Scientists support student school strike over climate change

1228 academics including professors and top scientists have pledged their support to Finnish students.

File picture of climate change protesters outside Finland's parliament, February 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

More than 1200 members of Finnish the scientific community have pledged their support to the student strike movement aiming to raise awareness of climate change.

This Friday, a large demonstration is being organised by high school students, who will march from Helsinki’s Central Railway Station to Parliament, to demand the MPs inside take more action.

In total, 1228 members of Finland’s academic community including 141 professors and top scientists have signed a pledge of support for the striking students, as they take time off classroom studies to attend the protests.

The students say that Finland’s climate change targets are unambitious, and have been staging smaller protests outside Parliament since August 2018. This Friday however, a bigger protest is planned.

“We, the undersigned members of the academic community, want to show our support for students who are striving for climate change and for all those who stand for the future of our planet” says the letter of support.

“In particular, young people have the right to be angry about the future we are leaving for them, if there is no urgent change in proportion to the magnitude of the threat. We encourage children to make their voices heard” it continues.

The plea has been inspired by the support letter from UK academics to climate striking students which was published in The Guardian newspaper in February.

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Inspiring students: Fridays with Greta

The climate change protests have been held each Friday in cities like Oulu, Tampere and Helsinki with students leaving the classroom and going to City Hall or Parliament.

The ‘Fridays With Greta’ campaign – which is Perjantait Gretan kanssa in Finnish – is inspired by 16-year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg who decided at the end of last summer to sit down in front of the parliament in Stockholm, instead of going to school, to press the Swedish government to put the country’s carbon emission goals in line with the Paris Agreement.

Since her first Stockholm protest, Greta Thunberg has become a prominent role model, inspiring thousands of students and adults across the world to support her campaign.

“The idea of this protest is that we have to act now. We want politicians to understand how critical the situation is. There is a lot of talk about climate change being a serious issue but it is not visible in concrete actions. We are pushing decision makers to take the action” says 15-year old Atte Ahokas, one of the organisers of the Finnish climate change protests.