• COVID-19 compassion in self-isolating old age: looking forward from family to regional and global concerns

      Douglas, Ian; orcid: 0000-0002-2451-8133; email: ian.douglas@manchester.ac.uk (Springer Singapore, 2020-06-26)
      Abstract: Self-isolating with my wife, I feel gratitude and compassion for all those supporting us, particularly those who regularly deliver our food and our immediate family members who check on us frequently. My compassion goes out to those on the “frontline”, particularly my niece and her daughter who are both nurses in a major hospital and who developed and recovered from COVID-19 symptoms. More broadly, I recognise that there are many communities that have had to cope with both geophysical and socio-politically created disasters while facing the COVID-19 pandemic, among then some young women bee-keepers in Uganda. In the UK context, I have great concern that severe funding cuts for regional and local public health services and disaster planning handicapped the country’s response to coronavirus and may have been a factor in the UK’s high coronavirus death rate. I see both positive and negative changes in air pollution and urban nature in our towns and cities, but also am concerned that we collectively may lose sight of the greater crises of climate change and species extinction. We have to work for a better future by taking forward the opportunities and lessons from our reactions to the pandemic. This leads to compassion for the yet unborn, our grandchildren’s children, who might enter a less habitable, more unequal less collaborative world than the imperfect one we now enjoy.
    • Scholar in the SEPR spotlight: Ian Douglas

      Douglas, Ian; email: ian.douglas@manchester.ac.uk (Springer Singapore, 2020-06-05)
      Abstract: In this reflective essay of intellectual autobiography, I respond to a series of questions the journal editor Wei-Ning Xiang asked about my 55-year journey from applied geography to socio-ecological practice research. These are (1) what and/or who had inspired your career most in geography and socio-ecological practice research? (2) Throughout your 55-year academic journey, did you ever reorient your ambitions in scholarly pursuit, or even reinvent yourself in your academic life? What motivated you in each of these instances? (3) How do you measure success in your work? Among many accomplishments, what are the top three that you are most proud of? (4) From your personal experience, what would be the most important attributes for a well-lived, fully realised, and meaningful life? Do you have any tips for maintaining work-life balance? (5) Do you have any specific advice for younger scholars in geography and socio-ecological practice research? (6) What are the three most interesting images reflecting turning points in your career? I hope that my experiences and insights showcased in this essay are helpful to the younger generations of geographers and socio-ecological practice researchers.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic: local to global implications as perceived by urban ecologists

      Douglas, Ian; orcid: 0000-0002-2451-8133; email: ian.douglas@manchester.ac.uk; Champion, Mark; Clancy, Joy; Haley, David; Lopes de Souza, Marcelo; Morrison, Kerry; Scott, Alan; Scott, Richard; Stark, Miriam; Tippett, Joanne; et al. (Springer Singapore, 2020-09-11)
      Abstract: The global COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, but in many different ways, stimulating contrasting reactions and responses: opportunities for some, difficulties for many. A simple survey of how individual workers in urban ecology have been coping with COVID-19 constraints found divergent responses to COVID-19 on people’s activities, both within countries and between continents. Many academics felt frustrated at being unable to do fieldwork, but several saw opportunities to change ways of working and review their engagement with the natural world. Some engaging with social groups found new ways of sharing ideas and developing aspirations without face-to-face contact. Practitioners creating and managing urban greenspaces had to devise ways to work and travel while maintaining social distancing. Many feared severe funding impacts from changed local government priorities. Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified issues, such as environmental injustice, disaster preparation and food security, that have been endemic in most countries across the global south in modern times. However, developing and sustaining the strong community spirit shown in many places will speed economic recovery and make cities more resilient against future geophysical and people-made disasters. Significantly, top-down responses and one-size-fits-all solutions, however good the modelling on which they are based, are unlikely to succeed without the insights that local knowledge and community understanding can bring. We all will have to look at disaster preparation in a more comprehensive, caring and consistent way in future.