The Corona pandemic makes it clear that all systems are interrelated. Humans do not dominate nature. Rather, our species is a part of the whole and shares the earth with many other living beings. A virus 'close to life', which has the ability to evolve and control its replication, is keeping humanity in suspense. The limitations of many systems are becoming apparent. At the same time, there is an opportunity to further develop these systems.
Already initiated transformations such as digitalization have been accelerated. For example, in March 2020, when the crisis began, the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons, continued its teaching seamlessly in virtual form. The advantages of digital, location-independent 'new work' can be experienced. The social significance of families and 'care work' has become clear. At the same time, the benefits, but also the costs, of global mobility are becoming apparent. Empty streets open up a fresh view of space and enable new visions for its use.
Simply relying on habits is not enough. Even seemingly everyday things cannot be taken for granted and are therefore even more valuable: health, a hug, movement in intact nature.
To develop sustainable solutions for our life and survival as a society, we need more than ever diverse perspectives and interdisciplinary cooperation between people with different talents. Diversity is a source of innovation. Creativity, the ability to learn from each other and empathy are important resources. Resilience also makes us more resilient to overcome crises with our individual abilities and use them as an impulse for development.
As human beings we can ask ourselves: What for? Why do we learn and teach, why do we produce and work? One thing has become clear: If a living being intervenes too strongly, the balance gets out of control with sometimes fatal consequences. We need flexible systems that can adapt to constantly changing environmental conditions. The economic benefits and the associated external costs should be transparently embedded in these systems and made clear - so that people can prosper, and we can live on this fascinating planet in the long term.
What distinguishes us? The answer is as multifaceted as the people themselves. A quotation from Mahatma Gandhi aptly describes it: 'Be the change you want to see in the world.' In this sense: Find and use your potential. And support others in developing their potential, too! Universities in particular can make an important contribution here. It promotes diverse perspectives in society.
Systems that include a variety of perspectives are more resilient, more broadly based and agile. They enable sustainably - life.
Sara Dolf-Metzler ist Leiterin Diversity & Gleichstellung der FH Graubünden.