We need education to fight climate change

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SAMOK, the national organisation for students of universities of applied sciences in Finland, and SYL, the national union of university student in Finland, want to bring education, income and climate change into public discussion before the Finnish parliamentary election of April 2019. In a three-part series of blog posts, starting here, I’ll write about how these themes could affect Finnish politics during the upcoming electoral term 2019–2023.

First, it’s time to discuss climate change.

We’ve already noticed that summers are becoming hotter than before, while the Finnish winter weather has turned less predictable than ever. We know that the polar ice caps are melting, and in March, we received alarming news about Finnish animal species being driven to the brink of extinction by irresponsible human behaviour. At this point, there is no other option than to change our ways, both as individuals and as a nation.

Climate change is an intergenerational issue that can damage equality between different generations. What can we do now to ensure that current and future generations can enjoy an equal quality of life?

Better climate policy now!

To prevent the worst risks runaway climate change has in store for us, Finland has to match its words with actions and start carrying out a more ambitious climate policy.

The usual way to look at preventing climate change is to look at the negatives: it’s hard, expensive and all about prohibitions and giving things up. But how about we start seeing it as a possibility? Here, Finland has a change to make bold chances, to invest in new technologies, to create new jobs in the fields of renewables and circular economy, and to show the whole world an example of effectively preventing climate change on a national level.

Finland is a small nation, but in 2019, we have a great chance to affect global climate policy. From July to December, Finland holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The new parliament we’ll elect this April will have a fantastic opportunity to demand better climate policy within the EU.

Studies lead to climate solutions

Higher education and innovations are both of utmost importance when it comes to preventing climate change. Therefore, the upcoming electoral season is high time for launching a new key project where universities of applied sciences and universities can apply for funding for new projects and research. It’s clear that cutting funding from schools is no way to achieve any ambitious climate goals!

Cutting funding from schools is no way to achieve any ambitious climate goals!

Climate change is already a part of the curricula in Finnish primary, middle and high schools. The theme should also be included in the curricula of all Finnish vocational schools, universities of applied sciences and universities, no matter the field of study. The only way to truly prevent climate change is, after all, a society-wide collaboration across different areas of work and study.

It’s often said that ignorance is bliss. On the other hand, a better understanding of climate change, its causes and the ways of preventing it might help relieving anxiety caused by the issue and create hope. We’re standing in front of a huge challenge, but by investing in education, Finland can be a true global leader in the fight against climate change.

P.S. Student Union TUO supports the Ilmastoveivi2019 climate campaign that insists Finland must take a leading position in preventing climate change. Sign the petition!