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Climate Change Scares Helsinki Residents More Than Terrorism

Climate Change Scares Helsinki Residents More Than Terrorism
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Global warming is the number one fear when people in Helsinki evaluate threats. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

According to the latest safety survey conducted by the City of Helsinki, climate change is the greatest safety concern among Helsinki residents aged 15-79.

Climate change worries are followed by concerns related to the future of youths and children, an increase in income inequality and a rise in fake news.

The survey highlights that the safety situation in Helsinki has improved since 2015.

As per the statistics, 92 percent of people feel safe in general and 80.9 percent of people feel safe in their own neighborhood in Helsinki on weekend nights—up from 77.4 percent in 2015.

People also feel safer in public transport vehicles of Helsinki than they did in the previous studies.

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The interesting observation is that the residents seem to be worried more about global or city-wide issues than the concerns simply related to their own lives. For instance, worries concerning money insufficiency and loneliness are at the bottom of the list for Helsinki residents.

According to Vesa Keskinen, a researcher at the City of Helsinki´s Research and Statistics Unit, the main result of the survey is that the safety situation in Helsinki has got better since 2015. He adds, ”However, we are only at the beginning of analyzing the study results.”

Keskinen says that the latest safety survey also compared, for the first time, the safety situation of non-native residents between now and the previous studies. In the survey, non-natives are defined as the population group whose mother tongue is other than Finnish or Swedish.

When asked why climate change topped the list of worries for Helsinki residents, Keskinen says that the reasons vary.

READ:  10,000 People Demand Action Against Global Warming in Their March to Parliament Building

”Climate change has been accepted as a scientific fact by most people, and it is rarely questioned, at least in Finland,” he says. ”Especially young people are more worried about climate change as they feel like they are the most vulnerable,” he continues.

According to Keskinen, climate change and its impacts have received a lot of publicity in the media, such as the news of last year´s exceptionally hot Finnish summer and wildfires in the forests of Sweden.

Vesa adds that climate change was a big topic in the public debate in the autumn of 2018 when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was published. It apparently seems that the seriousness of the report has been reflected in the opinions of the Helsinki residents.

”There is also a concern among people that climate change will not be taken seriously by those in power, and that it will be all talk and no action.”

According to Keskinen, the major observations of the City of Helsinki´s safety survey are:

  • 92 percent of people feel safe in Helsinki in general.
  • 80.9 percent of people feel safe in their own neighborhood in Helsinki on weekend nights. (Up from 77.4 percent in 2015.)
  • 65 percent of people feel safe in the center of Helsinki on weekend nights. (This is also higher than last time: 58.5 percent in 2015.)
  • People also feel safer in the public transport vehicles of Helsinki than they did in the previous study.
  • Women still generally feel less safe than men in all three environments: own neighborhood; the center of Helsinki; public transport.
  • Non-native respondents generally feel less safe than the native population, but the non-native respondents’ feeling of safety has improved more between 2015 and 2018 than for the native population.

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