Dr Di ZHOU, Researcher in Environmental Law (China)

Dr Di Zhou’s expertise surrounds environmental law and mainly focuses on the legalisation and institutionalisation of sustainability. Currently she aims to conduct research on the ecological civilisation and sustainable development in China.


Research focus: ecological civilisation, sustainable development and environmental justice

Ecological civilisation is an explicit goal towards sustainable development. It points out the importance of a long-term perspective on the current climate crisis and represents another form of human civilisation, based on ecological principles. Following these reforms, the world is in need of major environmental shifts and a restructuring of the nature of society. One of the systems that need to be revised is the legal system, and through Di’s intense research in that field, she aims to advance change towards an ecological civilization.

Di’s interdisciplinary research methods and cross-domain expertise within the field of environmental law mainly applies to the legalisation and institutionalisation of sustainability. In her research, she shows that for the ecological civilisation to arise, the environmental rule of law has to cover all environmental issues arising from development, rather than being fragmented and narrowed down to small pieces. Furthermore, she argues that sustainable development will get a solid base by improving the environmental judicial system. The access to environmental justice would be a guarantee for sustainability. Her work also covers the climate-energy policies and carbon market. By winning the Green Talents award, the young Chinese researcher hopes to step closer to her professional goal of becoming an academic in Environmental Law in a university. She strongly believes that education is essential for sustainable development and she aims to encourage change by educating people and spreading her knowledge within China. Additionally, she appreciates the opportunity to meet with experts from various fields to exchange ideas, build up a global network and to conduct research in Germany that would strongly contribute to her long-term theoretical and practical research on the relationship between the environmental rule of law, human development, globalisation and the ecological civilisation.

The jury was impressed by Di’s strong interdisciplinary interests and her work on creating a legal system, in which the legislation is fully embedded within the idea of sustainability. Through this, the rule of law itself can become a driving force for a sustainable development and create an ecological civilization