The coronavirus crisis offers a unique opportunity for valuable insights. While society is locked down in a deep slumber, a particularly clear image becomes visible, as if frozen in a still image. Now we see the scandalous operations of the meat industry, now migrant harvest worker schemes are exposed, we see the impact of long supply chains and that our society has focused on expectations and taken for granted their constant fulfillment, nurturing the notion that we could keep this up endlessly. Only now, in the lockdown, do we realize what “business as usual” actually means. At the same time, we recognize that it lacks ideas for a better future, which are essential in particular for the survival of modern democracies.
Developing a different culture of life and business is not a question of knowledge but a task for many, highly diverse and often very successful laboratories of civil society – initiated by responsible entrepreneurs, creative school administrators, citizens’ initiatives, student start-ups or simply by citizens who make use of their opportunities for action with the aim of developing sustainable economic strategies and lifestyles.
Sociologist and social psychologist Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer is co-founder and director of the foundation FUTURZWEI. Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit, director of the Norbert Elias Center for Transformation Design at the University of Flensburg (Europa-Universität Flensburg) and a permanent guest professor of social psychology at the University of Sankt Gallen.
He is the author of numerous books about sociopolitical topics and sustainability, including Climate Wars: What People Will Be Killed For in the 21st Century, Selbst denken. Eine Anleitung zum Widerstand, Die smarte Diktatur. Der Angriff auf unsere Freiheit, and most recently Alles könnte anders sein. Eine Gesellschaftsutopie für freie Menschen. All were published by S.‑Fischer‑Verlag. Harald Welzer is also the editor of the magazine for future and politics taz.FUTURZWEI. Magazin für Zukunft und Politik.
The FUTURZWEI foundation is committed to increasing the public visibility and political empowerment of such laboratories by telling the success stories of novel approaches and sharing them with civil society in cooperation with established media. FUTURZWEI sees itself as a promoter of an emerging social movement that shows that change is not only possible, but can also be enjoyable and bring about improved quality of life.
What kind of society do we want to taking shape?