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More sustainable living thanks to corona?

Corona makes it possible: temporary cycle paths in Vienna, Grenoble or Turin.

Pop-up cycle paths in cities, an organic food boom – corona promotes the trend towards more sustainable lifestyles in the Alpine countries as well. A trend that may be here to stay.

The corona pandemic brought public transport to a virtual standstill and many of those without a car switched to cycling during this period. Municipalities responded with pop-up cycle paths, which also helped continue to guarantee minimum distancing. Milan/I quickly set up around 35 kilometres of temporary cycle paths. In Vienna/A, too, much-used roads were extended with temporary cycle paths, as also happened in Grenoble/F and Turin/I: the home of Italy's car industry even reduced the maximum speed to 20 km/h on 27 streets. The creation of temporary cycle paths is also being discussed in Munich/D and Zurich/CH. France is subsidising the repair of bicycles to the tune of 50 euros per person with a total budget of 20 million euros to encourage more people to continue to cycle in the long term.

Boom in organic foods

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, there has also been a new trend in food consumption – a sharp increase in purchases of organic food. According to BioSuisse, this represents up to 30 percent in Switzerland, while in Germany the increase in sales is between 30 and 60 percent. Consumers are increasingly cooking for themselves in these times of home offices and closed restaurants, and seem to be more willing to buy organic food. Aspects such as regionality, type of production and quality all play an important role here.

Effects on lifestyles

Sustainable lifestyles are also now becoming more prevalent, says Katharina Conradin, President of CIPRA International: “Changes that used to be very slow and take a long time coming are now happening within a very short time.” Whether it's cycling or buying regional organic food, CIPRA projects such as “Sustainable Lifestyles in the Alps” or “LOCAL – Low Carbon Alpine Lifestyle” have already shown ways in which “a good life in the Alps can be made possible in harmony with climate protection and environmental awareness”, says Conradin. CIPRA has carried out an Alpine-wide survey on the impact of the corona pandemic on our lifestyles, which will serve to develop future projects.

Sources and further information

www.lastampa.it/torino/2020/05/10/news/venti-all-ora-27-controviali-di-torino-sfilati-alle-auto-e-regalati-alle-bici-1.38826985 (it), www.derstandard.at/story/2000117320588/hebein-ueberrascht-die-wienerinnen-und-wiener-mit-einem-pop-up (de), www.placegrenet.fr/2020/05/10/pistes-cyclables-transitoires-ouvertes-agglomeration-grenobloise-deconfinement/293801 (fr), www.lefigaro.fr/flash-eco/borne-annonce-un-triplement-du-budget-dedie-au-plan-velo-20200528 (fr), vision-mobility.de/news/corona-krise-auch-in-muenchen-pop-up-bike-lanes-geplant-47228.html (de), tsri.ch/zh/umverkehr-pop-veloweg-sp-zurich-gessnerallee-corona/ (de), www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52483684, www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/milan-seeks-to-prevent-post-crisis-return-of-traffic-pollution, www.neweurope.eu/article/france-offers-bike-repair-subsidies-to-boost-cycling-post-lockdown/, www.zeit.de/news/2020-04/02/analyse-corona-krise-stoppt-pommes-markt (de), www.schweizerbauer.ch/politik--wirtschaft/agrarwirtschaft/konventionelle-lebensmittel-viel-zu-billig-57437.html (de), www.oekolandbau.de/handel/marktinformationen/der-biomarkt/marktberichte/bio-handel-waechst-waehrend-der-corona-pandemie/ (de)