I am a 27-year old Master of Laws, Executive Director of Baltic Area Legal Studies and a city council member in Turku. In my studies, I focused on environmental law, criminal law and EU law. I wrote my LL.M. thesis on environmental criminal law at the University of Turku. Previously, I have also studied at the Åbo Akademi University and the Zanzibar University. I serve as the chair of the City of Turku Building Board, as a member of the Revision Board and as the singer-drummer of a couple of bands.
I am involved in politics because I want to do my part in trying to save the world. The world only changes when it is changed: I want to influence things, since I cannot really just ignore them.
Saara’s platform for Parliament elections 2015: Sustainable solutions
Finland must take a sustainable road to create new well-being. We need to make clean environment our trump card, generate well-being by preventing problems in advance and involve everyone in decision-making.
1 Clean environment as our trump card
– Clean environment, beautiful nature and climate-friendly technology are our country’s strengths. Let’s make Finland emission-free by the year 2050. Subsidies should be targeted at emissionless and environmentally sound solutions.
– Let’s enhance the protection of nature. We need to stop biodiversity from declining and hang on to environmental protection goals that have already been agreed on.
– Let’s make ecotourism and the peace and beauty of nature a key attraction of Finland.
– Let’s create more jobs through green technology. We need to invest in energy-efficient and ecological solutions.
– Let’s establish animal welfare as the starting point for all decisions involving animals. We need to put an end to fur farming, enhance the protection of endangered species, significantly improve the treatment of production animals and prevent the mistreatment of pets.
– Let’s heal the Baltic Sea by reducing pollution and actively contributing to international co-operation.
– Let’s advance bicycling, rail traffic, public transport and vehicle pooling. We need to make a one-hour train trip from Turku to Helsinki possible and make the use of railways more cost-effective by opening them to competition.
– Let’s adopt a long-term and sustainable vision in planning and zoning urban areas. We need to build comfortable neighbourhoods.
– Let’s switch to using and producing renewable energy. We need to improve energy efficiency, decrease energy consumption and produce more energy using wind, solar and renewable biopower.
– Let’s prevent environmental crimes through effective control and by keeping people informed on developments in environmental law.
2 Well-being by preventing problems
– Preventing problems in advance both saves money and is an investment for the future. We need to increase preventive, easily accessible services, such as mental health services for young people, as well as school and healthcare resources.
– Let’s guarantee proper healthcare for all students. We need to provide an equally good healthcare for everyone, regardless of age, job or educational background.
– Let’s make sure that everyone can have free-of-charge education and sufficient student aid to cover living expenses.
– Let’s prevent social exclusion by taking action to increase jobs for young people and to implement the youth guarantee scheme. A young person completely without work experience easily falls victim to long-term unemployment.
– Let’s invest in high-quality education and student well-being in schools. We need to stop saving money from schools and children.
– Let’s decrease poverty through efficient public services, more equal division of labour and sufficient income.
– Let’s make sure that you always gain something by working. We need to adopt the system of basic income, which will simplify social security. A key goal of basic income is to improve the position of self-employed people as well as non-regular workers, and to remove uncertainties from working life.
– Let’s move towards a stimulating economic policy. We need to create jobs by investing in areas like rails, energy efficiency, cleantech, IT and services. Grey economy, tax avoidance and the use of tax havens must be reduced.
– Let’s treat everyone equally, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Equal marriage laws must be enacted without a delay. We need to improve women’s position in working life and men’s position at home: pay differences between men and women must be reduced, the costs of parental leaves must be split between all employers, and parental leaves must more evenly divided between fathers and mothers.
– Let’s bear our global responsibility through humane immigration policy, increased development aid and advancing peace in foreign policy.
3 Involve everyone in decision-making
– We should decide together on common matters. The more people participate in decision-making, the better are the decisions and the happier and more satisfied are the people.
– Let’s provide people with direct opportunities to influence issues through citizens’ initiatives, referendums and combinations of the two.
– Let’s develop the citizens’ initiative towards a more binding form in which a binding referendum could be arranged on the contents of the initiative.
– Let’s fight social exclusion by involving people more in decision-making. Everyone must be able to feel that they can influence matters and are part of the society.
– Let’s increase open and participatory democracy through participatory budgeting, citizens’ panels and hearings.
– Let’s make sure that people can take part all the way from the preparatory stage. We need to increase the use of citizens’ forums and electronic commenting opportunities, giving everyone access to public information.
– Let’s ensure close-range democracy in large municipalities through a two-level model: The upper level decides on issues such as taxation, zoning principles, healthcare and public transport, while the lower level (for example, neighbourhood-specific councils and boards) decides on close-range zoning and services.
– Openness must be at the heart of all decision-making. The meetings of parliamentary committees and municipal boards must be made public, sufficiently low budget ceilings must be set for electoral campaigns, and information on lobbying and politicians’ links to various interest groups must be made available.
– Let’s give young people a chance to decide. We need to lower the voting age to fifteen, hear young people more and give real decision-making power to youth councils.
– Let’s divide power. We need to prevent the centralisation of power by requiring elected officials to give up a lower position of trust when they receive a higher one. Elected officials should not have cross-links.