Did we waste the Crisis?

Yesterday, SERI’s Jill Jäger asked the important question “Is (was) the crisis an opportunity for change?” at the Sustainable World Congress in Grafenegg. “Josef Plank from the Ecosocial Forum also reminded us to “Never waste a good crisis”.

Bute while there are signs of recovery around the globe, the three most important questions of the crisis aren’t really discussed: (1) Who pays for the costs of the crisis? (2) What have we learned from the crisis and our reactions? And (3) Did we waste the opportunity for structural changes during times of crisis?

Car-scrapping subsidies, bank bailouts, nationalization of struggling companies, economic stimulus packages and more or less green investments depending on governments’ preferences – is this really the reaction that such a crisis allows or even demands? Moreover, governments still don’t really act on stricter financial regulation while Goldman Sachs reports billion dollar profits and astronomic bonuses.

Renewable energy investments are also in decline while businesses strive for nuclear and coal power. Governments only focus on individual action instead of comprehensive reforms of tax systems to support people and encourage businesses to act more environmentally friendly. And consumers only consume less but are hardly changing their consumption patterns.

It doesn’t matter if youcall this “business as usual”, “more of the same” or “sticking to the status quo”: If this unambitious policies are our answer to a crisis of this magnitude, then the answer to this answer will be a crisis of an even bigger magnitude.

We don’t know if the crisis will already aggravate in 2010 or only a few years later. Probably, this depends on unpredictable oil exporting countries or irrational financial analysts. That why I’d like to finally cite Robert Slameczka who reminded us yesterday that only structural changes can turn things around now: “Between thinking back and thinking ahead there’s rethinking.

Posted on July 24, 2009 in Democracy

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About the Author

Andreas Lindinger is a Vienna-based business consultant, sustainability expert and urban thinker passionate about livable cities, sustainable transportation, renewable energy and civic engagement. Andreas offers a transdisciplinary business, finance and sustainability background, industry expertise in energy, mobility and environmental consulting and broad international experience gained in Vienna, Vancouver, Berlin and Dublin. Make sure to also check out Vienncouver.com and to follow @lindinger on Twitter.

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