The Baltic Sea and its vibrant culture are in grave danger
“In essence, Tove described the sea as something to be respected – and loved. Without it we wouldn’t even exist. The sea was one of the most important sources of inspiration for Tove.” – Sophia Jansson
Sometimes referred to as the great ‘creation myth of moominology’, The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945) was the first of Tove Jansson’s eight Moomin novels, introducing the world to the extraordinary inhabitants of Moominland.
To celebrate the book’s 75th anniversary in 2020, Moomin Characters Ltd., along with its partners, is launching #OURSEA, a one-year campaign to help the Baltic Sea. Their objective is to collect one million euros for John Nurminen Foundation’s work to save this stretch of ocean and its cultural heritage for future generations.
One of the most significant sources of inspiration for Tove’s art and writing was the Baltic Sea, but it is now among the most polluted in the world and desperately in need of help.
What is happening to the Baltic Sea?
The focus of the #OURSEA campaign is on blue-green algae, because it is the most visible symptom of eutrophication and, according to researchers and experts, eutrophication is the most significant environmental problem affecting the Baltic Sea. Although the issue of excessive richness of nutrients has decreased significantly over the years, visible signs of the problem, such as blue-green algae blooms, murky waters, slimy shores and anoxic seabeds continue to afflict the sea.
Eutrophication is also one of the main threats to biodiversity as nutrient over-enrichment causes elevated levels of algal and plant growth, increased turbidity, oxygen depletion, changes in species composition and blooms of algae. What’s more, climate change has further accelerated the crisis.
It’s not all bad news
Though the situation in the Baltic Sea is described as “grave”, much vital work has been carried out in recent decades, and there have already been positive results. The phosphorus load to the Gulf of Finland has been reduced by as much as 75% in just 10 years, which is probably a world record in marine protection. This is the result of international efforts and cooperation between states, cities and the private sector, but the main part of these load-reductions was achieved thanks to projects of the John Nurminen Foundation.
In many areas, the sea is now visibly clearer. This shows it is possible to turn the tide, but to do so, the pace of change must be increased significantly. Everyone knows what needs to be done, but faster action is required.
How we can help
Donations can be made via the website www.oursea.fi or you may wish to purchase a Moomin product marked with the campaign tag. You could participate by learning more about the Baltic Sea and the challenges it faces, as well as the solutions required to help improve the condition of the water. Furthermore, you may even decide to become an active citizen and take part in the public debate around this issue, working to influence friends, family and politicians to take immediate action.
Joy and courage are underlying themes in the Moomin stories, and that is the Moominous spirit #OURSEA hopes to highlight in its quest. Nothing is impossible – we may yet save Tove’s beloved Baltic Sea.
All donations are used for the John Nurminen Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects and cultural work to preserve maritime heritage.
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