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Of ruins, deer and people

(c) Heinz Heiss

How do migration and depopulation, spatial planning or climate change affect quality of life? The various aspects of the relationships between the Alps and the people who live, work and relax there are the focus of AlpWeek 2016, to be held from 11 to 15 October 2016 in Grassau, Germany. It is being staged by leading Alpine-wide organisations, including CIPRA.

It is not always easy for those living in remote Alpine regions: the children have to be taken to school by car, the grocer's shop is only open in the mornings, the nearest doctor is 30 kilometres away.

They move away, farmland is abandoned, pastures become overgrown, houses fall into disrepair. Some regret this development, while others are pleased that nature can regain space. At the same time natural areas in heavily populated or tourist regions are under more and more pressure. Protected status is challenged, relaxed, removed.

Space is finite

Some spatial planning instruments do exist to complement and affect such developments. But there is also resistance, prejudice and fear regarding areas that are or are practically unspoilt. CIPRA is addressing this with its event entitled “Da röhrt der Hirsch, da rauscht der Bach [Where the deer bellows and the stream rushes]” at the fourth AlpWeek, to be held from 11 to 15 October in Grassau, Germany. The speakers, for example Patrizia Rossi, the former director of the nature park Alpi Marittime, will recount their experiences and discuss various solutions together with participants. Also being presented is the specialist “Alps insight” journal entitled “Space is finite”.

The CIPRA workshop “We are climate!” will also prompt visitors to think about lifestyles and climate-friendly behaviour on the basis of the “Youth Alpine Express” and “100max” projects, and will advocate for more youth and citizen participation.

Shaping the future

Numerous further sessions, panel discussions and market stands of various Alpine stakeholders will offer the possibility to jointly discuss and develop solutions for the current challenges in the Alps.

Alpine inhabitants are facing major future challenges and they must be able to cope with them. The purpose of the AlpWeek is to share existing Alpine experiences in order to find new Alpine-specific solutions for the future that can maintain its social, cultural and natural heritage.

Demography, culture and quality of life

To show the variety of approaches available and to discuss sustainable development options, AlpWeek 2016 will be encouraging a broad and diversified dialogue focusing on three main fields of action: demography, culture, and quality of life. Social scientist Harald Welzer, cultural scientist and European ethnologist Bernhard Tschofen as well as entrepreneurs Sandrine Percheval and Anne Lassmann will be some of the many international speakers that will join the discussion on these topics.

Rendezvous of friends of the Alps

AlpWeek is an international event dedicated to new and promising approaches to of sustainable development in the Alps. Co-organised by the main alpine organisations engaged in regional and sustainable development, it is held every four years. This edition of the event is being organised under the German Presidency of the Alpine Convention.

Registrations to the event and room booking are currently open, please visit: www.alpweek.org.

AlpWeek is an event organised by:

CIPRA International; Alliance in the Alps; Alpine Convention; Interreg Alpine Space Programme; Association Alpine Town of the Year; Club Arc Alpin (CAA); ISCAR Alpine Research; Ökomodell Achental.

With the financial support of:

German ministry for environment, for nature protection, building and nuclear security, and Bavarian ministry for environment and consumer protection.

Contact: CIPRA International, +423 237 5353, international@cipra.org

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