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The year 2019 marked another dreadful year for our planet. The five hottest recorded years of our existence have been the last five (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019); the last decade the hottest ever (Milman 2020). According to a report from Christian Aid, there were 15 extreme climate disasters in 2019 each of which cost over $1bn (with seven of them costing over £10bn each [Christian Aid 2019]). The Christian Aid report came out in December. The following month our television screens were full of terrifying images of Australian bush fires running out of control (ABC 2020), Brazilian rainforests experiencing unprecedented fires (often deliberately set by farmers and logging companies) (Wood 2020), flash-flooding in Indonesia displacing 60,000 people (Leung 2020) and swarms of locust driving through East Africa and parts of Asia eating crops and threatening populations with starvation (Gilliland 2020).

These scenes, and particularly the hellish, nightmare vision from Australia, combined with the heroic school strikes to defend the planet and protests by Extinction Rebellion activists, once again pushed the climate crisis to the centre of world politics.

Yet within a month, the climate crisis had disappeared from the world media’s gaze as they focussed on the frightening spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is a coronavirus (CoV). Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses, ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). In their range, coronaviruses cause coughs, fevers and a range of breathing difficulties. In more severe cases infection can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, heart failure, severe acute respiratory syndrome – and death.

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A Thriving Life That Does Not Cost the Earth

How can we create a thriving life for us all that doesn’t come at the price of ecological destruction?

This book calls to explore our collective and personal convictions about success and good life. It challenges the mainstream worldview, rooted in economics, that equates happiness with pleasure, and encourages greed, materialism, egoism and disconnection.

Drawing on science and ancient Greek philosophers the author details how we can cultivate our skills for enjoying life without harming ourselves or others, and can live an autonomous, creative and connected life. Complementary to our intellectual understanding, the experiential method of role play and theatre can powerfully facilitate the exploration of the inner drivers and hindrances of a thriving life.

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International Insights

As the world grapples with the complex impacts of COVID-19, this book provides an urgent critical exploration of how Social Work can and should respond to this global crisis.

The book considers the ecological, epidemiological, ideological and political conditions which gave rise to the pandemic, before examining the ways that social work has responded in different nations across the Global North and Global South. This series of nation studies examine good practices and suggest new ways to renew and regenerate social work moving on from COVID-19.

Contributors also reflect on the key themes that have emerged, including a rise in domestic violence and the ways that the pandemic has disproportionately affected those in working class and minority communities, exacerbating existing inequalities.

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Hong Kong in global context

Drawing on practices and theories of sustainability, Environmental policy and sustainable development in China explores the prospects for achieving environmentally benign economic and social development in China and beyond. Using the Chinese ‘world city’ of Hong Kong as a backdrop and case study, it introduces major conceptions of sustainability, describes historical and political contexts for environmental policymaking, and analyses key challenges related to sustainable development, including air pollution, water quality, waste, transport and climate change. The book will be a valuable and unique resource for students, teachers and readers interested in environmental policy, sustainable development and ecological governance, especially in China and Hong Kong.

All of the author’s royalties from sales of this book will be donated by Policy Press to Friends of the Earth (Hong Kong) and WWF (Hong Kong).

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Crisis, Solidarity and Change in a Global Pandemic

EPUB and EPDF available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply shaken societies and lives around the world.

This powerful book reveals how the pandemic intensifies socio-economic problems and inequalities across the world, whilst offering visions for a better future informed by social movements and public sociology. Bringing together experts from 27 countries, the authors explore the global echoes of the pandemic and the different responses adopted by governments, policy makers and activists.

The new expressions of social action, and forms of solidarity and protest are discussed in detail, from the Black Lives Matters protests to the French Strike Movement and the Lebanese Uprising.

This is a unique global commentary on the current crisis and the contemporary world.

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Towards equality and democracy

In this collection, innovative and eminent social and policy analysts, including Colin Crouch, Anna Coote, Grahame Thompson and Ted Benton, challenge the failing but still dominant ideology and policies of neo-liberalism.

The editors synthesise contributors’ ideas into a revised framework for social democracy; rooted in feminism, environmentalism, democratic equality and market accountability to civil society.

This constructive and stimulating collection will be invaluable for those teaching, studying and campaigning for transformative political, economic and social policies.

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Planning for City Foresight and City Visions

City visions represent shared, and often desirable, expectations about our urban futures. This book explores the history and evolution of city visions, placing them in the wider context of art, culture, science, foresight and urban theory.

It highlights and critically reviews examples of city visions from around the world, contrasting their development and outlining the key benefits and challenges in planning such visions.

The authors show how important it is to think about the future of cities in objective and strategic ways, engaging with a range of stakeholders – something more important than ever as we look to visions of a sustainable future beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

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Perspectives from INDIA and the UK

Available Open Access under CC-BY licence.

How do environmental policies link to dynamic and relational family practices for children and parents? This Policy Press Short presents innovative cross-national research into how ‘environment’ is understood and negotiated within families, and how this plays out in everyday lives.

Based on an ESRC study that involved creative, qualitative work with families in India and the UK who live in different contexts, this book illuminates how environmental practices are negotiated within families, and how they relate to values, identities and society. In doing so, it contributes to understanding of the ways in which families and childhood are constructed as sites for intervention in climate change debates.

In an area that is increasingly of concern to governments, NGOs and the general public, this timely research is crucial for developing effective responses to climate change.

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Bringing together leading experts, this textbook explores the key social, political, economic and moral challenges that environmental problems pose for social policy in a global context. Combining theory and practice with an interdisciplinary approach, the book reviews the current strategies and policies and provides a critique of proposed future developments in the field.

Understanding the environment and social policy guides the reader through the subject in an accessible way using chapter summaries, further reading, recommended webpages, a glossary and questions for discussion.

Providing a much-needed overview, the book will be invaluable reading for students, teachers, activists, practitioners and policymakers.

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Young people are often at the forefront of democratic activism, whether self-organised or supported by youth workers and community development professionals. Focusing on youth activism for greater equality, liberty and mutual care – radical democracy – this timely collection explores the movement’s impacts on community organisations and workers. Essays from the Global North and Global South cover the Black Lives Matter movement, environmental activism and the struggles of refugees.

At a time of huge global challenges, youth participation is a dynamic lens through which all community development scholars and participants can rethink their approaches.

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