What was teenage life like 20 years ago

Diary from the year 2039 How we will be living in a resource-efficient manner in 20 years

By Günther Wessel

Bikes in front of the Brandenburg Gate: is the future of Berlin largely car-free? (dpa / sports report / Stephanie Pilick)

We drive cars that are too big, we fly too carelessly, we consume too much. What could another life look like, like mobility and vacation? What would we miss and what would we gain? - A fictional Berlin travel diary from 2039.

"I find it incredibly interesting that there are always unexpected interventions. It may be that the spread of the coronavirus forces us into a world, even if only temporarily, where there is much less travel, where the weekend trip with the There is no airplane where the public event with an unbelievable expenditure of resources simply does not exist, and the people will have the experience: It's interesting. Just like they had the experience when this Icelandic volcano erupted many years ago. The world has ended ? No. " - Harald Welzer, social scientist

"Now is a time when it would be worthwhile to step into a time machine and travel 20 years into the future. And then take a look. We are now, I think, at the beginning of a transformation. We Notice: The traffic system, as it is, no longer works. It has reached its limits. The end is in sight. " - Stephanie Krone, press spokeswoman for the ADFC

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 23, 2039

27 degrees, really warm. No wonder everyone is outside. The playground is overcrowded, the park is full of joggers, the street is full of cyclists and the crowds are bubbling up in front of the ice cream shop. Basil-strawberry, ginger-banana, olive-raspberry, salty liquorice, beetroot-rye bread, Berlin white with chocolate - Berlin at the forefront.

C. and I arrived in Berlin in the morning. I haven't been here in a long time. Four days in the capital before continuing to the Baltic Sea. Arrival was okay, just Deutsche Bahn. The on-call bus, then the S-Bahn. Then three hours from Düsseldorf. The train was full, two cars with football fans, a cup game or the second division. Arrived almost on time.

Hotel Tiroler Hof. At Innsbrucker Platz. A bit of alpine kitsch inside, mountain panoramas, wood paneling, a plastic cow, checked tablecloths, but it's nice outside. A big place in the south of Schöneberg. 1950s and 1960s buildings with benches and a large water fountain in the middle

In the afternoon a first stroll through the district. Cafés and restaurants, ice cream, an antiquarian bookshop. Literature and politics, a lot from the decade and early twenties: "Origin" of Saša Stanišić as a signed first edition, Lutz Seiler's "Stern 111", also signed, and in politics, books by almost forgotten party leaders and of course the popular stuff about Climate change: Luisa Neubauer, Harald Welzer and Stephan Rammler and a few others. And also Meadows: The Limits to Growth. What are they all doing today? Okay, Neubauer has been in the Ministry of Transport for two years.

"You will have to adjust to a lower level of mobility. That doesn't have to be a catastrophe. I was in Germany 50 or 60 years ago, the quality of life was pretty good, the people were satisfied, the general health situation was pretty good. You didn't have any Ipods, no 400hp cars, no air conditioners, but it's perfectly possible to live like that. " - Dennis Meadows in an interview with Deutschlandfunk Kultur 2011

"In the 1960s, the level of economic metabolism was many times lower than it is today. But the concept of sustainability did not exist. There was also no awareness that one had to talk about it all the time. The life practices, of the idea that repairing clothes, not throwing food away, buying furniture that lasts a long time was in practice much more sustainable than it is today. If you had measured how happy people are, you would find that they were just as happy as they are today at significantly lower resource consumption. " - Harald Welzer, social scientist

"The 1970s means: Almost every family has access to an automobile. Those who didn't have it had relatively good access to public services through public transport. You had enough to eat. You didn't eat meat every day. You are Maybe once a year went on vacation, by car, maybe by train, but you went on vacation. The lifestyles of my parents and grandparents show a constantly expanding range of possibilities right up to my lifestyle. " - Stephan Rammler, social scientist

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 24, 2039

Slept pretty well. Only the birds were really loud in the morning. City birds stop. Should be louder. Breakfast in the hotel - with a panorama of the Alps on the photo wallpaper. Then take the tram to the center. Potsdamer Platz. Picked up a bike there and on. Brandenburg Gate, then Unter den Linden towards Alexanderplatz. Cafés, the green belt in the middle. Double rows of trees. Friedrichstrasse has been a pedestrian zone for 15 years - it was good for it. An adventurous swarm on Alex too. Crowds of pedestrians gushing out of the station and pouring onto the square, crowds of cyclists at the intersections. Four meter wide bike paths are apparently still too narrow. An exhibition in the German Historical Museum: The redevelopment of the city. Maybe something for the next few days.

There are already a lot of pedestrians on Alexanderplatz in Berlin. In our vision of the future, there will be even more in 2039. (picture alliance / dpa / Wolfram Steinberg)
"We could maintain the same mobility, there are various studies on it, with far fewer cars. In Lisbon it was discovered that ten percent of the vehicles would be enough." - Stephanie Krone, press spokeswoman for the ADFC

"The prognoses say only a tenth of the number of cars and still people come from A to B. So mobility doesn’t mean car, but coming from A to B. It usually stays the same, regardless of the means of transport. We just have to organize it that way that it is better for us all. There are significantly more people riding bicycles. Pedestrians no longer have to wait for hours to cross the street. Otherwise there will be a bit more public transport. Above all, the streets will be much quieter because we only have electric cars - and because they all drive a little slower. It gets nice in the city below 30 km / h. Nobody has to be afraid of anyone anymore. The tire noise has become significantly quieter. And so we have a very Chilled feeling in the city. "- Heinrich Strossenreuther, traffic and climate activist, founder of German Zero

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 24, 2039

Then in the afternoon towards Kreuzberg. With a shared taxi to Mehringdamm. Another big city street that you have to love Berlin for. Very wide sidewalks, felt like a café next to a restaurant next to a café, wide bike paths, trees, okay, a few cars and buses are still on the way. One giant line in front of a kebab stall, another in front of a currywurst dump. It is probably part of the Berlin visitor feeling to queue up here.

Have a bite to eat in Bergmannstrasse, then continue south to Tempelhofer Feld. The old airport: museum, administration. From the cafes on the roof of the main building you have a fantastic view over the huge open-air area. In front of the building are a few old planes under the curved canopy. Museum. That’s something. It was probably also very stylish when you could get directly from the counter to the plane in just a few steps. Very glamorous, as you can see from the exhibition in the former check-in hall. Freedom above the clouds - presented at the time by PanAm.

"The 60s were exactly those years, the post-war years, when in my opinion everyone said: Travel is a fundamental right. We have state-sponsored airlines. Every country in Europe has its own airline, which was supported so that travel is possible for everyone. I still remember, it was something special for us that we once flew to the Canary Islands. That cost a lot back then. Now the Chinese have just started to travel, the Indians are coming so slowly. These are huge populations. And now we it is too tight for us in Venice or Barcelona. " - Claudia Broezel, tourism researcher

Can we now forbid the Chinese to travel for environmental reasons?

"When people come up to me and say: Yes, I really wanted to go on vacation with my children and then I had to fly. Or: I have now booked the flight to the Caribbean, yes, what do I do now? that he would like to live sustainably and not cause climate change, but now he also wants to fly. Howl, boy. If you want to reduce climate change, have your balls in your pants and do it too. Then you don't fly. That If you would like to call it that, then it means renouncing that not all ten billion people in the world have the right to fly anywhere from anywhere. That will not work, and not all of them have it either ten billion people have the right and the possibility, but only an absolute top of a fossil elite - that is in a world in which ten billion people will soon be living and in which everyone should be granted an equal right to live hte, just not feasible. " - Stephan Rammler

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 25, 2039

Went to sleep early and slept well and longer. Three possibilities: Either I was more tired or it was the beers or the birds were quieter this morning. C. has made an appointment with an old friend from Berlin. You want to go to a new tropical resort in Neukölln, a kind of South Sea paradise with all the trimmings. There should also be restaurants, water parks, a small tropical garden and an aquarium there. Also films, projections, virtual things. Aloha in Neukölln. Not mine, especially since I have the feeling that there are more and more institutions like this now. Not only for the tropics, but also for other things - in the gym I recently went up the Mont Ventoux virtually - together with others. Admittedly, it felt pretty real. But it was different anyway.

Tropical bathing fun instead of a tropical vacation by plane: that could be the future. (dpa / Patrick Pleul)

"I've decided to fly very carefully, and I don't know if I'll come to New Zealand again in my life. And yet I have the opportunity today - traveling in virtual worlds, through wonderful documentaries with drone recordings. I travel I like documentaries. I know what the world looks like. I'm not there then, but for me that's a very satisfying approach to these worlds. I have a picture of most places in the world, what it looks like there. With that I live well. " - Rammers

"It makes a difference whether I look at a calendar picture with a mountain on it or whether I actually drive there and breathe this air and stand up there and feel accordingly and then go back to my normal everyday environment. That does something to us . And I think that's exactly what we mustn't lose. It broadens my horizons. " - Broezel

"I am of the opinion that adolescents and young adults who are on their way to life should of course have the right to fly. But do seniors who are 80 or 85 still have to jet around in the world? That is an expression of freedom. I don't want to curtail that. I would like to ask you to think about whether this is really an expression of absolute self-fulfillment. " - Rammers

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 25, 2039

I'm out in the direction of Potsdam on my own. First with the S-Bahn to Wannsee. The second night train from Paris was just arriving there. Very chic - silver. Looks fast, although it twitches. Takes twelve hours at night instead of six hours during the day. It would also be nice to continue to Spain instead of the Baltic Sea: one night to Paris, walking around a bit, then the next to Barcelona. Very tempting. But you would have to do it in spring, in summer it's much too hot.

Get out of the train station. Standing by the water, watching the ferries arrive and depart, dreamed afterwards.

"We have a travel intensity of 78 percent. That means: 78 percent of the German population travel at least five days a year. Most of them make one or two trips plus short trips." - Broezel

"If we no longer use the Volvo station wagon for family vacations, we will have to do without certain things that we cannot carry with us. But we went camping in Portugal. And we switched via Paris and then to the Spanish border and with the night train to Lisbon. That worked. And the four of us carried it, two igloo tents, small igloo tents that fit two people. But we can gain something else: namely a different form of travel experience. We have I also took the children on a trip to Corfu. First to Munich, then from Munich on the night train to Venice, got off in Venice at half past six it was a completely different form of travel and then we went on a ferry to Corfu, then we were in Corfu for two weeks and then we flew back For several days on the day train, night train and ferry, the children, who were seven and ten or so at the time, didn't even mop up to make it boring. But they had hardly been on the plane, about half an hour, when they said: Dad, when are we finally there? "- Michael Adler, political scientist and transport specialist

"The Mediterranean will become less attractive. You can already see the effects of relocation back to the Scandinavian destinations. North and Baltic Sea countries will actually become attractive maritime destinations. And I believe that if you take up this in terms of tourism policy and make these milieus more attractive, for younger families with children, then we have inbound tourism that works very well. " - Rammers

"If we no longer travel abroad, 78 percent of the German population travels five days plus to the Uckermark, then we have overtourism in the Uckermark." - Broezel

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 25, 2039

I grabbed a rental bike in the bicycle parking garage at Wannsee and cycled to Potsdam. Over the hill, break at the Glienicke bridge, then a big dangling through Potsdam. Past Sanssouci, Charlottenhof Palace, Cäcilienhof, just past, nothing visited. It's nicer outside. Then to the city center. Everything very spruced up, everything done a little too fine, a bit of demonstrative Prussianism. Long queue at the Barberini Museum. Also stayed outside. Can't do that much with the New Leipzig School anyway. Instead, in a great ice cream parlor with the right flavors: chocolate, nut and vanilla - nothing basil and ginger. Finally to the Potsdamer Bahnhof, the bike in there in the bike station, because I didn't want to cycle over the hill between Potsdam and Berlin again.

"We will see a lot more simple offers at the destinations. That you get off somewhere in Brandenburg, in Lusatia, in Bavaria and immediately find a whole range of fantastic bikes that you can rent at a low rate so that you don't constantly has this mass of bikes on the trams. I want alternatives to the car that I can book spontaneously. We need an app with which we can book everything. We need flat mobility rates. We need standardized ticket systems that I can use to book through can: the bike for the first mile, the train journey and then the trip by bike on vacation. " –Stephanie Krone

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 25, 2039

From Potsdam back into the city. The S-Bahn runs to Berlin every five minutes. It must be because of the large number of commuters. It's definitely full in the morning anyway. Is it easy to get into Potsdam or Berlin from the surrounding area? Lots of people probably ride their bikes, and the bike parking garage next to the train station can fit ten thousand bikes.

Instead of the S-Bahn, I took the E-Bus to Berlin this time. It takes longer, and travels comfortably through Babelsberg, Nikolassee and Zehlendorf to Steglitz. Then from Steglitz by tram to the hotel. It all took forever, but there was something to see. First a lot of greenery and a lot of water, then beautiful suburban villas, and finally the shopping paradise in Steglitz. The whole range. I'm still in a bookstore there. Just rummaged around, bought nothing.

Rental bikes and even more rental bikes - here in Antwerp: are they the means of transport of the future? (JOKER)
"In rural regions we need more time. We need more understanding for the fact that many people there drive life models that can be booked under the heading of home-car culture.That is the way of life for most of the people in this country too. This is the classic suburban lifestyle model. You need to make smart offers to these people. You have to say: Okay, maybe we need a bit more automobility. But in order to be mobile in rural regions, do you have to drive a 2.5-ton SUV with a fossil engine or, as I have experienced, as a family of five in the 1970s, can you be happy with a VW Beetle. It is not a human right to be allowed to drive an automobile, and it is certainly not a human right to be able to drive a certain automobile. "- Stephan Rammler, social scientist

"In the country we will only have e-cars. A few in the country will also learn that you don't drive for a kilometer by car, but by bike or on foot. The rural dwellers are actually a bit like that : I like to sit in the car. I come from the country myself, so I'm entitled to say that. If we look at the commuters, that's something different. I think it will be, in the short time of ten, In twenty years there will not be a massive expansion of rail traffic because the lines and tracks are not there. We will probably have far, far more car-sharing opportunities. That has to be subsidized even more, and on the other hand far more buses. Maybe a first-class bus, where a newspaper and a coffee will be served. " - Heinrich Strossenreuther

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 25, 2039

I later met with C. and her friend in Friedrichshain. The two were very enthusiastic about their visit to the Neukölln tropics. First eat in a pub like this, then take a tour of the neighborhood in the evening. A cinema, galleries, bookstores, a small theater, the community center, concert hall, a yoga center - the basic cultural provision is well developed. There are also a few restaurants that have tables outside, but also small niches separated from the street with play equipment for children and park benches. In between there are larger lockable boxes for bicycles. Their metal gates can rattle properly. If I lived here, it might be a little too loud for me at times. Then we grabbed a small electric car and drove to the hotel.

"The mileage of inner-city residents is falling sharply. In-commuters are increasing. In some parts of the big cities there will be a dispute between inner-city residents and residents of residential areas or even outside residents. And inner-city residents say: We want it to be as nice as you are out there, the birds are chirping, the air is halfway good, we'll close the driveway for you. " - Heinrich Strossenreuther

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 26, 2039

Our last day. Tomorrow we continue to the coast. Slept a long time, then went to a café around the corner for breakfast. Too much alpine panorama in the hotel. Read a few newspapers, have an extra coffee, watched street life for a long time: the messenger with the cargo bike, the bookseller who rolled the table with offers and the stand with the postcards outside - if I had been told 20 years ago that it was today There are still bookstores with printed books, I would not have believed it - the health food store owner who carefully prepares his tomatoes, cucumbers and salads, the passers-by pouring out of the subway station and grabbing a quick coffee in theirs here at the bar Shedding cups, a few late school children on their bikes and boards. A daycare group plants their front yard, which has extended to the previous parking bays. There is no parking space on this street. But no cars either.

Our author Günther Wessel believes there will still be bookshops in 2039. (picture alliance / Tagesspiegel / Kitty Kleist-Heinrich)
"First of all, I would always ask the question: What are we doing without under the current conditions? And we are foregoing clean air, we forego quiet, we forego security, we forego freedom of movement, we forego forms of communication, because our world is structured by the classic model of individual transport. That is an incredible sacrifice that the car imposes on people. We would gain an incredible quality of life if we got rid of that. " - Welzer

"Behind this there is certainly a sadness about the loss of the paradisiacal conditions, at least for some of the people in this world. And one has to say: We in Germany are part of an absolute fossil elite." - Rammers

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 26, 2039

Four days are just too short. The city has grown insanely, now more than four million people live here. There are the old districts that were always beautiful and have become more beautiful: Kreuzberg, Schöneberg, Charlottenburg, Neukölln, Mitte, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg, Moabit. The quieter districts like Zehlendorf. Much has changed, if only because more than four million people now live here. The city has grown, but not narrowed. Even quieter, much quieter, but no less lively. Because a lot has changed. At home too. But what I notice here, I actually never see there. Probably because the changes are taking place so slowly. You hardly notice it if you look at it every day. The typical astonished "You grew up", which grandparents always say to grandchildren, because they do not see the daily growth.

"There are two possibilities. One, whatever comes up as a disruptive change in the discussion, something that collapses somewhere, be it now that gasoline is becoming much more expensive, that for some reason the transport system cannot continue to function and probably that too The entire economic system and the way people live will be affected. Economic growth and traffic growth have always been linked, and so far it has not worked to decouple the two. And now with the Corona Virus this connection is visible again. The other one The possibility is that more and more people are turning away from the existing system, from the existing way of life for a variety of reasons. So this type of voluntary change in behavior or lifestyle changes, which are to some extent also emerging in various areas. " - Katharina Manderscheid, social scientist

"These are processes of cultural transformation that take a long time." - Stephan Rammler, social scientist

"It was politically wanted that the car prevailed in history. There were a lot of political decisions that abolished alternatives, trams, bicycle traffic, also mass train traffic and massively promoted the car. And so of course there is also the possibility To restrict car traffic again, and to promote other forms of transport and make them more attractive. " - Manderscheid

"Politics is the right place to force mission statement processes, to force vision work, to offer a basis for moderating a discourse and to have a say in the discourse and to make decisions on the basis of this discourse at some point." - Rammers

"Modern civilization consists in dictating something to people from time to time. That is why we have a different use of firearms than in the USA. That is why there is compulsory schooling. which can be objectively justified when someone says yes, but we don't want to dictate anything to people. " - Welzer

Diary of a trip to Berlin, June 26, 2039

Departure. A little wistful. It was nice here. More beautiful than before. And despite all the changes: some things just stay the same. The reservation system for the train to the coast has failed. But at least: he's on time.

Author: Günther Wessel
The following spoke: Annika Mauer, Robert Frank
Technology: Hermann Leppich
Director: Stefanie Lazai
Editor: Martin Hartwig