Fauna as environmental heritage of the Baltic Sea

Welcome to the new school year everyone. We continue to feature entries from the SeaHer Photo Competition. Enjoy!

One of the most important elements of the ecological heritage of the Baltic Sea is its fauna. Over the years, the number of seabirds on the coast has been decreasing, but steadily increasing in cities that are further from the sea. The fact is that now it is much easier for them to find food in numerous garbage containers than to work hard and catch fish in the sea. The constantly increasing amount of garbage produced by all of us can change and is already significantly changing the ecology of entire regions. And there are not enough efforts of states in the field of waste processing. All of us should feel responsible from the moment of purchasing the goods to sending them to the container. After all, carelessly leaving garbage, even for a couple of hours while waiting for transportation, can attract wild animals and birds from their natural habitat to places of waste accumulation as to an open counter with food. Subsequently, all this can be the reason that our beloved sea will become dead and lifeless, like some sandy deserts. The Baltic is much more than just a beautiful view and a nice beach – it is also home to millions of living creatures that depend on you and me.

Hope for a cleaner future for the Baltic Sea-Saara Ilvessalo

Welcome back to work and school for those who are back! We continue to feature submissions from the photo competition. Today we feature a submission full of hope for the Baltic Sea from Saara Ilvessalo, whom many will recognise as a passionate advocate for the Baltic Sea. Saara is the Coordinator for Baltic Area Legal Studies BALEX, University Teacher in Law at Åbo Akademi University and a member of Turku City Council.  Enjoy!

The triumphant return of the Eagles

My family has a summer cottage in the archipelago of Southwestern Finland. I have spent a lot of time there, both in my childhood and as an adult, and the Baltic Sea has a special place in my heart. I remember laying on the quay and looking down through the clean water to the bottom of the sea when I was young. Now, because of local projects affecting the sea, I only see mud and algae. However, it is comforting to know that the emissions to the Baltic Sea have halved from the worst years, although it still is not enough. It always feels like a wake-up call to see the changes at the cottage island compared to the times I was a child.

For me, the Baltic Sea is something that gives me inner peace and well-being. The archipelago is the place for me to unwind, forget hurry worries and connect with nature. I couldn’t imagine living somewhere with no shores. The Baltic Sea is a re-source for human beings, both concretely and mentally, and also something we must protect. I am an optimist when it comes to the protection of the Baltic Sea. Humans have polluted it, so it is also possible for humans to clean it – but the time is running out.

The victories of history give hope. In 1975, four sea eagle nestlings hatched in Finland. After the ban on environmental toxins, the population began to grow. In 2019, 558 eagles hatched. Four eagles were flying in my background as this picture was taken, and it was another kind of a wake-up call to realize that times have changed for the better for sea eagles. That gave me hope about a cleaner future for the Baltic Sea and us humans who find it dear, too.

The Many sides of the Baltic Sea-from Nagu Finland

We continue our feature of submissions from the SeaHer photo competition. Today we feature the voice of someone who is not native to the area, but feels at home with the Baltic Sea. Here we see the Baltic Sea as inviting newcomers to experience its many sides as they experience a life that is perhaps different to what they are most familiar with. Enjoy!

The Baltic Sea as seen from the beach at Nagu, Finland

I have been in various countries in Europe, Asia and even Africa. I saw different sea lands around the world, but I never thought I would go up to the extreme north and live near to the Baltic Sea, which was completely unknown to me before I moved to Turku more than two years ago. To be honest, I did not expect it to be that special and charming. I thought it is just a freezing sea where Nordic people do fishing in summer with no life in other seasons.

A day after day I realized it is full of life, not only because it is a source of many activities, but because it is a big source for environmental research and economic development in the Nordic region more than I ever thought. I believe working on the environmental research related to this sea is very essential and prestigious, especially in this part of the world, which always puts the environment first and do what it takes to reduce the wastes and pollution.

Group trips along the Baltic Sea with family and friends are also something I enjoyed a lot in the past 2 years. I also had some cruise trips along this Sea. Going up the ship and watching the view from the top in sunny days was a great experience that I want to repeat many times. I cannot wait to see more views of this sea as I only saw it from the Finnish, Danish, Germen and Swedish sides. I hope to visit Latvia, Lithuania and Poland soon and see it from there as it honestly looks different from each side. I still do not know the reason of this but maybe that is what makes it special. We all need to do our best to protect it from the effects of environmental and climate changes and one thing we can do is to gain more knowledge about it.