This profile was prepared when Peter Hartmann was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
In 1984, while working on a development plan for Aysen, a small city and neighboring region in southern Chile, Peter Hartmann coined the phrase "Aysen, Reserva de Vida" ("Aysen, Life Reserve") to evoke the image of a healthy, vital community. Aysen's mayor liked the phrase so much that it was officially adopted by the city government, emblazoned on a large sign at the city's entryway, and prominently featured in promotional materials used to attract tourism and business to the region. Other communities, with governments of varying political perspectives, have been similarly drawn to the "Life Reserve" slogan and have begun to use in their own promotional campaigns.Peter is now engaged in a bold effort to give meaningful, substantive content to the increasingly recognized "Life Reserve" label and to use it as a vehicle for stimulating citizen engagement in decision-making processes with important environmental implications, and pressuring regional and local authorities to take appropriate actions to incorporate the essential elements of the concept in development plans and relevant laws and ordinances. He is focusing current citizen efforts on the Aysen region, but he plans to extend the process to other parts of Chile and to Argentina as well. He also plans to develop an accreditation procedure or certification process that would confine the use of the "Life Reserve" designation to communities that meet a well-defined and demanding set of standards.