writer: emma ranne
picture: emma ranne
a tiny guide on how to give the sea some more love
For me one of the most soothing things I can think of is being in the pressence of the sea. Nothing makes me feel as calm and free as going to the coast, to see what the waves are up to. Their mood varies from boldly wild to serenely still and it never looks quite the same, which is exactly what I adore about it.
Here in Finland we all know that our Baltic Sea is, well we could say sea sick. The beautifully calm blue has been declared to be one of the world’s most vulnerable and polluted waters, which is obviously pretty sad news. How did we end up in a situation like this, and is there anything we could do about it? How can we love our seas, in a way that they can feel too?
The Baltic Sea is pretty closed up and surrounded by nine (!) countries. That makes 85 million people, from whom some rely on a clean sea for their incomes and others, like me, simply value its nature as a surrounding that eases the mind. The sea water is so called brackish water, a mix of salty water from the North East Atlantic and sweet water from the rivers surrounding it. Because of this quality the Baltic Sea has a stunningly unique ecosystem, but on the down side it’s also the factor that makes it so very vulnerable.
The problems are caused by a list of things: over-fishing, pollution from human pressures causing eutrophication, and also the effects of climate change that become more evident year after year after year. It’s a small, relatively closed sea used in many ways by many parties and we all know what this means for the flora and fauna of these waters.
yeah, ok I GET IT... BUT WHAT CAN I DO?
It can feel quite overwhelming to start thinking about the size and realness of the problem. What can one person, or even just one nation do to help the sea out when 85 million people are more or less directly tangled in its issues?
You could donate some money to for example WWF, which as an organization is putting a lot of time and energy towards a cleaner Baltic Sea. Donating money however isn’t the only way to help. We’ve put together a list with a variety of concrete things you could do. Pick out the ways that fit your situation the best. Every bit and piece counts. Even if it’s just a little, if it’s done out of love and concern towards the waters it does matter.
Also these tips count for other waters too no matter where you are. Give love to the sea or ocean that's close to you.
1. EAT SEA FRIENDLier FOOD
Not consuming fish at all is of course the optimal way to go if you ask us, but if it’s a part of your diet be sure to only eat the kind that is not endangered.
Also consumption of meat affects the sea. The productions causes a great amount of manure, which is a major source of the nutrients that cause eutrophication. You can check the documentary ’’Cowspiracy’' on Netflix, it’ll tell you more about this.
2. TRY TO GO A LITTLE MORE ZERO WASTE
Try to minimize the amount of waste you create. A good start is to just start paying attention to it. When you’re aware of the amount, it’s quite likely that you become more mindful about it.
Reduce, reuse and recycle. Just do it, you know why. Garbage is choking the seas, and we have all seen pictures of sea birds and fish that are entangled in plastic bits and strings. Also when looked at the big picture and the oceans of the world, you’ve probably heard of the Great Pacific garbage patch. It’s a real thing and it's pretty bad.
By all means I really think you should wear sunscreen, but you could try to opt for sea safe brands. Researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in the waters worldwide. The ingredients in the sunscreens we use are killing algae, which is an important part of the ecosystems of the waters.
3. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Opt for eco-friendly and sulphate free labels, especially if you are to use the products when going to the coast and maybe dipping in for a swim.
If at your summer cottage (The most Scandinavian way of spending your summer days), never pour soap water directly into the waters.
4. SPREAD THE LOVE
- Remind the people around you that there’s still a lot of beautiful blue left that we can save. There’s a lot you can do on your own, but the more people the merrier and the better the situation will eventually get. When at sea be aware of its vulnerability. Never throw anything in the water, don’t leave waste at the beach and treat the sea and its habitants with respect.
5. Tell me MORE!
Watch: a Plastic Ocean, available on Netflix