The world after, but after what?

The breathing will have lasted eight days. Just enough to dream of lightness, organize one or two evenings, imagine an unmasked summer vacation, a drink in hand, “Cheers!” – and try to measure what these two years of pandemic will have meant to humanity.

On 16 February, the Federal Council announced the end of most health restrictions in Switzerland. One week later, Russia entered the war against Ukraine. And already the deluge of messages on our smartphones threw us back in amazement. Internet users prefer to laugh at it on social networks: “Could we stop for two minutes from linking to ‘historic moments’, thank you, thank you very much. Expiration. Or was it a sigh?

When we jumped with both feet from one crisis to the next, we had almost forgotten it: Exactly two years ago, the WHO uttered the word “pandemic”, and the world held its breath. “Between glances in the retro and wishes for the future, it’s just a birthday interest”, we wrote in March 2021. In this new special operation available in interactive format as well as on paper, imagined before the war broke out in Europe, The weather asked those who were patted on the balconies, thanked at the checkout, followed by the dead, sometimes raised as heroes and heroines, what their post-covid world looked like now that we were there.

Our multimedia format: How is your “next world”?

On the subject, the waves of the pandemic have carried a thousand and one magnificent speeches. In practice, what of all our hopes or predictions resists today’s foam? What will this boostershot produce? Are we really mortal? What to do with all these waves of solidarity, of these now semi-pixelated offices, of these parents ‘burnout, of this explosion of inequalities, of this desire for night trains, of these vegetables brought back from the local farm, of these bird songs that’ we finally heard about the infinite gratitude to the teachers, to this increase in rudeness, to these cafe terraces nibbling on parking lots, to these seeds and projects in bulk instead of in vacuum?

Also read: “It is the new world, the one where crises follow each other”

In this tumultuous new period of rising pollution, the question can only invite humility. A few months ago, supporters of the “next world”, ironic smiles and quotes with their fingers burned, with a second-rate torch of others’ hopes – the defenders of the “next world”, conquered jaws and beliefs planted right in the guiding future. Surprise: in March 2022, no one mocked or asserted any certainty about this supposed new world.

Maybe we should change focus to try to perceive its contours one day. Zoom out. On February 28, twelve days after the official end of the pandemic in Switzerland and four days after the invasion of Ukraine, the IPCC report was released. A report described by the UN Secretary-General as an “atlas of human suffering”. If jingles off latest news has partly covered the echo of it, but everything is there: the answers we will give, to the war in Ukraine as well as to the prospect of new pandemics, will ultimately depend on this famous world later.

Also read: It’s time to listen to the climate experts

There is a need for short-term solutions that are thought of in the urgent nature of war. But what about the long term? Energy independence from Russia, suddenly under fire from all the limelight, it will only go through the revival with great fanfare of national hydrocarbon plants, or will it allow a takeover of the awareness of the impact political, economic and ecological aspects of our way of life? Will scientific research projects on zoonoses and the dangers of too much deforestation see the light of day? Will solidarity and cohesion prevail over all for themselves despite the frustrations?

Whatever one thinks of it, it must be resolved: the nostalgia for climate denial and petrodollars does not reserve any desirable future. Scientists tell us very simply: this next world can not be postponed until much later, and it will be something else – otherwise it will not be.

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