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According to the Futures Barometer survey commissioned by Sitra, Finns remain hopeful about the future, even amidst crises. The survey conducted in November 2022, with 2,150 participants between the ages of 15 and 84, found that 87% of Finns are still interested in the future, despite the crises they are currently experiencing. This includes Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, inflation, the energy crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey found that 80% of Finns believe that it is possible to influence the future.

The survey also revealed that young people in particular have a strong belief in the future, with 91% of them expressing interest in it.

However, the proportion of respondents who are enthusiastic about the future has decreased, with one in five respondents stating that they are looking forward to the future and seeing a lot of opportunities in it, compared to one in four respondents two years ago. Additionally, the number of respondents who are fearful of the future has slightly increased, now at 15% compared to 13% two years ago. Young people aged between 15 and 24 are the most enthusiastic about the future, with 34% of them saying that they are looking forward to the future.

The study found that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had a stronger impact on Finns' views of the future than Covid-19. Of the respondents, 36% considered the war to have affected their views very much or a lot, and 43% to some extent. The war has affected women's views more than those of men, and among different age groups, people aged 65 and over were impacted the most.

When asked about their wishes for the future, the number one response was to preserve the welfare state, followed by balancing public finances and curbing debt, maintaining a high level of national security, and improving the well-being of children and young people. The Futures Barometer found that the same themes will influence Finns' voting decisions in the upcoming spring elections. However, environmental goals such as curbing climate warming and stopping the loss of biodiversity have become less important when it comes to Finns' hopes for the future.

The Futures Barometer also asked respondents about the megatrends affecting the future, such as the erosion of nature's carrying capacity, growing well-being challenges, the intensifying battle for democracy, escalating competition for digital power, and cracking economic foundations. More than half of the respondents (56%) felt that the megatrend on the erosion of nature's carrying capacity matches their own views. However, respondents were divided according to party affiliation and age.

Sanna Rekola, a Foresight specialist at Sitra, emphasized that policy-makers need to take a strategic approach that transcends government terms. She added that it is important for parties and candidates to tell Finns what kind of future they want for Finland during the election debates. She stressed that the ecological sustainability crisis should not be ignored and that developments described by the megatrends cannot be postponed.

In conclusion, the Futures Barometer survey showed that Finns remain hopeful about the future despite the crises they are facing. They are interested in the future and believe it is possible to influence it. The study also showed that young people have a strong belief in the future. However, the survey found that the proportion of respondents who are enthusiastic about the future has decreased, and environmental goals have become less important. The study also emphasized the need for policy-makers to take a strategic approach and not ignore the ecological sustainability crisis.

HT

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