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Monday's papers: Combating climate change, Pride week starts, and showers in store

Travellers are increasingly taking trains rather than planes to Europe in an effort to combat climate change.

Pride Helsinki 2018
Helsinki Pride Week starts on Monday. Image: Berislav Jurišić / Yle

Main daily Helsingin Sanomat (HS) reports Monday on the 20-percent increase in Interrail passes sold during the first two months of the year, as people increasingly seek out alternative travel modes in response to climate change. Interrail passes enable cross-European travel during a set period of time and are valid on most trains across the continent.

HS interviews Helsinki-based journalist Heidi Kalmari, who says she seriously started to consider sustainability issues many years ago while working with another writer on a book about ecological travel.

“Since then I have tried my best to avoid flying for leisure,” Kalmari tells the paper. “It seems as though many people just fly to European destinations for the weekend because it’s so cheap, for instance as a way to cheer oneself up after a hectic stretch of work. But it’s not very sustainable,” she adds.

On Monday Kalmari starts her summer holiday with an Interrail trip headed via Stockholm, Hamburg, and Rostock to Berlin with her husband and two children, aged 8 and 10.

According to HS, Kalmari is one of a growing number of people concerned about climate change who are using alternative forms of transport for travel. State-owned railways VR reports that Interrail pass sales grew 20 percent in January-February alone. This compares to about 6 percent growth for the same time period the previous year. Figures for March onward are not yet available, but it’s very likely that Interrail pass sales will increase in the run-up to summer, says HS.

VR’s Salla Ketola, vice president of sales and customer experience, tells HS that she estimates this year more than 7,000 Interrail Passes will be sold, which will break records of previous years. It is, however, still far from the Interrail heyday figures -- in 1986, 20,000 Interrail passes for European trips were sold in Finland.

HS also goes onto compare the cost, time and CO2 emissions of different of trips such as Helsinki to Berlin. By flying, the trip takes about a little more than two hours and costs 52 euros whereas by boat and train the journey takes just over 32 hours and costs 311 euros.

Carbon emissions per person for the Helsinki-Berlin flight are 118.6 while for the same trip they are 70.2 by boat and 29.5 by train.

Celebrating diversity

Some Helsinki taxis will be wrapped in multi-coloured tape to mark Helsinki Pride week, which begins on Monday writes tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. This theme of this year’s pride festival is 'ääni,' (voice in English), which aims to highlight minority rights and attempts to provide a forum for those many voices that are often left unheard.

One of the week's events includes a panel discussion organised by THL, the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, that will examine whether minority voices are heard in research and surveys compiled by statisticians, writes the tabloid.

Last year Helsinki Pride drew more than 100,000 people to the annual festival and parade. This year's parade will be held on Saturday. Many other cities and communities are also holding Pride events across the country.

Stormy weather in store

Tabloid Iltalehti warns readers that heavy rain showers are in store for all of Finland on Wednesday. According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, warm weather will prevail on Monday and Tuesday with highs of +20 Celsius in southern Finland, but cooler weather and heavy rain showers are coming Wednesday and Thursday.

"Towards the end of the week the weather especially in the North will cool down," the institute's meteorologist Jari Tuovinen tells Iltalehti.

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