As part of the Youth Alpine Interrail project, young adults traveled by train through the Alps in the summer of 2018 and 2019 and addressed climate protection and sustainable mobility. On Dec. 9, 2020, they and other young adults discussed with representatives of environmental and spatial planning ministries what is needed for climate-friendly travel in the Alps. The workshop took place as part of the online event, AlpenWoche Intermezzo. More than 200 people participated in 20 sessions on the topic, Youth & Climate.

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 emphasized that young people greatly influence people’s behavior around them, especially older generations. For Katharina Zwettler of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, there needs to be a rethinking of when travel begins. “The whole journey is an adventure. Start at the front door and experience how the landscape changes.” Tourism programs should also adapt to this way of traveling, Blanka Bartol of the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure added. 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 Advisory Council and CIPRA International and is supported by the Alpine Convention’s signatory states. The International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA) is a non-governmental umbrella organization with national representations and a regional representation in the seven Alpine countries. It represents over 100 associations and organizations.

In 2021, the project also aims to enable at least 100 selected people between 18 and 27 to make a climate-friendly journey through the Alps, if the Covid-19 pandemic permits. Preparations for this are underway. The project is made financially possible 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.

The workshop discussion is available in English in the CIPRA podcast on Soundcloud.