Baltic Sea Action Group’s Christmas campaign for the year 2018 collected a record-breaking 220 600 euros from 152 businesses and organizations. The campaign drew attention to the poor oxygen conditions at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, also known as hypoxia.
BSAG executed and devised the campaign in collaboration with design company Taivas, who did the work pro bono. Four videos were filmed to support the campaign, featuring BSAG’s founders Ilkka Herlin and Saara Kankaanrinta, actor Tommi Korpela and former U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck, who all dived under water to hold their breath. The dramatic videos highlighted the suffocating conditions at the oxygen-depleted sea floor.
”Oxygen-depleted areas at the bottom of the sea are almost completely devoid of life. The campaign videos alerted us humans to imagine how these conditions feel like to the sea’s animal life. We were glad that in addition to Ilkka and Saara, Tommi Korpela and Bruce Oreck also dared to take a dive for the Baltic Sea”, says BSAG’s Managing Director Johan Schmidt.
BSAG’s christmas campaign has traditionally been aimed at companies, giving them the opportunity to donate money for the Baltic Sea instead of spending it on physical Christmas presents. In exchange they received communications material, with which to inform their associates of the donation. The donors can be found at the campaign page www.joululahjaitamerelle.fi.
”The record-breaking sum not only shows that the campaign was succesfully executed, but also demonstrates that companies have a desire to help the Baltic Sea. The sea is important to many people and they want to help saving it”, says Schmidt.
The most obvious sign of the Baltic Sea’s poor condition is eutrophication, that manifests itself as yearly algal blooms. Masses of cyanobacterial blooms on the surface of the sea make headlines every summer. Hypoxia is the less visible result of eutrophication. Decomposing massive amounts of dead algae at the sea floor consumes oxygen, and at the moment the hypoxic area in the Baltic Sea is the size of Ireland. Eutrophication is accelerated because sediments at the sea floor will not be able to retain old, stored nutrients in poor oxygen conditions.
Although nutrients leaking from the bottom sediments play a significant role in eutrophcation, nutrient loads from land are still considerably too big. They are also the main reason for eutrophication in the Baltic Sea archipelago. BSAG works to decrease nutrient loads by helping develop sustainable farming practices. In addition to eutrophication, climate change is a major threat to the Batic Sea. During 2019 BSAG’s work will include for example carrying on the work to further advance nutrient cycling, as well as continuing the Carbon Action -pilot project, which aims to mitigate climate change and nutrient loads through agricultural methods.