Sunday July 14, 2024

Climate change worries young women most

Published : 23 Nov 2023, 01:19

  DF Report
File Photo: EK.

Concerns about climate change are common, especially among young women, according to a survey conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

THL’s Healthy Finland Survey, which was carried out in autumn 2022 and spring 2023 showed that 46% of women aged 20-39 are very or extremely concerned about climate change, said THL in a press release on Wednesday.

The research subjects were between the ages of 20 and 74.

Many adults are also prepared to act to mitigate climate change, with measures such as saving energy, eating a plant-based diet and buying less goods.

Of all the people who responded to the survey, 38% of women and 26% of men reported that they were very or extremely concerned about climate change. Only 7% of respondents were not at all concerned about climate change.

Concern is most common among women with a high level of education, of whom half are concerned about climate change.

"Climate concern can also affect mental health and young people's future prospects. However, more research is needed on this. There should be more extensive societal discussion on climate concern and the means to address this," said Research Professor Timo Partonen.

Many respondents said that they make choices in everyday life that promote climate change mitigation. Climate action was reported across age and gender boundaries.

About 70% said they were making an effort to combat climate change by reducing the purchase of goods and saving energy. In addition, 34% had cut down on driving or purchased a car that consumed less fossil fuel.

"Everyone can reduce their carbon footprint by making sustainable choices in everyday life. Take steps to mitigate climate change can also help reduce concern and help maintain hope. For this reason, it is also important to ensure the possibility of sustainable choices for those with a low socio-economic status," said Chief Physician Mikaela Grotenfelt-Enegren.

About 46% of women and 31% of men had changed their diet so it was more plant-based in order to combat climate change.

"Even small changes in everyday life are important if a large part of the population takes part. For example, when making a macaroni casserole, you can replace some of the meat with a vegetable protein source," said Senior Researcher Laura Sares-Jäske.

Some people feel uncertain about what foods are environmentally friendly. This may make it more difficult to make changes in one’s diet, even if a person wants to make changes. The survey found that around 23 per cent feel uncertain about this matter. There is still a need for clear information on the topic.

An environmentally friendly diet can be put together in many ways, emphasising one's own preferences. Plant products such as whole grain cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits and berries, root vegetables, as well as sustainably caught and farmed fish are sound choices with regard to health and the environment.

"It is good that our society understands the need for climate change mitigation and lifestyle changes that promote sustainability. It is also important that the Government Programme commits to the objectives for reducing emissions laid down in the Climate Act. This helps maintain hope in our society," Grotenfelt-Enegren added.

A total of 61,000 randomly selected persons aged 20 and over from different parts of Finland were invited to the questionnaire section of the survey. The 14,000 people aged 20-74 invited to take part in the survey were asked about sustainability. Of them, 5,580 (40%) responded to the questions.