B A L T I C S T O R I E S E u r o p e a n
U n i o n
S t r a t e g y
f o r
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ISSUE 2 SPRING-SUMMER 2021 Rele a s e d in June 2021 Balt i c S t o r ies Magaz ine is devoted to pr o m o t i n g c o o p e r a t i o n arou n d t h e Baltic Sea, joint initiatives a n d p r o j e c t s of t h e E u ropean Union Strategy for the B a l t i c S e a R e g i o n ( E U S B S R )
B a l t i c
S e a
R e g i o n
Leading the sea change EUSBSR success stories on climate protection
Saving the Baltic Sea: we’re in this together
TABLE OF CONTENTS saving the sea / connecting the region / increasing prosperity
“Leading the sea change” EUSBSR success stories on climate protection
"Warriors for a better future" youth say on climate change
Saving the Baltic Sea: we're in this together
A quote at the end
Spring/Summer 2021 Baltic Stories / EUSBSR Editorial Team Małgorzata Matkowska and Rafał Rolka - editors, Marta Czarnecka-Gallas (title and format idea) - "Pomorskie in the European Union"' Association www.pomorskieregion.eu I partner of "Let's Communicate!" Project
Photographs and graphics (pages): Cover and page 3 Baltic waves © Konstantin Romanov Fotofjodor (Latvia) Page 4: © Jupiterimages, Photoimages / Canva Page 5, 6, 8, 9: © CASCADE project Page 7: © Maria Nykyri Page 10: © CASCADE project Page 11: Personal archives of Kaspars Vārpiņs Page 12 and 13: © Fredrik Sederholm Page 14 and 15: © ConnectedByBiobord project Page 16: © EdnaM / GettyImages / Canva Page 17: © Dr. Nico Stelljes / Ecologic Institute Page 18 and 19: © Pan Baltic Scope project
Page 20: Global Climate Strike 9th September 2019 © Markus Spiske temporausch.com / Pexels / Canva Page 21: Top © Antonina Jagiełło, Bottom © Mateusz Zieliński Page 22: Top © Andreas Scoop, Bottom © Mikhail Mikhaylovskiy Page 24: © halfpoint / Canva Page 25: © Antonina Jagiełło Page 26: © Hailshadow, Getty Images Signature/Canva Page 27: Background © waldenstroem, Getty Images/Canva, Bottom © Aleksey Stemmer, Getty Images / Canva Page 28: © Tomas Griger / Canva
Cover photo: Baltic waves by Konstantin Romanov Fotofjodor (Latvia) Silhouette of a man is facing storm standing on water breaker with waves and water splashes on Baltic Sea while sunset
Latvia, as well as the other two Baltic States - Lithuania and Estonia, is highly vulnerable to coastal erosion and flooding caused by sea storms. These phenomena as well as other extreme events and processes will increase through climate change and affect other countries around the Baltic Sea as well. Climate change is a fact. To face this global challenge we need to act now and together. That is the reason why in the revised Action Plan of the EUSBSR the climate change aspects, along with cooperation with neighbouring non-EU countries, are mainstreamed as essential elements into all 14 policy areas. The second issue of the Baltic Stories Magazine, that you are reading, is entirely dedicated to people from all around the Baltic Sea who propose concrete solutions and inspire actions to raise awareness on climate change and engage communities. From various-scale-project partners to involved young adults, the inhabitants of the Baltic Sea Region are full of ideas and ready to take action in order to make our Region a safer and better place to live and work.
Have an inspiring reading!
THE SEA CHANGE EUSBSR SUCCESS STORIES ON CLIMATE PROTECTION
This spring we have launched a call for success stories in the field of mitigation, adaptation and resilience to the climate change and its consequences for the Baltic Sea Region. The projects you are to read about depict what can be achieved through macroregional cooperation and how the EUSBSR is implemented. The term sea change, originated in The Tempest by William Shakespeare, denotes a profound or notable transformation. A sea change is needed to address the threats posed by the climate change.
INTRODUCING THE CASCADE PROJECT Different actors from different sectors, levels, and countries – civil protection experts, climate change experts, researchers and policy makers worked together to find solutions to climate change related risks.
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While climate change and its effects are becoming common knowledge, cities and communities are still neither fully aware of, nor prepared for, the many climate change related risks that can have harmful impacts on their environment, their citizens, and their infrastructure. Such risks exist all over the world, and in the Baltic Sea Region they often take the shape of floods, storms, and heatwaves. In order to deal with these issues, close collaboration between national and local levels, as well as different sectors in society is crucial. CASCADE - Community Safety Action for Supporting Adaptation and Development project was developed to
to understand, assess, and treat current and future climate change related risks on the local level, focusing on the particular conditions in the Baltic Sea Region. In other words, the project's aim is to increase the practical risk management capabilities of local authorities
to improve their resilience and adaptation capability. In addition, the project promotes the UN Sendai framework for
BY CASCADE PROJECT
in the field.
BY CASCADE PROJECT
“People working with climate change coming from different sectors have the same goal, but the name of the problem can be different. When these people find each other and start working together towards solving the problem(s), they have much more powerful message to decision makers on international, national, and local level.” Miikka Toivonen PHOTO BY MARIA NYKYRI
Planning officer, Southwest Finland Emergency Services Project coordinator, CASCADE
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CASCADE used a unique strategy based
the project addressed the challenges related bringing
adaptation experts from national and local levels in order to combine knowledge
representing different sectors and institutional levels in the Baltic Sea Region were involved in the project. BY CASCADE PROJECT
BY CASCADE PROJECT
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RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS With the end of the CASCADE project, the Toolbox for Climate Risk Preparedness was launched. It can be used to help prepare towns, cities, and municipalities for various climate-related threats. The toolbox consists of simple, easy-to-use checklists, templates, and useful examples that will provide the users with the ability to assess climate change-related risks and threats, train personnel to increase their capacity and preparedness, and learn from case studies and recommendations. www.cascade-bsr.eu/toolbox
BY CASCADE PROJECT
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BY CASCADE PROJECT
The CASCADE Toolbox for Climate Risk Preparedness is divided into four main categories. RISK ASSESSMENT TOOLS The Portfolio of risk assessment tools collects existing and widely used risk assessment methods and tools. They were reviewed concerning their potential to be adapted, developed and used in the context of climate change, and the present and future influence on the up-to-now well recognized threats’ and risks’ characteristics.
RISK ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES The Guideline for integrated climate change and risk reduction management is to be used by risk assessors and officers, local authorities responsible for societal welfare and other actors, such as critical infrastructure owners. The main goal of the guidelines is to show the entire process of risk assessment and risk management at the local level, particularly in cities. The Guideline for integrated climate change and risk reduction management document is accompanied by the Overview of climate risk drivers, hazards and consequences - a useful reference for understanding the links between potential drivers, hazards, and their potential impacts and by the Overcoming barriers to climate adaptation - providing information on typical barriers that local authorities face in moving forward on climate adaptation and how to overcome the identified obstacles.
CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING MATERIALS CASCADE developed a training course designed to increase the knowledge and capacity of civil protection experts and city planners in integrated climate change and disaster risk reduction and the Sendai Framework. The Curriculum for the Trainers developed can be easily customized to local needs.
POLICY DEVELOPMENT This section of the toolbox consists of supporting materials addressing challenges, sharing examples of good practices from the BSR, and providing recommendations. The material was produced through a policy dialogue between various stakeholders from different levels and sectors about challenges and potential solutions in policy making. The purpose is to fulfill the need of mainstreaming climate risk assessment into management and policy planning on the national and local level, and to ensure coherence of relevant policies.
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HOW TO MAKE CITIES MORE CLIMATE RESILIENT? The CASCADE project final conference organized on Tuesday, 8 June 2021, brought forward the project results and recommendations, including the launch of the Climate Risk Preparedness Toolbox and discussed the future of climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and resilience. A keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Andrew Bower, from UN DRR Regional office for Europe and Central Asia. The keynote speech discussed how to build local disaster risk resilience and the regional implementation of the Sendai Framework and how the work in the CASCADE project supports these efforts. Full summary, speaker presentations and recording of the event are available on www.cascade-bsr.eu.
The work with disaster risks is a teamwork, but the work done in the CASCADE project will help us to be better prepared for any disaster risks and to inform further our city officials regarding the new risk assessment methodologies keeping in mind the climate change challenges. Kaspars Varpins, Deputy Chief at Liepaja Municipal Police, Latvia Chairman of UBC Safe Cities Commission
PHOTO: PERSONAL ARCHIVES OF KASPARS VĀRPIŅS
BY JUTTA MÄKINEN COMMUNICATIONS AND NETWORK MANAGER
DIET FOR A GREEN PLANET BETTER FOOD FOR PEOPLE AND PLANET Diet for a Green Planet is a proven and successfully implemented food concept for a healthy diet that the earth can sustainably produce. It is based on scientific research and applicable everywhere. Though originally developed for the public sector the concept criteria can be applied in any meal setting, and is open to innovation as well as to new scientific findings.
PHOTO BY FREDRIK SEDERHOLM
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Geographical location, season and the meal creator’s inspiration will influence what is served. As will the ambition to include more vegetables, wholegrain, legumes and moderate amounts of animal-derived foods. Core criteria are also to source as much food as possible from organic production, preferably from organic regenerative agriculture, and minimize food waste. When Diet for a Green Planet is implemented all of the above comes together to form appetizing meals with a better impact on climate, the health of the Baltic Sea, biodiversity, soil fertility and human health.
Diet for a Green Planet has been implemented in the public meals in Södertälje Municipality, Sweden, since 2010. The concept has also been shared with and tested in several of the Baltic Sea countries and other parts of the world. Currently, two parttime one-year long courses are running for professionals wanting to learn to implement Diet for a Green Planet. One with an international focus is hosted by Novia University of Applied Sciences in Finland and one in Sweden hosted by Stensund folkhögskola. Diet for a Green Planet Flagship is a project initiation supported by the Swedish Institute. The main objectives are to: 1) form a network of Baltic Sea Region actors working together for a transition to healthy and sustainable diets, and, 2) work toward a flagship status in the EUSBSR for the food concept Diet for a Green Planet. To read more about the food concept and the courses, please visit www.dietforagreenplanet.se/en. You are also welcome to contact project coordinator Maria Micha at Södertälje municipality: PHOTO BY FREDRIK SEDERHOLM
firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 8 5230 6440.
FIELD DEMONSTRATION OF USING DRONES FOR WILD-LIFE MONITORING: CONNECTEDBYBIOBORD PROJECT
BIOBORD NETWORK BOOSTS RURAL BIOECONOMY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION CO-OPERATION IN BALTIC SEA REGION Biobord network connects regions with long traditions in bio-based business as well as smart specialization strategies that prioritize knowledge-based, sustainable bioeconomy to drive rural development. The network was established by some of the leading and emerging bioeconomy regions around the Baltic Sea – Central Finland, Inland Region (Norway), Vidzeme (Latvia), Świętokrzyskie (Poland) and Estonia – and the network has already extended to involve Skåne and Värmland regions from Sweden.
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Sustainable bioeconomy plays an important role in the green transition to a low-carbon and resource-efficient society and a sustainable economy. Inter-regional co-operation helps to increase capacity for innovation and offers the involved regions more opportunities to develop knowledge-based, sustainable biobased business. Challenge-driven innovation co-operation can help to make systemic changes in the economy and to get new innovative low-carbon products and services to the markets.
PHOTO OF THE WINNER OF THE ‘FOOD HACK BY BIOBORD’ EVENT: CONNECTEDBYBIOBORD PROJECT
In spring of 2021, Biobord network has jointly defined network initiatives, Joint Agendas, that the network will focus on in the coming years. In brief, the Joint Agendas of the network focus on strengthening rural bioeconomy innovation ecosystems, building sustainable food system in BSR, addressing the gaps in digital forestry, and application of new technologies for wildlife monitoring. In addition, the network has defined and piloted a transnational innovation process to be applied in future co-operation. The transnational innovation process builds on co-creation dialogue between business and research as well as between the experts and professionals from different regions across the Baltic Sea. The innovation process has been tested in transnational teams that have engaged a wide range of stakeholders in co-learning and co-design activities. The piloting was conducted online, but in the coming years the network hopes to enhance the process also with face-to-face encounters and events. The development of the network agenda and the innovation process as well as the design of the network’s operating model
and ConnectedByBiobord, which both are flagship projects for the EUSBSR PA Bioeconomy and both co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
For more information on the network activities and initiatives, please visit Biobord.eu.
BY RIIKKA KUMPULAINEN PROJECT MANAGER, CONNECTEDBYBIOBORD PROJECT
USING SEAGRASS AS INSULATION MATERIAL INNOVA was a European research project dedicated to developing climate services at different innovation hubs. One of these innovation hubs, located at the Bay of Kiel in Germany, was led by Ecologic Institute, an environmental research institution based in Berlin. The core themes of the innovation hub were 1) how the issue of beach wrack affects coastal management, and 2) how climate change might have an impact on beach wrack.
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Beach wrack is the term for debris produced in marine environments that wash ashore. Wrack mainly consists of organic material, but also can include plastic or other materials of human origin. The beach wrack found at the Bay of Kiel mainly consists of different algae and seagrass.
USING BALTIC SEAGRASS AS INSULATION MATERIAL (PHOTO: N. STELLJES)
Beach wrack is commonly cleared at significant cost
With regard to the question of the impact of climate
to make the beaches useable for tourists and is thus
change on sea wrack, we achieved ambivalent results.
often regarded as a nuisance from a socio-economic
Based on expert interviews, workshops and a literature
perspective. However, one can also focus on the
review, we came to the conclusion that there are many
potential usages of beach wrack or its components.
parameters influencing the amount and composition
This is how I learned about the possibility of using
of beach wrack. Parameters like sea temperature, wind
patterns, salinity and eutrophication are all directly
Coincidentally, my family and I were faced with the task
or indirectly affected by climate change and have
an impact on beach wrack. Due to their complex
of the project. I had just learned about the excellent
connectivity, it was not possible to define a singular
trend about the effects of climate change on beach
its insulation capacity, seagrass is resistant to mold
wrack. We could identify arguments on how climate
and pests. Furthermore, it is very durable, and does not
burn. Compared to other ecological insulation materials,
and decrease of beach wrack in the years to come.
for initial along
almost no energy is used for the production and disposal of the material. In addition, it was possible to install the insulation by ourselves (see image above). This lead to the decision to insulate our roof with seagrass from the Baltic Sea.
We acknowledge the ERA4CS project INNOVA (Grant Agreement number 690462) for the financial support of this research.
More information can be found on the project website: www.innovaclimate.org
BY DR.NICO STELLJES ECOLOGIC INSTITUTE
CLIMATE REFUGIA IN THE BALTIC SEA: MODELLING FUTURE IMPORTANT HABITATS BY USING CLIMATE PROJECTIONS
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Pan Baltic Scope was a collaboration between 12 planning authorities and organisations from around the Baltic Sea. We worked jointly towards bringing better maritime spatial plans in the Baltic Sea Region. The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management was the lead partner.
One of our results was the report ‘Climate Refugia
What is a climate refugium?
A climate refugium is an area where
the Baltic Sea’ that pointed out how plants and
animals – and the blue economy – would be impacted by climate change within the next 80
climate change will not severely affect
years: Habitat-forming species are key in providing
a species or its habitat.
ecosystem services, green infrastructure and a blue economy. This report presents modelled spatial
Climate refugia in maritime spatial planning
In Sweden, climate refugia are part of the
on two climate change scenarios from the IPCC,
planning evidence in the maritime spatial
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Swedish planning process pointed to areas
Our models indicate there is a risk that many
that may need special protection in order for
species will have a radically different distribution
important plants and animals to survive when
in the year 2100:
the climate changes.
Species limited by salinity will be radically reduced
the northern and central Baltic Sea, as well as the Bothnian Sea, and some will relocate to new areas; Distribution of freshwater species will remain similar or with slight changes; Particularly
bottoms will lose ecosystem functions; Certain areas stand out as especially important as cores, refugia or “last stands” for species. These predictions indicate that climate change is a significant threat to ecosystem functions and the basis of the blue economy within the next 80 years.
change and to restore damaged habitats to salvage ecosystem functions seem highly warranted. Get the results on www.panbalticscope.eu
BY WILHELM GÅRDMARK PROJECT CO-MANAGER, PAN BALTIC SCOPE
Warriors for a better future 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the EU's flagship cooperation program "Interreg". Youth, green and neighbours were selected as three main themes of the 30-year Interreg campaign. Although much has already been done to integrate youth communities, for example by including them in European Territorial Cooperation, it has been noticed that much more can be done, and still needs to be done.
By collecting ideas and wishes of young people, how to improve territorial cooperation in the future in order to make young generations feel heard by the highest decision of the EU creators. All ideas and suggestions have been written down in the Interreg Youth Manifesto. Inspired by this, I decided to ask 4 young activists from 3 different countries how they perceive this problem of climate change in the Baltic Sea region.
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Let's go back to 2018 when heat waves and huge fires appeared in Sweden. The elections were knocking at the door, while fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg highlighted the problem of man-made climate change. In August, instead of starting the school year like her peers, she launched a protest in front of the Swedish parliament building. She continued the protest every Friday. Her "school strike for the climate" was a huge success. Young people from all over the world joined and the topic returned to the headlines. The students took to the streets from schools to express their opposition to the passive attitude of politicians towards climate change. Now it's 2021. So let's check what the voice of young people in the Baltic Sea Region sounds like today. I asked 4 young activists from 3 different countries - Poland, Russia and Germany how they see this problem.
‘Why is there rebellion among the youth? Is your generation characterized by more empathy? TOSIA (Gdańsk, Poland) I think it's not that we are more empathetic than our parents or grandparents. We just grew up in a country where we didn't have to fight for freedom. We were able to focus on other equally important topics. When asked what is important, each of us may have a various answer, each of us has a different sensitivity and way of expressing ourselves. Even among my friends, I noticed that we have other interests or hobbies. The environment is important and I want to express that through art.
Antonina Jagiełło I am fascinated by psychology, which is also my field of study. I find an outlet for them through creativity. I like being creative and being able to cut myself off from the world, I'm rather introverted. I prefer to convey my values through artistic and informational projects than by going to manifestos, although I greatly appreciate these events.
(Gdańsk, Poland) I agree with Tosia. It is
important that we feel good about our involvement. We should find an activity we enjoy. It could be art, attending demonstrations, or being a more conscious consumer. We should not feel bad about taking care of Mateusz Zieliński Environmental activist. From birth, I was tuned to be sensitive and empathetic towards all living creatures, no matter if they have two, three or four pairs of legs. Nature always has a special
the planet. It doesn't have to be unpleasant tiring work but a nice time spent. Our lives should not be limited to counting how much water we use and constantly thinking
place in my heart. After three years of studies in geography
about how much CO2 we produce. This is one example of
at the University of Gdańsk, I have successfully completed my
how we can use our already existing habits. If I walk my
bachelor's degree on the subject: Selected factors and effects
dog every Saturday, I can take a bag and gloves and clean
of environmental degradation in the Tri-City Landscape Park.
up the trash I pass on my way. Let's also remember that
In addition to environmental topics such as nature protection
our health comes first. Don't move junk that looks
or green areas restoration, he is interested in geography, street
dancing, computer games, production of snacks, wine and other alcoholic
(occasionally). My hobby is cycling, dancing, walking and watching the clouds.
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ANDREAS (Potsdam, Germany): I totally agree with Mateusz. We should always pay attention to our safety. Never stop fighting but also think about your own mental state. My friends are 50/50 in their position to the environment, some are really involved in all things rescue the climate and are living after that and some are more or less living unconsciously and do not orientate on climate change. TOSIA: It's good that you mention mental health. Together with my friends from college, I run a profile on Instagram @koloproeko where we inform people about what's going on in the world, about new environmental laws like the plastic cutlery ban or mental health-related to climate change. ANDREAS: At my university are also some activities, like Fridays for Future in Potsdam or green college groups to
Andreas Scoop I have been participating in "Fridays for Climate" for a long time.
make the university and all their facilities greener.
Recently, I have been involved in the BSSSC Hub, where we deal
There are also lecture series with an emphasis on action
with climate issues, and I also take part in various activities
in ecological behaviour that is well attended. I am not
organized at my university.
actively but passively part of those.I am from time to time involved in ecological projects and I also help friends with projects they run. In 2015 I was more active and participated in student think tanks that thought of changing things and how we get a more sustainable living in Berlin, Germany, and Europe consequently. At the moment I am involved in Baltic Sea projects that have the main focus on ecology. My focus is at this time on other projects, but also in my studies in university I work on getting better results in climate negotiations like the Paris Agreement in 2015 and how a sustainable economy could look like. MIKHAIL (Kaliningrad, Russia): Actions have also been taken at my university. One of the biggest and most popular actions is a beach cleaning campaign which was organized in various smaller towns in the Kaliningrad region. We hired a coach and bought garbage bags. Many students signed up for the campaign. We collected up to 40 big bags of rubbish during the beach clean-up action on 1 day! Although the clean-up took days, in the end we were very happy that we managed to clean at least a little bit of our planet. I think what surprised me the most
Sometimes families with children come for 1 night in a tent and take a lot of unnecessary equipment, but when they come back most of the garbage and unnecessary things are left on the beach.
Mikhail Mikhaylovskiy I am 27 years old, a journalist and media manager from a University. Recently, I have been involved in various activities related to environmental protection, mainly related to cleaning beaches.
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In my family, it was me and my sister who started to be interested in what was happening to the environment. We started reading labels, looking for organic substitutes. We try to be conscious consumers. Tosia
I was drawn into this environment by my dad. He was the one who was always interested in the environment, forests, and climate issues. He has tremendous knowledge and passion. Mateusz
Andreas To me it is really important since school time were I wrote assignments about solar energy in my home village and other things. I was sensitized to the topic early on and it played at some point in my life a bigger role, nowadays a more background role. Because it is also exhausting and depressing to now we have to change things drastically and there are possibilities, but no leader is really able to start the change or make the policies that are necessary now and it is hard for a consumer to act correct every time. The potential loss of living standard is hard to overcome but we have to somehow because if not we really have a quite disastrous life in the future. So that means less travel, less meat, and so on.
Mikhail The Baltic Sea region is important to me and to the young people in the Kaliningrad region. We all want to live in a clean environment. We want to look at beautiful beaches without dangerous garbage on the sand or empty bottles floating on the water. We collected up to 40 big bags of rubbish during the beach clean-up action in 1 day! Although the clean-up took days, in the end, we were very happy that we managed to clean at least a little bit of our planet.
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the youth but they act on behalf of a lot of different stakeholders.
the discourse a lot in a better path, but even this is not enough, as of now. We need more and we need the different stakeholders to also wish for a greener future. Or on the other hand, the younger generation has to have a bigger impact on voting. And we as a young generation are also not that homogeneous as we may think. There is a conflict between the countryside and the city which shouldn't be underestimated either. So I think this a democratic process that has to be step by step shifted to more sustainability, hopefully, fast enough so we do not end in an apocalypse. I think it will get a year by year more serious because we are starting to see more bad effects occurring.
Are young people being listened to more
But also then there will be people that are not accepting
and more or are they still being ignored?
fatigue. It will change a lot in one or another way and
the problem of global warming. There will be also we should prepare for it immediately.
MIKHAIL: It seems to me that the young are being listened to more and more. People like Greta show others what needs to be done, but it is often populism. Representatives of large companies say that they use various ecological substitutes, but later it turns out that it is not as environmentally friendly as we thought. Because ecological solutions are not always profitable. Fortunately, step by step this is changing. MATEUSZ: Yes, I think Greta showed that young people
MIKHAIL: This is why we should start changing the world with ourselves. Of course, it is also important that large companies join the campaign, as they are the main polluters of the air we breathe and the water we drink. I think young people in other regions should also do what we do. They should be acting. It brings people together and makes others aware of how big a problem we have created ourselves.
have a voice and we want to use it. She proved
MATEUSZ: We don't want to abruptly change the world
to everyone that despite our young age we notice
around us because we know that wouldn't work. Gradual
the problems of the world around us. Unfortunately,
but continuous change for the better could improve our
the reactions of some politicians have shown that they
situation, but we would have to start making those
are not ready for dialogue. It made me sad when I heard
changes now. We can already see differences in some
older people refer to her appearance and not the topics
places. We can see it in London, which is a very green
city, or in the USA where an abandoned subway station
TOSIA: Sometimes we hear that we can talk about it when we're older, graduate, learn more about life or get better degrees. But I feel that for some we will always be too young or too inexperienced. I am afraid that if we do not act now, it may be too late to try to start a dialogue. Sometimes politicians say they want to listen to us, but they are often only meet for a photo or to post a tweet. We want to be taken seriously because the subject is very serious.
was turned into a “green corner” friendly to people and animals. It's amazing that younger and younger children are aware of the importance of the natural environment. Kids can go together with their parents and see bee hotels
As a result, they feel connected with nature from an early age. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
PAGE 25 BALTIC STORIES | SPRING-SUMMER 2021
ANDREAS: I am a conscious consumer but that doesn’t
Like the countless bicycle routes in the Netherlands
mean that I am always buying climate fair products.
So but I have a bad conscience and understand what that means for the environment. As a student, it is
huge amounts f money to be able to change the world.
difficult to buy environmentally friendly products every
I recently started using an app where I can pick up food
from a restaurant at the end of the day for a small
convenient.I cut down the amount of meat I buy
amount of money. The food is fresh and wholesome,
significantly, I prefer to buy and eat more fruits
and thanks to the app, restaurateurs don't throw away
and vegetables from my region and produced following
food that hasn't sold. For me, the advantage is also that
organic farming standards. I like to buy products that are
I don't know what will be waiting for me. I like that more
and more large stores are starting to expand their
improvement and I would love it that it becomes more
assortment with ecological substitutes. We can buy
convenient to buy such products. Like, have a shop
cotton shopping bags that we will use for many years,
within walking distance that use less packing material.
in Poland. But you don't always need government and
Furthermore, as a student, you also have a smaller
containers. As a result, I hear less and less the argument
carbon footprint, than others because you use for
that someone would like to be more eco, but cannot find
example public transport more.
anything in the store.
How do you see the immediate future of our planet? MIKHAIL: Air pollution has been significantly reduced
ANDREAS: I also noticed it in Brandenburg where it gets
during COVID-19 pandemic. Now there is a lot of talk
dryer and dryer every year. So climate experts predicted
about global warming. We have very cold winters
desertification in my region and I think this is the first
in Russia and I hope that people will see that this is
sign. Farmers have to negotiate over the use of water
a serious problem and is linked to climate change
resources, it is not any more infinity useable. This is the
as well. In 10 years progress will be small. I think we
biggest sign for me. There are also some smaller signs
won't see too much improvement, unfortunately, but it's
but maybe this only my feeling, I do not know any
up to us. We must be smarter.
scientific evidence for this other phenomenon. But yes I feel climate change in my region already. I think it will get a year by year more serious because we are starting to see more bad effects occurring. But also then there will be people that are not accepting the problem of global warming. There will be also fatigue. But it will change a lot in one or another way and we should prepare for it immediately. As we can see, this topic is becoming more and more important for young people. Each of them has different reasons why they started getting involved, but they all have the same goal - they want to live in a beautiful environment.
and Mikhail live in 3 different countries, everyone confirms Greta's words “together and united, we are unstoppable”.
BY JULIA ORLUK
Money strongly impacts the environment and has great potential to fix it. Our daily consumer choices are in fact "money voting". DESIGN BY ANTONINA JAGIEŁŁO
Saving the Baltic Sea: we’re in this together
PAGE 27 BALTIC STORIES | SPRING-SUMMER 2021
At HELCOM, we are often asked about the effectiveness
That said, in the Baltic region, we are very fortunate
of certain measures, and if a particular project has had
a meaningful and measurable impact on improving the
and objectives when it comes to the protection of our
health of the Baltic Sea and its marine ecosystem. Truth
sea, and our combined actions do lead to tangible
be told, we often do not have straightforward answers
results, as for instance shown by the steady decrease
to these questions.
of nutrient inputs to the sea since the 1980s.
As much as point sources of pollution such as industries
When it comes to the harmonious interplay between
different frameworks, the Baltic Sea is truly blessed.
to identify and deal with, it is much harder to do so
HELCOM, CBSS, VASAB, the instruments of the European
when it comes to diffuse pressures, those that do not
Union such as the EUSBSR and directives such as the
have a specific origin we can pinpoint to with absolute
We can monitor a big number of parameters and
“a healthy sea” or “saving the sea” being a common
establish trends, as well as devise strategies and actions,
but despite recently embarking on an analysis of the sufficiency of measures, we’re at the infancy stage of being able to tell with full confidence what works
In the Baltic Sea, it is therefore the cumulative impact of highly concerted actions at the regional level that is
and what doesn’t.
leading to the results we are currently seeing.
The number one pressure on the Baltic, eutrophication –
The EUSBSR is a prime example for enabling such
the excess of nutrients in the sea that leads to harmful
synergies, with all major frameworks dealing with
algal blooms, further upsetting biodiversity – is a good
environmental protection in the Baltic are involved in its
example for that. Today, agriculture is the main source
of nutrient runoff to the sea, such as from fertilizers
co-leading its Policy Area (PA) on Maritime Spatial
applied to fields. Assessing measures that address
Planning, and HELCOM is further invested in other PAs
nutrients is as complex as the water system that takes
led by other organizations.
these nutrients to the sea. In the region, the interaction between all stakeholders In addition, the marine environment is multifaceted and
is constant, positively influencing the adjustments of
our respective processes. At HELCOM, the now imminent
variables at play. Our measures often take time to show
update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, our strategic
an effect due to a lag in the response of the ecosystem,
long-term programme of actions, has certainly benefited
just like it takes time for a larger vessel to change
from this ongoing regional exchange.
course once the ship’s wheel has been turned: it is not instant.
In the end, to achieve our shared objective of a healthy Baltic Sea, what
the success of individual actions. The whole will always be greater than the sum of its parts.
BY DOMINIK LITTFASS
HELCOM COMMUNICATION SECRETARY
COMMON SHRIMP IN NATURAL ENVIRONMENT BY ALEKSEY STEMMER (LATVIA)
A QUOTE AT THE END
"We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely we all have a responsibility to care for our Blue Planet.
The future of humanity and indeed, all life on Earth, now depends on us." SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH BALTIC STORIES | SPRING-SUMMER 2021