How do we change our life

1 year Corona and we: future! How the pandemic can change our lives

Status: 03/06/2021 10:11 a.m.

In every crisis there is also an opportunity. Since the lockdown in spring 2020, we in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have been wondering what is really important and how things should continue. The forced standstill exacerbates problems and at the same time shows positive effects: deceleration for individuals, but also a record reduction in climate-damaging CO2 emissions. How can Corona rethink concepts?

by Siv Stippekohl

Less CO-2 emissions, home office for everyone, creative ideas for culture despite Corona. The exceptional situation shows what could be different or possible. The cuts have brought about rapid developments that are arguably irreversible. The changes are profound. Video conferences are now part of everyday life for some of the working world. "We will never go back," predicts the sociologist and social psychologist Harald Welzer, who teaches transformation design as a professor at the European University in Flensburg and who heads the non-profit foundation Futurzwei, which he co-founded. "The whole universe of business travel, the universe of meetings and conferences with a whole chain of catering companies, taxi companies, airlines and hotels" would change fundamentally and shrink. For reasons of cost alone. This in turn entails further structural changes. Everyone now knows that they can comfortably work part of their time at home and shop online. "They will go to the country, we will see an upgrading of the rural areas, namely in the city and in the country, "says the futurologist.


How do you live and work?

Real estate agent Bedrana Kowalke is already feeling this trend. In January 2021 you will receive 70 real estate inquiries daily. Interested parties come from major cities, from Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin. The townspeople used to be interested in holiday properties in the Mecklenburg Lake District, but now the realtor is dealing with more and more people who are looking for a new, permanent home in the area around Feldberg. "They do homeschooling and home office and notice how cramped their apartment can be," says Bedrana Kowalke, who herself came to Mecklenburg from Berlin ten years ago. What has also changed is the fact that several families often come together, "Well, it's not just about doing your own thing, but also that the community idea is very much in the foreground," she says. Just like a couple that looked at a four-sided courtyard in Dolgen near Feldberg in January, with enough space for a forest garden project. However, the way of living of the future could also change in the cities, says Harald Welzer, away from overpriced apartments in densely populated inner cities and towards more sensible use of empty office space in the future. These could be expanded, for example, for concepts of communal living and working. Now there is an opportunity to "implement things that will bring us better through the 21st century than we would have continued without a crisis."

Corona crisis as an opportunity

However: A "proactive design" of revolutionary changes is initially rather the most unlikely strategy for historical challenges, says Welzer. But natural disasters like the corona pandemic, like wars or revolutions, have the potential to trigger unstoppable changes that nobody expected. Especially since the pandemic made more visible which "sore spots, which problem areas" in society were already there before. Hennig Vöpel also sees it that way. The economist heads the Hamburg World Economic Institute (HWWI) and is chairman of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Council for the Future. 49 personalities from different areas of the country should think ahead, discuss and make proposals for a future strategy in this citizens' council. He sees the crisis as a unique opportunity for "real social progress"; it has hit everyone and sensitized them to "what makes us vulnerable, to what is important in life".

But it is important to use the experience to save the idea of ​​solidarity from the early days into the future, since in the meantime contrary developments and polarizations can also be recognized. In fact, people have come through the pandemic very differently, and are not immediately affected by its effects. "Existing injustices and inequalities" have not only become more visible, says Harald Welzer, they have also deepened. "I think it's really bad when it comes to the equipment of the nursing professions that it has more or less stuck with clapping." In fact, the question arises: Which activities will be important in the future? How much recognition do nurses earn in retirement homes and clinic wards and how is their work paid? The solidarity of the early days, for the sociologist "not even a flash in the pan". Politicians have to keep an eye on social cohesion, says Henning Vöpel. And the mistake shouldn't be made of leaning back, because there is a lot to be done for advancing digitization.

Climate, allotments and concepts

Andrea Boldt also thinks about the future in her village shop in Bernitt, about living together and about how and with what people will continue to earn their money. "How will it all be?" she asks herself in an interview with Nordmagazin in December 2020 and says: She will be surprised. Andrea Boldt felt a change in her village shop: "The hectic pace has gone." And she notices how much her customers have started to think that things are being rethought, done differently than usual. "Live differently, more consciously, have time ... In surveys on the street and on the beach in spring 2020, many passers-by reported about this positive side effects. Despite all the stresses and worries, the weeks and months with Corona initially have a noticeable side effect for many. Get out of the hamster wheel, more time, more leisure. Bike shops are experiencing a rush, even plots in allotment associations are in demand like never before.

Consumption habits are also changing. The Pomeranian farm community around Rothenklempenow has to triple its vegetable growing area, so much is the demand for regional organic food. And nature also breathes a sigh of relief. Karsten Klaene, ranger in the Jasmund National Park, hopes in spring in the "Hanseblick Rügen - time out for an island" that nature can finally regenerate itself. What seemed difficult to achieve for a long time: CO-2 emissions fell to a record low in 2020.

A large proportion of these savings can be attributed to the flagging land transport in lockdown. But this was probably just a dent. How sustainable positive effects will be also depends on sensible strategies for economic restructuring or reconstruction, says political economist Maja Göpel, who advises the federal government on sustainable economy. And Harald Welzer says: "The future can really succeed if you evaluate the experience of the crisis in such a way that you say: We'll do better now!" The future council MV should also think about ecology. He will present proposals and ideas to the state government in March.

1 year Corona and we in MV

A year ago, the first people were infected with the corona virus in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The NDR looks back on a turbulent time. more

This topic in the program:

NDR 1 Radio MV | 05.03.2021 | 19:30 o'clock