Aili Pyhälä

Aili Pyhälä is a socio-environmental scientist who is fluent in seven languages and has considerable field-level and international experience. She has specialised in sustainable natural resource use and hands-on participatory community development.

Past assignments have included evaluations in protected area planning and management, ecological surveys, biodiversity conservation, participatory socio-economic work in rural communities, indigenous peoples’ rights advocacy, and addressing issues such as sustainable livelihoods, traditional knowledge, education, and gender. Her Ph.D. thesis in Development Studies is entitled Productive Conservation in Amazonia: Institutions, Participation and Markets and is based on theoretical and empirical field research in Peru. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences with a focus on ecological and social aspects, including biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management, environmental politics and environmental/ecological economics.

In addition to her grassroots-level work with communities and regional institutions in developing countries, she has also gained experience of inter-ministerial working groups and top-level negotiations, through her involvement in various government institutions. In 2005-6, she helped develop Finland’s National Sustainable Development Strategy with her work on Sustainable Development Indicators. She also spent a period in 2006 working for the Environmental Protection Authority of Victoria, Australia, consulting, liaising and negotiating with senior government, industry, schools, and other key stakeholders with regard to Ecological Footprint applications. Similarly, in 2009, she represented the Global Footprint Network in the General Secretariat of the Andean Community in Lima, Peru, and in 2010 the Global Ecovillage Network at the COP16 Climate Change negotiations in Cancun.

Aili Pyhälä is currently a lecturer (in Conservation Biology) at the University of Helsinki whilst, researching cross-cultural concepts of health, well-being, and happiness, and working in projects on indigenous knowledge and rights, protected areas, perceptions of global environmental change, and conservation (environmental) psychology. She enjoys teaching, facilitating events, and promoting cross-cultural communication and exchange.

Aili Pyhälä 

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