The crisis disrupted society; but not only in a negative way. Air traffic came to a standstill and the air became cleaner straight away. Nature reserves were laid to rest, people started to think about consumption choices, parking spaces in city centres had to make way for terraces; this could be a transition to a beautiful world. Yet this idealistic vision of the future soon crumbled away. How can we make sure that the corona crisis, in addition to being a crisis with many victims, can also inspire a transition to a cleaner, better world?
A chance to change
Prof. Dr. Derk Loorbach
"Such a crisis makes clear what we need to get rid of in the short term: air pollution, intensive livestock farming, economic vulnerability."
Derk Loorbach, professor of Transition Studies and director of the research bureau DRIFT, looked with his team from the start: what can the Netherlands look like after Corona, and what can we learn from it? "It is in fact an opportunity to make the world a better place," says Loorbach in an Erasmus podcast. In a crisis, all sorts of things are exposed, such as environmental pollution or inequality, which have to change. Moreover, we have started to re-evaluate things that we took for granted before the crisis; like hospitals, or personal contact. The pandemic is a mirror for us. An intense period such as this is needed to initiate a change in behaviour. "People are routine creatures. It is often shocks or crises that help to speed up things we actually knew all along."
Studio Erasmus Podcast: Derk Loorbach hopes for cleaner world after corona crisis (in Dutch)
Derk Loorbach in the news
"How difficult it appears to be for us to just do what is asked of us, which is, quite literally, to stay at home. That is interesting in itself"
Ruud Welten is professor of philosophy (ESPhil) and does research on travel, he wrote the book 'Het ware leven is elders'. In the podcast of Studio Erasmus he shares his critical view on our stubborn desire to go on holiday, even in coronation time. "Why does that itch so much, why do we think that if we want to live meaningfully, we have to get out the door? We keep thinking that authenticity can be found in another place in the world than where we are." For Studium Generale, Welten made a podcast about Albert Camus and the book The Plague, and what we can learn from it in this day and age.
Podcast - Ruud Welten about The Plague (in Dutch)
Studio Erasmus Podcast: Ruud Welten about travel and tourism (in Dutch)
"Pandemics will become the 'new normal' if the social and economic conditions that caused the viral storm across our planet are not also addressed."
Jos de Mul, Professor of Philosophy (ESPhil) wrote a long essay for De Groene Amsterdammer in which he describes his own world trip that coincided with the beginning of the global corona outbreak. In the essay, De Mul makes recommendations for a better world, how it could have come this far and what we can learn from it: "Pandemics will become the 'new normal' if the social and economic conditions that caused the viral storm across our planet are not also addressed. This is no small task. It would be nice if the current pandemic would also cause some useful mutations in our minds to that end."
In a podcast with Studio Erasmus, he explains how Western culture has traditionally dealt with fate. He suggests that it is important to keep thinking about questions such as: what are sensible measures, and which measures involve danger? When do the costs of solutions exceed the costs of the problem itself?