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New ideas for life in the Alps in the post-fossil age

Franz Josef Radermacher

Der Globalisierungsgestalter Franz Josef Radermacher zeichnet Zukunftsszenarien für das postfossile Zeitalter an der CIPRA-Jahresfachtagung 2009. © CIPRA

Last week's annual CIPRA conference on the subject of growth attracted some 200 attendees to Liechtenstein. There was a consensus that our limited resources mean that growth is finite. Numerous ideas were offered and calls made for a response to the inevitable downsizing process. CIPRA summarised the most urgent calls in a catalogue of ideas.
CIPRA cast its net wide with its annual conference on "Growth come what may? The Alps in search of happiness?", which was held in Gamprin/FL. The German globalisation expert Franz Josef Radermacher, a prominent member of the Club of Rome, opened the conference with an introduction to the mechanisms of globalisation and said, "If you address the question of growth, you are confronted with a world that will have a population of ten billion by 2050." What this means at times of dwindling resources was discussed by Daniele Ganser from the Department of History at the University of Basle/CH on the second day of the conference. The discovery of new oil reserves, he said, will peak some time in the next twenty years. His conclusion: "We should leave oil before it leaves us." In other words, we need to plan an exit scenario instead of continuing to trust in economic growth based on fossil sources of energy.
CIPRA also took advantage of the conference to involve the Alps, which are impacted by the global cycles, and to promote a dialogue at several levels. The 200 attendees from various countries made full use of the workshops, discussions and personal contacts. There was a general agreement that in order to escape from the dictates of growth, new ideas are needed in terms of satisfaction, acceptable levels of income and the quality of life. What scope for action do we have if the Alps are to make an active contribution to global policies? At the end of the conference CIPRA presented a catalogue of ideas on the subject.
CIPRA's catalogue of ideas, short interviews with the speakers and the presentations held at the conference are available in English and German at www.cipra.org (de/fr/it/sl).