The COVID-19 pandemic: local to global implications as perceived by urban ecologists

Ian Douglas, Mark Champion, Joy Clancy, David Haley, Marcelo Lopes De Souza, Kerry Morrison, Alan Scott, Richard Scott, Miriam Stark, Joanne Tippett, Piotr Tryjanowski, Tim Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-228
JournalSocio-Ecological Practice Research
Volume2
Issue number3
Early online date11 Sept 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sept 2020

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