Shaping the present and future of the Alpine Space!
I had the great chance to experience the magic of the Alps from an early age, as being raised in South Germany made trips to the Alps a frequent experience. Ever since, the Alps have a special place in my heart, being a source of inspiration but also a place where I find inner peace and new energy. Having two parents which are both ski instructors, it kind of was pre-given to become ski instructor, too! Feeling the snow under my skis, sliding on fluffy powder and breathing fresh, cold air is something I never want to miss again. However, skiing made me very well aware of the various challenges and threats this area is faced with. Literally seeing Alpine glaciers melting, experiencing less snow almost every year and reading news about extreme weather events made me feel very concerned about this region.
Of course, my personal experiences are not just feelings - it’s pure science, called climate change, posing a serious and urgent threat to billions of people around the world. Climate change scenarios project continuously rising temperatures for the Alps up to +4°C until the end of the century, with temperatures rising strongest in higher elevations. The consequences are manifold, ranging from biodiversity loss over the increase of natural disasters to a decline of ecosystem services, which means that the Alps will be less able to provide people their goods. You might feel quite hopeless now, at least I can relate to this feeling sometimes. But the good news is: IT’S NOT TOO LATE to reduce the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. In other words, the decisions we take today regarding our emissions pathways have a significant impact on the future of our planet and thus for humanity!
Supporting innovative solutions for current and future challenges of the Alps is exactly what my IVY host organisation, the Alpine Space Programme (ASP) is doing! The ASP is a European transnational cooperation programme for the Alpine region and facilitates cooperation between economic, social and environmental key players in seven Alpine countries (can you name them all? Go on reading to proceed to the solution :) . I’m mainly supporting the Joint Secretariat in Munich in the field of communication, posting on our Social Media channels, writing newsletters, updating the website and organising online events. Promoting the exemplary and important work of Interreg Alpine Space projects is a lot of fun, as I help to make their great efforts visible! The projects always work across borders, tackling common challenges at different places. The idea of working together in order to find the best solutions is really intriguing to me: it improves mutual understanding, strengthens the European spirit and most importantly, has a huge and direct impact on the lives of many Alpine inhabitants.
During my IVY experience, I got to work with colleagues and project managers from the seven Alpine countries Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein and Slovenia (how many did you remember? ;) ), and a colleague from Portugal (not from the Alps, but equally and truly European!). It’s only another six weeks at the Joint Secretariat for me, time is flying like crazy - but I guess, that’s a good sign! Time to end this blog post now and to further contribute to the future of the Alpine Space and to explore the Bavarian Alps in front of my door. In case you had any little doubts: Take the opportunity, volunteer as IVY and enjoy a truly European experience!
Marlene, Interreg Reporter at Alpine Space