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.