Columnists: Hans Nilsson, Fourfact

Published on: 11 May 2020

Reconstruct without rebuilding

The temptation will be huge to rebuild society instead of reconstructing it and make it better. Owners of manufacturing who have made a good living using old-fashioned (dirty) technologies will demand it and they have good connections in political circles. Employees and shop-owners who have lost their jobs will demand to get their living back, and they are voters (at best). Just look at the heavily weaponed guys invaded the state buildings in Michigan. Our neighbours will demand it to enable them to maintain habits and customs and continue a living that they were used to before everything was turned upside down by this darned virus.

And then comes people like us saying “this is a chance of a lifetime to reconstruct society-buildings-manufacturing and make it better!”. Now we can fulfil all dreams to make environment better and make it sustainable!

It does not matter how right we are, people will have a hard time to accept the logic! So what can we do?

Firstly we have to find alliances that makes such transformations in line with their own interests and that show that the reconstruction is beneficial to all (or at least most) people and does not hurt. The city of Milan has already declared their aspiration to reduce traffic in the city with 35% once the corona restrictions are taken away. 

Air France has made statements that they intend to be attractive and responsible with lower use of fuel and use of different fuels. Hopefully they stay true to their word. The company just received a big bailout by the French state (with green strings attached) so hopefully that will lead them in a more sustainable direction.

In Sweden major companies in energy and steelmaking has declared their long-time interest in changing production in such ways that improves environment and sustainability. These companies have made public statements in a format that all people can understand and accept. Not because it makes the transformation less hurtful but rather because the transformation makes sense and id attractive. Different jobs, maybe, but better jobs and possibly better paid.

All these examples shows that there are allies that can help in visualising the reconstruction. But it is imperative to recruit several more to get our economies on the right track.

The views expressed in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of eceee or any of its members.

Other columns by Hans Nilsson