In his dissertation on the "Politicisation of the Alps; Environmental Movements in the Era of European Integration (1970-2000)", and especially in his paper "Between Preservation and Use; Environmental Protection in the Alps in the 20th and 21st Centuries", the historian Romed Aschwanden outlined three phases of society's approach to the Alps on the occasion of the ProMontes Prize competition.
From 1900 to 1970, the idea of protection dominated, nature was perceived as the opposite of culture. This movement was characterised by the urban educated middle classes and culminated in the creation of the National Park. At the same time, Mr Aschwanden also recalls the view of human intervention at the time, which attested that a Grimsel dam certainly had the potential to help shape the landscape. And he also recalls that terms such as cultural landscape, biodiversity and climate positivity were not yet anchored in society's vocabulary.
The 2nd phase from 1970-1990 then saw the ecological turnaround and also the change from the educated middle classes to the directly affected protagonists in the Alpine region, whose Alpine Initiative was successful in 1994, but - it must be said - has so far only been partially implemented.
According to Aschwanden, the 3rd phase from 1990 onwards is the phase of development towards integral protection, towards the symbiosis of man and nature. And it is also the phase of networking, shaped by the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA).
In conclusion, Romed Aschwanden called for the Alps not to be described as a crisis area, but as an area of necessary coexistence between nature and man and - nota bene - also as an area of joint commitment between the humanities and the natural sciences.
The ProMontes Prize, worth 3,000 Swiss francs, honours this young research as an important contribution to securing the future of the Alpine cultural landscape. The ProMontes Prize of the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, SSAF, was awarded last Saturday, 11 December 2021, on the occasion of the symposium "Future of the Alpine Cultural Landscape", in collaboration with the Forum Landscape, Alps, Parks of the Swiss Academy of Sciences, on the Day of the Mountains at the Alpine Museum of Switzerland in Bern.