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Point of view: A building plan for a resilient society

Barbara Wülser, Co-Director CIPRA International(c) Darko Todorovic

The corona crisis has broken our lives into pieces: relationships, working models, leisure and consumerism are loose building blocks. It is still unclear how we will reassemble them. We now have the chance to draw up a new building plan that is fit for the future, says Barbara Wülser, Co-Executive Director of CIPRA International.

Measurements prove it: energy consumption and CO2 emissions are falling thanks to the measures taken to contain Sars-CoV-2. There is less noise and less seismic vibration, but more birdsong and better air. But let us not fool ourselves: this is not the ecological turnaround! We are currently experiencing one of the warmest months since measurements began and a third dry summer in a row is just around the corner. In order for our post-coronal life and economic activity to succeed, we must give equal weight to ecological and economic aspects in the Future Building Plan. The construction kit may be expanded, while harmful elements must be removed.

There is a danger that governments, in the name of reconstruction, will pour billions into maintaining a system that creates many losers and only a few winners – billions that were promised for the fight against climate change and will now go missing. What we need is a fair burden-sharing to cushion the negative effects of globalisation that have contributed to these crises; the corona crisis as well as the climate crisis. The establishment of global governance for global problems, both in the health and environmental fields, cannot be put off.

What is decisive is how the expected economic stimulus packages are to be targeted and which industries are to be supported with which criteria. The goal of all measures must be to establish a resilient social and economic order where production and consumption are geared to the resources actually available.

In many Alpine regions there are already suitable approaches to solving this problem. Comparatively short, regional value-added chains strengthen the local recycling economy and thus independence from external influences. Local communities promote cooperation and comparison with those who think differently. Freedom and a lack of consumption opportunities stimulate personal responsibility and social innovation, whether it be by repairing appliances instead of buying new ones, by providing childcare or care for the elderly, by running the last remaining inn in the valley or by jointly organised food purchases.

There are also many technical innovations to hand. They often only need an initial impulse, such as start-up funding or demand due to changed conditions – such as now. It is a matter of developing positive visions together and passionately demanding their implementation. This requires networking, cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experiences, from the local to the international.

In the corona crisis, the nation states have distinguished themselves as crisis managers. This crisis can be overcome at some point by means of isolation, medication, vaccinations, etc. The crisis has also shown how quickly we can adapt. Let us make use of this learning experience! The construction plan for the post-corona period must include the prevention of the climate crisis. Because climate change cannot be reversed.

Sources and further information:

www.republik.ch/2020/04/10/wir-sollten-in-europa-nicht-warten-bis-wir-amerikanische-verhaeltnisse-haben (de), www.republik.ch/2020/04/13/verschnaufpause-fuer-die-natur (de), www.infosperber.ch/Artikel/Gesundheit/Covid-19-Krise-Ursache-Gesundheit-Kumulation (de),  www.ndr.de/fernsezen/Mit-Anja-Reschke-und-Claudia-Kmfert,sendung1032078.html (de), atmo-france.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/200327_interaction_QA_covid19.pdf (fr)