Fighting climate change and poverty are the most important political missions.

We are facing one of the biggest tasks in the history of mankind. We need to stop climate change and adjust to the damage that has already been done. This has to be achieved in a fair and rightful manner.

We need to change the way we produce our energy and food. We need to change the way we perceive economic growth and how we distribute the fruits of well-being.

Change affects people differently, and often those in the weakest position also find themselves the least equipped to adapt. Stopping climate change demands a lot from all of us, but especially so from us politicians. It is up to politicians to make sure that the coming change is just and fair: making sustainable choices needs to be easy for people, and not beyond the means of those who are the least well-off.

Stopping climate change will be solved within the next decade. In the parliamentary election this spring people will choose the first members of the Finnish parliament for the new decade. Those MPs will decide on the measures that will be taken, and I want to be one of them. 2020 starts here.

Climate change

Climate change is the most pressing problem of mankind and one that affects us all. We are already late, but there is still hope: every tenth of a degree Celsius matters when we think of how the world will change during our lifetime. We have no time to wait.

Our entire society needs to change - not only to become emission free, but carbon negative. Thus carbon sink will be strong enough and more carbon dioxide will leave the atmosphere than will be emitted into it. Pollutive traffic and energy sources will have to be replaced with emission free and renewable choices. The carbon sink of forests and soil will have to be increased. We need a Finland free of carbon by the year 2030 - 15 years prior to the current goal.

Climate change and the work to prevent it reaches far and wide, and this will change our society in a profound manner. We have to change the way we produce food and create energy, the way we think about work and industry, as well as our way of distributing welfare. Many people are worried that fighting climate change can mean expenses that will prove too much in a situation where a family’s or and individual’s finances are already stretched thin. Politicians need to make sure that people find it easy and affordable to make choices that are climate friendly. The costs of preventing climate change need to be shared equally.

Consequences of climate change are already affecting the least well-off people, women and those at the most vulnerable situations. Fighting climate change is a global question of equality.


Poverty and inequality

Employment has without doubt improved in Finland in recent years, but this development has not reached everyone. On the contrary, people left outside work life, who are forced to struggle on low income are paying the price of government’s austerity policies. Some benefit cuts and weakenings have targeted especially those who find themselves in the most vulnerable positions. Today there are still 7000 homeless people in Finland.

We cannot think that the time to fix social problems comes after fixing the country’s economy, because in the meantime, we are losing people all the time. We are losing people who we could have been saved with a little effort. The success of economic and employment politics must include other values besides employment rate and financial growth. Good economic and
employment politics is sustainable socially as well as ecologically and does not dump the bill on those who are the least well-off.

Problems have to be tackled early on. Social exclusion can be prevented if we support children and young people. This calls for extensive mental care services, a subjective right to full-time early education. Children need to have access to leisure activities and hobbies as well as sufficient support through comprehensive education and further studies. Compulsory education needs to be prolonged. We need to aim at every young person completing a degree after comprehensive education. Social welfare has to be developed to resemble basic income, basic social security needs to be increased, and homelessness eradicated as soon as possible.

It is ok for eradicating poverty and homelessness to be costly, because that task is not only humane, it is a worthwhile effort that will pay for itself in time. The next government will have to make an ambitious and concrete programme to tackle inequality, one that is based on scientific information and research. The execution of the programme will have to be actively surveyed.


education

Education offers people a chance to be in charge of their own life and to realise their potential in the best possible way to benefit not only themselves but also the society they are part of. Education is one of the best ways to make sure that people are active citizens and that there is equality, in Finland as well as all over the world.

The current government have made cuts to education that need a lot of patching up to do. During the next parliamentary period we need a billion euros more for education. This money is most urgently needed in vocational education and to provide more contact teaching on different
educational levels. Research funding has to be targeted to funding long-term research, so researchers will be able to focus on their work instead of spending time and energy on bureaucracy.

Education brings stability to the changing employment market. We need flexible possibilities for people to further educate themselves, be it while employed or during unemployment. This will guarantee everyone a chance to not lose touch and keep up to date with the changing demands of worklife. For some, this will mean learning an entirely new profession, some will only need to update their skills. In order to achieve this we must have an extensive supply of education and new ways of supporting education. Education is also a way to meet the challenges posed by climate change as well as poverty.


Maria

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I am 33 years old, a PhD in social sciences (sociology) from Helsinki, and vice chair of the Greens of Finland. I have a Master’s degree in social sciences (social politics) and I work as a researcher at Y-Foundation. I was the chair of ViNO, the union of Green youth and students, during 2013-2014. I am also a member of the Helsinki city council, a member of the city board, a member of the Uusimaa regional council, as well as a member of Social Science Professionals. I
love to exercise and collect retro video games.