In the Ice Water Fire project, Georgios aims to become the first person in history to complete all three physically and mentally demanding sporting challenges in these very diverse and extreme environmental conditions. He undertakes the final challenge of the project in support of the Opwall Trust to promote their ongoing efforts towards global biodiversity conservation.
Georgios is a UK based medical doctor and an extreme environment physiologist. He was born in Athens, Greece. His education started in Greece and continued with high-school studies at Pine Crest School in Florida, USA. He received his Bachelor’s degree in human physiology from the University of California at Berkeley, after which he earned a Master’s degree in human physiology under extreme environments at King's College London. He went on to pursue a Doctorate degree at the University of Glasgow, researching and specializing in human physiology at high altitude and in cold conditions, during which he completed research projects in the Scottish Highlands, the European Alps and the Himalayas. Following the successful completion of his PhD, he returned to Greece to study Medicine at the University of Ioannina Medical School. He gained invaluable practical experience at hospitals in South Africa, USA and Greece. Georgios again relocated in the UK to work in the NHS in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, in Edinburgh, and in Lincoln.
He has worked in the fields of General and Trauma Surgery, Accident and Emergency Medicine, and General Practice. He is dynamically involved and certified in Expedition Medicine and Travel Medicine, and has held the role of medical doctor in climbing, trekking and diving expeditions. Alongside his medical duties he has long maintained his interest and participation in research. He is a firm believer of empirical research and to that extent continuously explores the limits of human ability by putting his body and mind to the test. He is connected to the Opwall Trust as expedition doctor in Operation Wallacea's field expeditions. When not practicing medicine or away on expeditions, he delivers professional keynote speeches in the medical, scientific and entrepreneur sectors. Georgios has been involved in sports from an early age and has previously excelled in competitive swimming. He became a Greek national champion and record holder and participated with the Greek national swim team in numerous international events, European and World championships. He subsequently made the transition to open water marathon swimming following his first exposure with the sport in the icy waters surrounding the island-prison of Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay in California, and has successfully completed open water swims around the world in seas, oceans, rivers and lakes. Although he had long maintained an active interest in climbing and running, his serious involvement with both came later on in life.
The Opwall Trust is a UK-registered charity (Charity number 1078362) that works with local communities to develop commercially viable enterprises linked to the conservation of biodiversity. Environmental degradation and natural resource overexploitation, particularly in the tropics, are widespread. However, the underlying stimulus is seldom greed, but instead is due to desperation and a lack of alternatives amongst communities already living below the poverty line. The Opwall Trust works with these local communities to design and implement the alternative income streams they so desperately need. Once a viable alternative exists, it provides the incentive required to increase sustainability and protect local wildlife for the long term.
The Opwall Trust is one of very few 100% charitable funds in existence, meaning 100% of the funding donated goes directly to the projects themselves. This is possible because all Trustees are drawn from politics, academia and business, giving their time for free thanks to a passion for conserving the world's natural wonders. The Opwall Trust also works closely with the international research expedition organisation Operation Wallacea, who collect large biodiversity data sets at long term sites around the world. Operation Wallacea donate all data to the Opwall Trust, who then use these locations to develop best practice models of conservation. As well as its work developing conservation best practice models, the Opwall Trust is also heavily involved in developing awareness of global biodiversity concerns amongst young people worldwide through several outreach projects.