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Hundreds of psychologists sign petition to fight climate change, citing youth mental health concerns

A climate petition was handed over to Finnish lawmakers involved in government formation talks on Monday morning.

Four of the signatories of a petition by hundreds of psychologists and psychology students demanding that the next government take action to combat climate change.
Greens MP Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto receives the petition from three of nearly 400 signatories demanding that the next government take action to combat climate change. Image: Terhi Toivonen/Yle

Nearly 400 psychologists and psychology students have handed a petition to lawmakers involved in government formation talks, demanding that they take measures to combat global climate change.

The petitioners voiced concern about the anxiety, depression and sense of hopelessness that the future implications of the climate crisis are causing among young people in Finland.

Psychologists also called on the country make efforts to stem average global temperature increases to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels in order to help protect the mental health of its younger generations.

The group characterised recent strikes and demonstrations by young people as constructive reactions to real concerns about their future.

The petition was handed over to the five parties involved in ongoing government formation talks at the House of the Estates in Helsinki. Greens MP Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto formally accepted the petition on Monday morning.

"If we do not take the crisis of climate change seriously, it will put considerable pressure on our young people and children who will be forced to bear the consequences of climate change in the future," Alanko-Kahiluoto said.

Government formation talks are expected to continue through the week. Head negotiator and chair of the Social Democrats, Antti Rinne, has said he wants the discussions to be completed by Friday.

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