Thursday, August 04, 2011

Simply – The Baltic Sea, yours and mine

Finally, my summer holidays have started! The whole four weeks! One of them with my family we will spend at the beaches of the Curonian Bay in my motherland Lithuania.

- “Mum, why sea water is salt? Why it is raising in waives? Look, what we have found!” These questions wake me up and I lift my head with the sandy cheeks and forehead. My little girls, which enjoy being at the beach, playing with the sand and built castles of it, to jump over the waves, have found round and very smooth stones. Do you know how big adventure for them and my husband is going to look for the amber, so called gold of the sea?

As far as I am able to recall or then the pictures from my childhood remind me, that I have used to do exact the same things by the sea as my girls now. Each summer me, my brother and my parents spent summer vacations at the beaches of the Baltic Sea. Oh, how far away all worries were about the condition of the Baltic Sea at this time. All the matters were just golden sand, blue water and sunshine.

Even then, when I started my studies of applied ecology in my university, students didn’t get concrete enough information about how poor state of the Baltic Sea is. I have to make a confection to you, even if it is shame on me, but just after moving to Finland and starting to work according to my education in the project called PURE, I have realized or find out, how bad the situation is with our sea. I am sure that nowadays young people from Lithuania are better educated on this case. Alright, I could blame the time of collapsed Soviet Union (a few years after that I have started my studies), as at that time educational system was still messy. Or I could blame the fact that environmental protection was too week at that time in Lithuania and just started arise, that teachers did not have expertise in ecology, because it was so fresh trend, which came from Europe Union. But what does blaming help, definitely not making the sea water cleaner.

Anyway, I have never regretted the choice of my profession. I have always cared about the nature; I am more than glad for opportunity to learn about the state of the Baltic Sea through my work at the Union of the Baltic Cities. As there is saying: Better later then never.

However, if you would like to hear my opinion - I am missing more real actions towards cleaner Baltic Sea. Many good organizations are established all around the Baltic Sea Region, which care concern about the sea and its well being. Enormous amount of good projects are going for the better condition of the sea, no doubts. I won’t argue that after huge effort, which the states around the Baltic Sea have put, trying to reduce already made damage to the sea, the situation is better now.

By saying real actions, I mean not too political, not too complicated, just some rubber boots and some buckets and some nets to collect alga from the sea. Of course, it may sound naive and I have no better remedies for our ill sea, not yet. Or then, I could suggest for all people, living around the Baltic Sea, to stop for at least one day this crazy materialism, this endless consumption of everything and everywhere, stop marine traffic for a day and fishing. Just give for the sea the day off, the rest day…

- “Mum, let’s go to swim!” – I hear again and I am running after my kids to swim. And I am going to enjoy swimming in the sea, laying at the beach and searching for the amber as long as it possible. And put efforts that it would be possible.

Zivile Karvonen

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