Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

Breadcrumb Navigation

Elspeth Oppermann

Dr. Elspeth Oppermann

Research Fellow


Rachel Carson Center
Leopoldstr. 11a, 4. OG
80802 Munich

Elspeth is a critical geographer specializing in adaptation to environmental challenges. Her past research examined discourses of climate change adaptation in the United Kingdom and the social practices through which outdoor workers manage extreme heat in Australia. She is a member of the International Commission on Occupational Health’s Scientific Committee on Thermal Factors, and continues to engage in heat-health research, particularly for those most exposed. Recently, she has particularly explored how the social is co-produced through material-energetic relations, developing an inter-disciplinary, more-than-human social practices approach to the analysis of occupational heat management. As a senior research fellow at the Rachel Carson Centre, Elspeth is CI on Cool Infrastructures, a UK-ESRC funded 3-year project. Cool Infrastructures seeks to identify what knowledges and strategies people in ‘off-grid’ communities, such as informal settlements, use to keep cool in hot conditions, and how local innovations and approaches might be supported, scaled up and shared. In parallel, Elspeth is working on a 3-year project led by the National University of Singapore, entitled Surviving and Thriving in a Heat-Safe Singapore. The ‘Heat-Safe’ project looks at health and wellbeing impacts of chronic heat exposure for labourers and their families in Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia. A multi-discplinary project, it will identify novel cross-domain interventions to help workers not just survive but thrive in a warming world.

RCC Research Project: Cool Infrastructures


Selected Publications:

  • with Hein Daanen et al. "COVID-19 and thermoregulation-related problems: Practical recommendations." Temperature (2020):1-11
  • with Sarah Carter, Emma Field, Matt Brearley. "The impact of perceived heat stress symptoms on work-related tasks and social factors: A cross-sectional survey of Australia's Monsoonal North." Applied Ergonomics 82 (2020).
  • with Gordon Walker and Matt Brearley. "Assembling a thermal rhythmanalysis: Energetic flows, heat stress and polyrhythmic interactions in the context of climate change." Geoforum (2019) .
  • with Yolande Strengers, Cecily Maller and Lauren Rickards. "Beyond Threshold Approaches to Extreme Heat: repositioning adaptation as everyday practice." Weather, Climate, and Society 10, no. 4 (2018).
  • with Gordon Walker. “Immersed in thermal flows: heat as produced by, and productive of, social practice.” In Social Practices and More-than-humans: Nature, materials and technologies, edited by Yolande Strengers and Cecily Maller. London: Palgrave Macmillan (2019).
  • with Matt Brearley, Lisa Law, James A. Smith, Alan Clough, Kerstin Zander. “Heat, health, and humidity in Australia's monsoon tropics: a critical review of the problematization of ‘heat’ in a changing climate.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 8, no.4 (2017).