The Foreign Scholars Forum, a forum for foreign scholars of all disciplines living and working in Finland, convened a Zoom panel discussion June 5th to which members of all the main political parties and groups were invited. The keynote topics for the event were immigration and climate change.
Next to the debate, a fascinating and thought-provoking documentary on climate change was aired, giving the participants a deeper view of the issue. How do different views on dealing with the environmental crisis contribute to it directly and indirectly, and why is it important to change course.
Attending were municipal candidates Matti Mäkelä of the Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance), Espoo, and Enrique Tessieri, Social Democrats, Mikkeli.
Also present were three Helsinki councilors running for re-election: Ted Apter, Kokoomus (National Coalition Party), Simon Granroth, Swedish Party (RKP), and Mika Ebling of the Christian Democratic Party.
Anu Harkki, Helsinki Greens, was unable to attend but consented to an interview beforehand.
The Perussuomalaiset (The Finns Party) failed to show up, and the Center Party’s candidate also never materialized.
Regarding the question of immigrants providing a solution to labor shortages in many parts of the country, Ebling said he felt this situation had been worsened by liberal abortion laws, which meant 600 000 births had been aborted, greatly impacting the country’s demographics.
He was also skeptical about the need for the extensive measures which were being taken to address climate change and felt the Earth had extensive adaptive capacity.
Both Granroth and Apter took exception to the second point and said an extensive scientific consensus confirmed the reality of the climate crises. Mäkelä was particularly emphatic about the seriousness of the climate issue.
Anu Harkki stated in her interview that the climate crisis was such a pervasive global event that Finland could not hope to close its borders from environmental refugees. She stressed the need for effective settlement programs to allow newcomers to integrate. She took exception with housing for newcomers in green spaces in Helsinki, although some Greens favored it.(more…)