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Young, mobile, sustainable

It starts right at the front door: for the Youth Alpine Interrail participants, flight-free travel is a multifaceted adventure. (c) Klara Kavcic

Travelling through the Alps by train in a climate-friendly way: young adults campaigned for more sustainable mobility at the online workshop “Youth Alpine Interrail” in December 2020 at the “AlpenWoche Intermezzo”. They discussed with representatives from politics how nature experiences can motivate more climate protection and which political measures are necessary.

“I'm a mountain person and love being in the Alps,” said Luisa Deubzer from CIPRA's Youth Council, explaining her motivation to get involved in climate protection. But what is needed above all is fair pricing; it cannot be that fossil means of transport continue to be subsidised. For Laura Zwick, change begins with small steps, knowledge alone is not enough: “It's about simply doing something and experiencing a positive feeling. Having a network and meeting like-minded people gives you strength”. Nicolas Rodigari, also a member of CIPRA's Youth Council, can no longer hear the response of many politicians that change is complicated. The 22-year-old is convinced: “We have to work together more for climate protection, our demands have to be taken more seriously.”

All three are part of the Youth Alpine Interrail project, in which young adults travelled through the Alps by train in the summer of 2018 and 2019 and addressed climate protection and sustainable mobility. On 9 December 2020, they and other young adults discussed measures needed for climate-friendly travel in the Alps with representatives of environment and spatial planning ministries. The workshop took place as part of the online event “AlpenWoche Intermezzo”. More than 200 people participated in 20 sessions around “Youth & Climate”.

The journey begins on the doorstep

The representatives from politics were impressed by the commitment of the young adults. Markus Becker from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety emphasised that young people have a great influence on the behaviour of people around them, especially on older generations. For Katharina Zwettler from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, a rethinking of when travel begins is needed. “The whole journey is an adventure. Start at the front door and experience how the landscape changes.” Tourism programmes should also adapt to this way of travelling, adds Blanka Bartol from the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure. Marianna Elmi, Vice Secretary General of the Alpine Convention advises the younger generation to get involved politically as well: “Change the system from the inside – I would vote for you!”

“Youth Alpine Interrail” is a project of the CIPRA Youth Council and CIPRA International and is supported by the signatory states of the Alpine Convention. In 2021 the project will again enable at least 100 selected people between the ages of 18 and 27 to undertake a climate-friendly journey in the Alpine region, the corona pandemic permitting. Preparations for this are underway. The project is financially facilitated by the Austrian Ministry for Climate Protection, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development, the Liechtenstein Office for the Environment and the RHW Foundation.