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© 2020

Nature Swapped and Nature Lost

Biodiversity Offsetting, Urbanization and Social Justice

Book

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Elia Apostolopoulou
    Pages 1-26
  3. Elia Apostolopoulou
    Pages 27-74
  4. Elia Apostolopoulou
    Pages 75-108
  5. Elia Apostolopoulou
    Pages 109-161
  6. Elia Apostolopoulou
    Pages 317-348
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 349-404

About this book

Introduction

This book unravels the profound implications of biodiversity offsetting for nature-society relationships and its links to environmental and social inequality. Drawing on people’s resistance against its implementation in several urban and rural places across England, it explores how the production of equivalent natures, the core promise of offsetting, reframes socionatures both discursively and materially transforming places and livelihoods.

The book draws on theories and concepts from human geography, political ecology, and Marxist political economy, and aims to shift the trajectory of the current literature on the interplay between offsetting, urbanization and the neoliberal reconstruction of conservation and planning policies in the era following the 2008 financial crash. By shedding light on offsetting’s contested geographies, it offers a fundamental retheorization of offsetting capable of demonstrating how offsetting, and more broadly revanchist neoliberal policies, are increasingly used to support capitalist urban growth producing socially, environmentally and geographically uneven outcomes.  

Nature Swapped and Nature Lost brings forward an understanding of environmental politics as class politics and sees environmental justice as inextricably linked to social justice. It effectively challenges the dystopia of offsetting’s ahistorical and asocial non-places and proposes a radically different pathway for gaining social control over the production of nature by linking struggles for the right to the city with struggles for the right to nature for all.

Elia Apostolopoulou is a senior research fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK and a visiting research fellow at Harokopio University of Athens, Greece. While writing a significant part of this book she was a lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK. She is also co-editor of The Right to Nature: Social Movements, Environmental Justice and Neoliberal Natures(2019).

Keywords

biodiversity offsetting environmental governance economic valuation of nature neoliberal natures neoliberal conservation environmental markets environmental conflicts Urbanization housing in North Tyneside austerity sustainable development Defra offset metric Nature conservation in the UK market environmentalism socionatures

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

About the authors

Elia Apostolopoulou is a senior research fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK and a visiting research fellow at Harokopio University of Athens, Greece. While writing a significant part of this book she was a lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK. She is also co-editor of The Right to Nature: Social Movements, Environmental Justice and Neoliberal Natures (2019).

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“Ever wondered why capitalism, neoliberalism, and nature conservation are at odds? Here is the answer! This book is an exquisite rendition of the irremediable tension between sustaining the environment and mobilising nature for capital accumulation, convincingly demonstrating that market environmentalism cannot deliver a socially sane and ecologically sound world.” (Erik Swyngedouw, Professor of Geography, University of Manchester, UK)

“This book offers a radical, scholarly and socially relevant critique of biodiversity offsetting. Detailed theoretical analysis and compelling examples convincingly demonstrate the political economy behind what many persist in seeing as a neutral technical instrument for nature governance.” (Bill Adams, Moran Professor of Conservation and Development, University of Cambridge, UK)

“This book offers an innovative Marxist analysis of biodiversity offsetting. It deserves to be closely read by all those interested in the design and outcomes of market-based mechanisms for environmental protection and social contestation against them.” (Sian Sullivan, Professor of Environment and Culture, Bath-Spa University, UK)

“It is one thing to critique something like biodiversity offsetting as just another mad neoliberal attempt to make nature visible to the market. It is quite another to go beneath this absurd surface, and explain biodiversity offsets within broader political economic processes of capital accumulation and the frenzy of investment in the urban built environment – particularly in the post-2008 crisis world. In Nature Swapped and Nature Lost, Elia Apostolopoulou has done the latter – and significantly deepened our understanding of the relationship between neoliberal natures and the uneven geographies of global capitalism today.” (Matthew Huber, Syracuse University, USA)