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Malin: “Missing a few hours of classroom time is a trifling matter in view of the climate crisis we face”


“Every Saturday, I ride with my parents and younger sister by bike from Bellach to Solothurn, where we drink coffee and go shopping. This weekly family outing is an important part of my life and a relaxing way to start the weekend. I have not gone out with my friends yet. I turned 16 during the lockdown, and there has been no partying since. However, I would like to experience hanging out with friends, drinking, and meeting new people.

I go to orienteering practice once a week. My parents introduced me to it almost as soon as I could walk. I like orienteering because every course is different. It is a sport that always challenges you. In summer, I take part in competitions nearly every weekend. I have no desire to turn professional, so I don’t mind whether I come first or last – I just want to be satisfied with my performance.

My sport takes places in forests, so environmental protection is close to my heart. It would be heartbreaking if future generations were no longer able to live on this planet because we were the ones who destroyed it. This is why I choose to travel to school on my bike. The journey takes 20 minutes. I also ration my meat consumption and have decided to boycott products containing palm oil – because people are clearing rainforests for oil palm plantations, and this produces a lot of carbon emissions. This is the decision that I have taken – and I stick to it. I will refuse to eat a biscuit that my parents have bought if it contains palm oil. Although my parents are now also looking closely at the ingredients of each product.

I would like to take part in a climate strike. I have not done so yet, because I didn’t want to risk being absent from school. However, I now think that missing a few hours of classroom time is a trifling matter in view of the climate crisis we face. I want to be more politically active in future, to make it clear to politicians that they need to act. Because I don’t believe people will choose to travel by car or plane less often of their own accord. What we need are actual laws. If I could vote on this, I would do so immediately.”

Interview by Flavia von Gunten

Malin Lüthi

Born in 2004, living in Bellach on the southern foot of the Jura mountains, and a pupil at the cantonal school in Solothurn. Malin’s main subject is Spanish, because she likes learning languages.

The portraits of all 16 young people interviewed