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Neoliberal Capitalism and Conservation in the Post-crisis Era: The Dialectics of “Green” and “Un-green” Grabbing in Greece and the UK



“Green-grabbing”, in which environmental arguments support expropriation of land and resources, is a recognized element in neoliberal conservation. However, capitalism's strategic interest in promoting the neoliberalization of conservation is accompanied by attempts to exploit hitherto protected natures without any pretence at “greenness”. In this paper we explore the dialectics between “green” and “un-green” grabbing as neoliberal strategies in the reconstruction of nature conservation policies after the 2008 financial “crash” in Greece and the UK. In both countries, accelerated neoliberalization is manifested in diverse ways, including initiatives to roll back conservation regulation, market-based approaches to “saving” nature and the privatization of public nature assets. The intensification of “green” and “un-green” grabbing reflects capitalism's strategic interest in both promoting and obstructing nature conservation, ultimately leaving for “protected natures” two choices: either to be further degraded to boost growth or to be “saved” through their deeper inclusion as commodities visible to the market.