[TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY GOOGLE]
By Luisa Neubauer
“If you want to start something new “after Corona”, you have to stop with the old. But we just can’t stop. With nothing. That is why we choose to continue.
“Before the crisis, there was also a crisis, says Naomi Klein, when she gives zoom speeches in her super tidy study. And Klein can very well argue that, you nod, yes, that’s exactly how it was with normality, which was rather upside down on paper. Ecological sell-off, hyper acceleration, a normality at pump that could prevail because the real costs of the future were left to foreign countries or marginalized social groups. Exposure is one of the core competencies of the corona crisis, and everything that can be found in systemic instabilities is exposed. Merciless.
“The fact that we are willing to spend a fortune to return to a normality that has long had no future says nothing about whether it will succeed.
“No problem, they say, there won’t be a “back to normal”, Corona is shaking the foundation too much. And it is logical, crises create shocks, abrupt change is no longer unthinkable, but likely. That’s why we’re talking about a world after Corona, a new normal. The “it will never be the same again as before” echoes melancholy in some. In the progressive eco-corner, it is more relaxed, great, change, we take.
“So far, so good, this story. I just don’t believe in it yet. Yes, it was normal was radical, crazy and irresponsible. And we will do everything we can to return to her.
“Return to the usual instead of positive change
“One must first consider that with Corona we are finally getting to know a crisis that can be overcome politically. Managing means organizing stability. It doesn’t even have to be stable anymore, it just has to look stable, and the normality before Corona is obviously the apparent stability with which we are most familiar.
“Of course, you will make a few corrections, better equip hospitals, set up travel regulations, cleverly link a Corona app with other incentives to optimize health.
“Yes, you want more resilience.
“But making the world better is not part of the “Corona coping” job. You just like to interpret that into it. Everything will be done to create a normalcy that should be as normal as possible, not better or fairer or more sustainable. Others can take care of that at a different time.
“New beginnings require farewell to the old
“No easy starting point for the world improvement faction. In order to be able to pull in there, so the obvious conclusion, something REALLY good should come to mind. A draft of normality that could take on the bribed charm of the familiar. Okay, let’s get the billions of programs and point plans and crisis catalogs sprouting like a young spruce forest in the Brandenburg region.
“Correct. The crucial point is only that: how good, beautiful, fair, how much better this new normal will be does not depend on the number of new ideas. Not even inevitably how good they are (we haven’t known how far really bad ideas can go since the very first scrappage bonus). Something else is crucial. Whether enriching ideas are fruitful depends on the extent to which we are ready to break away from old ideas, there is even a word for it, it is exnovation, it is the opposite of innovation.
“You don’t know it because we don’t do it. The problem with innovating for us is that farewell, i.e. the ending of a political, economic, and cultural practice due to our obviously (and understandably) complicated cultural self-image, is associated with rejection and above all with devaluation. If we stop consciously, we imply that it was wrong.
“The energy and mobility turnaround is delayed
“Farewell to previous innovations is nothing more than the acknowledgment that even the best idea will eventually fall out of time. That is also appreciative, I do not think that the (last) farewell party of the coal miners at the end of 2018 could be followed without goose bumps. An end was celebrated solemnly and peacefully, dignified and grateful for an industry that has long enriched Germany. What is now done with the internal combustion engine, however, borders on Häme. Relentlessly driving him into a century that honestly doesn’t want him, he still holds on to it where one could say Au revoir very smoothly. Retire for the combustion engine, and then drive into the sunset in the Tesla. But we don’t. And this mechanism continues.
“We think it’s good to promote renewables, but don’t come up with the idea of saying goodbye to coal. The result is a compromise that is actually not one, you welcome something new without consistently saying goodbye to the old, and when the going gets tough, yesterday wins. Common law. The coal compromise illustrates it, although one draws an end to the horizon, it is drawn out in such a way that innovation, i.e. renewables, have no chance of developing as they should. You drag off the energy turnaround, in the end you will end up with gas, because the big companies can do that quite well, and they have to be made happy,
“Common law. In order for something like this to work, you have to be creative, that’s the only way we come up with strange ideas like a solar cover. Had normality not been so strange, it would have been put into the Museum of Oddities a long time ago. And because nobody dares to draw a line somewhere, an energy turnaround becomes a great chaos in which you keep doing more and more.
“We cannot stop not stopping
“The inner cities are currently empty, we find it totally innovative to paint a few bicycle strips there. But without deliberately saying goodbye to the idea of delivered, parked, emission-contaminated, noisy inner cities, i.e. unrestrained car traffic, pop-up lanes remain a further compression factor of crowded traffic areas. This is another reason why there is no turnaround in mobility, but simply more and more traffic.
“Exnovation has no chance against innovation, you make friends with new ideas, nobody wants to muck out. Nor can that be sold, nobody chooses that. This is also understood in politics (meanwhile). That is why there are vegetarian options in the canteens and not meat-free days, this is why women are encouraged, but they do not stop criminalizing abortions, that is why they are committed to peace efforts, but continue to deliver weapons to the regions. Sufficiency concepts are doomed to fail; to do less you would have to stop doing something on a large scale.
“And we cannot stop not stopping, because we struggle not only to say goodbye to machines and laws, but also to political habits. In order not to finally stop with something, we are ready to do (almost) everything. And because the tried and tested is more powerful, the good new ideas remain an accessory to the booming normal machinery that takes up the present space in its ruthless bulk.
“The expensive revival of ailing economy
“It is precisely this mechanism that prevents corona politics from becoming more than a very expensive revival of ailing economy. You get everything that has been around for a long time. And if someone has a new idea, the best you can promise is more money, because we want to promote innovation. But you don’t get the idea that innovations need space, and if you do, you expand upwards (air tax), downwards (fracking) or to the right and left (allow, exporting nation). For this reason, the corona-related low consumption is not seen as a first step towards future-proof shopping behavior, but rather as an invitation to fantasize about shopping vouchers. It doesn’t stop here, resonates with it, not even with abundance shopping. That is why billions are promised to obsolete industries, instead of considering whether artificial job security should not come to an end now at the latest in order to open the doors to an unconditional basic income. As far as I’m concerned, we can also call this a life innovation bonus.
“To get against all of this, you have to really start up. Among other things, there is a demand for the young generations who would benefit the longest from meaningful bottom lines and who would suffer the longest from everything else. I say that very self-critically. Broad alliances must now be formed. But it takes time, the situation is confusing, people have other concerns.
“The lobby for another morning is unfortunately still busy with today. A decision phase in the Bundestag clashes with an orientation phase for the political public. Rarely has the power inequality between society and politics been greater. The lobby, which is at the start, is the one for yesterday, for cars, planes, large industries, they know their way around, because it has always been done that way.
“A normalcy without a future
“There is no beginning without an end, and if you want a brave new world, you have to turn your back on any world. Because we cannot and do not want to stop, because nobody chooses stoppers, but doers, we have to continue. And this “keep it up” will take us to Corona into a normality that, as far as possible, will resemble the one we knew before Corona.
“This return to normal will be costly. We have never really been able to afford this normality, today it is priceless.
“Why am I telling this? If you do not recognize the hurdles in front of you, you will eventually run into a wall. The fact that we are willing to spend a fortune to return to a normality that has long had no future says nothing about whether it will succeed. Because people are beginning to ask the question of meaning. And a normality that is increasingly becoming a smorgasbord of more or less good ideas that are in each other’s way becomes more difficult to justify with every additional euro of maintenance costs. You have to start.”
LUISA NEUBAUER is a climate policy activist. Recently published – with Alexander Repenning: On the end of the climate crisis (Tropen-Verlag)
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