cortes-Vazquez, J., Apostolopoulou, E. 2019. Against Neoliberal Natures: Environmental Movements, Radical Practice and the Right to Nature. Geoforum 98, 202-205.
  7. Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M., Greco, E. 2018. Biodiversity offsetting and the production of ‘equivalent natures’. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 17, 861-892.
  8. Maestre-Andrés, S., Calvet-Mir, L., Apostolopoulou, E.  2018. Unravelling stakeholder participation under conditions of neoliberal biodiversity governance in Catalonia, Spain. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 36, 1299-1318.
  9.  Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M. 2017. Biodiversity offsetting and the reframing of conservation: a reply to ten Kate & von Hase and Dempsey & Collard. Oryx 51, 40-42.
  10. Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M. 2017. Offsetting biodiversity: reframing nature to save it. Oryx 51, 23-31. * Included in the top 10 most cited articles of Oryx for 2017.
  11. Salomaa, A., Paloniemi, R., Kotiaho, J., Kettunen, M., Apostolopoulou, E., Cent, J. 2017. Potential of green infrastructure to promote connectivity and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 35, 265-288.
  12. Garmendia, E., Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M, Bormpoudakis, D. 2016. Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure in Europe: a boundary object or an ecological trap. Land Use Policy 56, 315-319.
  13. Apostolopoulou, E. 2016. Biodiversity offsetting in England: governance rescaling, socio-spatial injustices and the neoliberalization of nature. Web Ecology 6, 67–71.
  14. Apostolopoulou, E., Adams, W.M. 2015. Neoliberal capitalism and conservation in the post-crisis era: the dialectics of ‘green’ and ‘un-green’ grabbing in Greece and the UK. Antipode 47, 15–35.
  15. Paloniemi, R., Apostolopoulou, E., Cent, J., et al. 2015. Public participation and environmental justice in biodiversity governance in Finland, Greece, Poland and the UK. Environmental Policy and Governance 25, 330-342.
  16. Kallimanis, A.S., Tzanopoulos, J., Mazaris, A.D., Apostolopoulou, E., Stefanidou, S., Scott, A.V., Potts, S.G., Pantis, J.D. 2015. Vegetation coverage change in the EU: patterns inside and outside Natura 2000 protected areas. Biodiversity and Conservation 24, 579-591.
  17. Apostolopoulou, E., Bormpoudakis, D., Paloniemi, R., et al. 2014. Governance rescaling and the neoliberalization of nature: The case of biodiversity conservation in four EU countries. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 21, 481–494.
  18. Haila, Y., Henle, K., Apostolopoulou, E., et al. 2014. Confronting and Coping with Uncertainty in Biodiversity Research and Praxis. Nature Conservation 8, 45–75.
  19. Tsianou, M.A., Mazaris, A.D., Kallimanis, A.S., Deligioridi, P-S.K., Apostolopoulou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2013. Identifying the criteria underlying the political decision for the prioritization of the Greek Natura 2000 conservation network. Biological Conservation 166, 103-110.
  20. Tsiafouli, M., Apostolopoulou, E., Mazaris, A., et al. 2013. Human activities in Natura 2000 sites: a highly diversified conservation network. Environmental Management 51, 1025-1033.
  21. Apostolopoulou, E., Paloniemi, R. 2012. Frames of scale challenges in Finnish and Greek biodiversity conservation. Ecology and Society 17(4): 9.
  22. Apostolopoulou, E., Drakou, E.G., Pediaditi, K. 2012. Participation in the management of Greek Natura 2000 sites: Evidence from a cross-level analysis. Journal of Environmental Management 113, 308-318.
  23. Apostolopoulou, E., Drakou, E., Santoro, F., Pantis, J.D. 2012. Investigating the barriers to adopting a “human-in-nature” view in Greek biodiversity conservation. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology 19, 515-525.
  24. Paloniemi, R., Apostolopoulou, E., Primmer, E., Grodzinska-Jurczak, M., Henle, K., Ring, I., Potts, S.G., Marty, P., Tzanopoulos, J., Kettunen, M., van den Hove, S., McConville, A., Similä, J. 2012. Biodiversity conservation across scales:  lessons from a science-policy dialogue. Nature Conservation 2, 7-19. *The paper has been included in Science for Environment Policy: European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, Issue 304, 7 November 2012.
  25. Apostolopoulou, E. 2012. Social and economic implications of environmental policy and the role of collaborative governance: The case of Schinias. Γεωγραφίες (Geographies) 19, 89-107. (in Greek)
  26. Drakou, E.G., Kallimanis, A.S., Mazaris, A.D., Apostolopoulou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2011. Habitat type richness associations with environmental variables: a case study in the Greek Natura 2000 aquatic ecosystems. Biodiversity and Conservation 20, 929-943.
  27. Apostolopoulou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2010. Development plans versus conservation: explanation of emergent conflicts and governmental political handling. Environment and Planning A 42, 982-1000. Note: Also published in the Olympics 2012 - Megaevents virtual issue from the Environment and Planning series of journals.
  28. Apostolopoulou, E (Invited author). 2010. A critique of the dominant developmental ideology for the relationship between society and nature: The case of conservation policies. Ουτοπία (Utopia) 91, 87-106. (in Greek)
  29. Apostolopoulou, E., Pantis, J.D. 2009. Conceptual gaps in the national strategy for the implementation of the European Natura 2000 conservation policy in Greece. Biological Conservation 142, 221-237.

"Conducting research on an initiative that has been characterised as a geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-cultural project that can reshape the world and also as the riskiest environmental project in history with implications not only for global biodiversity loss and climate change, but also for transportation, resource, energy security and broader human development pathways, is what attracted me in this Fellowship"

Evangelia Apostolopoulou

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"Universities contribute to society through the creation of new knowledge and the development of new skills. It is our aspiration to do this in ways that are relevant and purposeful.

The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme, hosted by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, will help us to do just that by allowing academics to engage productively with business, government and financial institutions for society's benefit – both in the UK and globally."

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge

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Jake Reynolds

Contact research@cisl.cam.ac.uk for further inquiries about the Fellowship Programme or the application process.