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Valérie: “We should start with the little things in our own lives first”


“Every morning, I see cars with only one person inside them. It does make me wonder. What would it mean for our world if more people travelled by bus? Climate issues are very close to my heart. Everyone should start with the little things in their own lives first. We need to produce less waste. People also need to stop washing t-shirts that they have only worn for a few hours. The pandemic affects my life a lot right now. I moved to cantonal school after it began. In-person teaching has continued for the most part, but it has been strange getting to know my new classmates while wearing a mask. We have hardly been able to hang out after school. I have also had fewer chances to mix with people in our village. Some of my friendships have suffered as a result. I hope they relax the restrictions soon.

I get information about politics from my parents, the radio, posters, and school. However, I don’t have much time to delve into the issues. I find it good that people are thinking of lowering the voting age. But 16-year-olds still lack the necessary life experience, in my opinion. The way we think now may change in a few years’ time. For example, I would find it hard to make an informed decision on banning burkas. I have never really noticed a woman wearing a burka in Switzerland. I don’t know enough to say anything on the matter. What I do know is that I enjoy going out and travelling, and have already experienced other cultures. Certain issues need to be seen from a wider perspective than just the narrow Swiss lens. Perhaps it would make sense for teenagers to have a say on issues that affect them directly.”

Interview by Eveline Rutz

Valérie Kissling

Born in 2006, living in Oberbüren, and a pupil at the cantonal school in Wil (canton of St Gallen). Valérie wants to do a high-school diploma in two languages: German and English. She is interested in climate issues, athletics, music, and sport.

The portraits of all 16 young people interviewed