An estimated three thousand people marched through the streets of Helsinki today, most of them school students who took the day off classes to demand more action against climate change.
Students also marched in other Finnish cities, part of a global protest movement in 112 countries sparked by 16-year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg who started the #FridaysForFuture movement last August. Thunberg was this week nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by three Norwegian politicians.
Finland’s largest event in Helsinki saw marchers rally at Senates Square, before moving to Parliament, many of them carrying home-made signs to highlight the dangers of climate change, and urging politicians to do more.
“I’m afraid for the future. And I’m also very proud of these students who come here” said one of the young people who attended the rally today.
“I think it’s the single biggest threat that has ever faced this planet and humans. We have to change our politics right now. We have to stop using fossil fuels right now. We have to start eating differently. We have to change our consuming habits right now. People have to understand that you just have to manage with less and also we have to put our faith in science” says the former student, who graduated high school at the end of last year.
“I think we’re such a privileged country in Finland, we have the option to do [something], and the option to show other countries, so I think that’s our strength. There are a lot of things we do well, but a lot of things we can do better” said another protester.
Helsinki school district had given blanket permission for students to be absent from class today to attend the event.