Baltic Sea is in a critical condition and is currently considered to be one of the most polluted seas in the world. To get all eyes on the state of this suffering sea, Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG), a Finnish NGO, rewrote Finland’s national anthem as a wake-up call for the nation and all the nine coastal states of the Baltic Sea. The version of the national anthem was released around Finland’s Independence Day, the 6th of December.
The National anthem of Finland “Maamme” (Our Land) dates back to 1848, when it was performed for the first time. For Finns the song is about the pride they share for their beloved northern country. As the title says the lyrics revolve around the land itself – it’s valleys and hills, when in fact the unique sea surrounding the land deserves equal amounts of pride and care.
Therefore, BSAG together with Finland’s top artists went on to rewrite the anthem to steer the public’s thoughts towards the country’s lifeline, The Baltic Sea. The original “Our Land” is now accompanied by “Our Sea” (Meremme) which was published just before Finland’s Independence Day to remind people of the alarming state and the vulnerability of the Baltic Sea. The melody of the song follows the original anthem, but the lyrics are realigned with the cause at hand. As is the arrangement.
“Baltic Sea is a big part of the Nordic and Baltic identity for not only Finland but for all the countries sharing its shoreline. Not only is its ecosystem unique but it also provides food and employment to millions of people. Still its existence is often taken for granted. We know that tampering with the national song might make some people sad, but losing our unique sea would make us feel much more sad”, explains Pieta Jarva from BSAG.
BSAG invites the Baltic Sea countries to join their mission: “This is the only sea we have, and we who live by its coast have the responsibility to take care of it”
What makes the Baltic Sea different from other seas is that it’s extremely shallow and almost entirely closed, making the water change slowly. Also, the catchment area of it is four times bigger than the sea itself, making it especially vulnerable for operations done on land, such as farming and habitation.
As a result of its uniqueness and its heavily populated catchment area, the Baltic Sea is extremely vulnerable. Excess nutrients, and climate change make the circumstances even harder causing problems such as eutrophication. Due to the poor oxygen conditions, large areas of the sea bottom have already died.
“However vulnerable the Baltic Sea is to environmental problems; with the right actions it can still be saved. By rewriting the national anthem, we want to unite not just Finns but other coastal states to join our cause because the time for action is now, or our dearly beloved sea might be lost for good. We want to remind people that this is the only sea we have, and we who live by its coast have the responsibility to take care of it”, continues Jarva.
The Baltic Sea has nine coastal states: Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Russia meaning that the welfare of the sea is not important for only one country. Now BSAG invites other countries to follow their lead and rewrite their national anthems to save the Baltic Sea.