Dear Santa, this year SYL wishes social commitment to a system-level change, to combating the climate and environmental crisis and taking global responsibility. That is the only way we can build a sustainable welfare state for future generations.
This year, the corona pandemic has stopped societies but not climate change. The effects of the climate crisis are already visible in the lives of the most vulnerable. The countries of the global north, which have produced a relatively larger share of the emissions, should take greater responsibility for combating the climate crisis. In those countries, sustainability and responsibility issues have all too often been neglected.
Public authorities must take primary responsibility for combating the climate and environmental crisis. They must actively seek and develop ways to align Finland’s emissions with the Paris Agreement and take a leading role in envisioning a carbon-neutral society for the future.
“A sustainable welfare state cannot be built without the necessary political decisions. The post-COVID-19 reconstruction must take account of the need for a fundamental change in society towards more sustainable production. We need global responsibility thinking and a circular economy, an end to the unsustainable way of consuming natural resources,” says President Tapio Hautamäki.
After the corona pandemic, the Finnish economy must also be rebuilt on a sustainable basis. In November, Sanna Marin’s government submitted a report to Finnish Parliament on Finland’s sustainable growth program, which combines economic recovery and environmentally sustainable measures. The program is a step in the right direction. In addition to this, we still need concrete political action to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
The reform of the Climate Change Act is also under way. “In the Climate Change Act, it is important to define clear criteria for carbon neutrality and precise milestones for achieving it. The primary goal must be emission reduction, and compensation must be the last resort,” states Hautamäki.
This year, for a Christmas present, we wish that combating the environmental and climate crisis become an integral part of the whole society and its activities and that public decision-makers commit themselves to curbing the rise in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Society’s tax and support systems must be changed so that they effectively steer us towards emission reductions and environmentally-friendly measures. The use of peat and other fossil fuels in energy production must be banned.
The National Union of University Students in Finland demands a system-level change to combat the climate crisis and taking global responsibility. Our unique planet and welfare state must be preserved for future generations.
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