Why every day needs to be World Oceans Day

Even though June 8th is the official World Oceans Day , I’d like us all to celebrate this cause not just that one day, but every day, by becoming better versions of ourselves and protecting the environment while we’re at it!

And before you ask, I am not affiliated with any organization, but simply just spreading the word to applause a cause and share my own personal tips with fellow travelers, beach-goers, boat trippers and everyone else who happen to love our oceans as much as I do.

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Ever since I was a child, I’ve always felt connected to the sea. Growing up by a beach kind of does that to you. Even if said beach was no tropical one. We had pine trees and cones, not palm trees and coconuts. And that ice cold water and those orange jellyfish that were out to attack everyone, was enough to make most sensible adults stay away from getting into the water. But not kids. Kids are brave. Fearless. Maybe even slightly careless. And me, I used to be just like that (and no, I was never stung by a jellyfish).

Today, I still love going to the beach. Whatever beach. Wherever in the world. But unlike my younger days, I can’t just jump into the water and have that intense feeling of happiness and not give a damn about anything that’s happening around me. This has nothing to do with jellyfish or the water being cold.

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This has everything to do with people who disrespect the environment.

Whenever I go to the beach, I turn into a passive-aggressive, grumpy activist. Which is totally not something I wanna be. At all.

But then again…

Where is the joy of going to the beach when the place looks like a dump? Why would I want to go swimming somewhere where I’ll have to dodge plastic bottles and someone else’s trash from their little picnic on the beach? I’ve even experienced used diapers and tampons floating next to me. How disgusting is that? But that’s not the biggest issue here. Because, most importantly, why would I wanna be somewhere where sea turtles, fish or other creatures that reside in the water, get caught on things like six pack-rings or other dangerous plastic items and die from their injuries? No, I don’t want that, nor do I wanna be held responsible for someone else’s lack of behavior.

I can’t remember if the beaches were as littered as they are now, when I was a kid. But what I do remember, is that my parents raised me well and taught me to put trash where it belongs: in the trash cans. They also taught me the beauty of recycling. They taught me how one person’s trash can become…well…another person’s treasure (literally speaking)!

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So how can we protect our beaches, our oceans, our underwater creatures?

  • Support recycled fashion! Just a quick search in your browser is enough to find hundreds of different brands – big, established ones as well as small, independent ones – that use recycled ocean plastic to create new, trendy items for you to wear.
  • Even if it isn’t yours; pick it up! If you see something that could be dangerous for not just animals but also for children to step on or put in their mouths, you should – without a doubt – get rid of it.
  • If you see something, say something! You witness someone behaving badly and purposely littering? Speak up. Are they with children? Well, then it’s even more important that you say something. We don’t want the future generation to repeat the mistakes of their parents.
  • Visit your local Marine Rescue Center! Because, knowledge is power. The more you learn about the issue – and about the creatures affected by it – the easier it will be for you to know what to do to help. If you don’t have a local Marine Rescue Center, visit your local Aquarium for advice!
  • Spread the word! Talk to the people in your community. What can you do to keep the beaches clean? 

Fellow travelers, fellow humans, next time you go to the beach – be the best version of yourself. Let us all be everyday hero’s and clean up the mess we’ve made!

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Sustainable Tourism (and how to travel while respecting the environment)

Being a tourist doesn’t necessarily need to be a synonym for being a careless, selfish douche bag. You CAN be a responsible traveler. You CAN help the environment. You CAN help the local economy (without your money ending up in the wrong hands). You CAN be a great person while being a tourist. But before I give you any ideas for what you can do to help the planet, here’s a brief summary of what’s going on that needs to be changed.

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It’s no secret that our planet is in danger. It hardly ever snows in certain parts of Norway anymore, we had 18 degrees and sunshine in Paris in March, and still a lot of people claim that global warming does not exist – while lighting their cigarette and driving their diesel fueled car on the way to the airport to take the fifth flight that week. We breathe in the dirty air, and we daydream about weekend-getaways to nice little cabins in the woods or cozy mountain lodges somewhere far away, somewhere where the air is fresh and the grass is green. Maybe even a picnic in the park. No, not the city park close to home. That one’s too dirty, too close to the noisy traffic and there’s trash everywhere. No, we don’t wanna go there. We wanna go somewhere remote, somewhere where we can be one with nature.

It’s no secret that rain forests are being destroyed. Partly because of climate change, but mainly because humans decided to deconstruct it for their own winnings. You know, to make all those cheap industrial biscuits, potato chips, chocolate, drugstore makeup, you name it – palm oil seems to always be one of the main ingredients. This is bad news for us, but even more so for the poor animals who die as a consequence of rain forest destruction.

It’s no secret that animals suffer from tourist’s selfishness. Generation selfie, I beg you, please don’t let yourself or anyone else get hurt just because you want recognition from strangers online. When you pick up those two starfish out from the water to take a cute photo – like the one’s you’ve seen on Instagram, you’re actually killing the starfish. And so did the people you wanted to copy. When you ride an elephant, take a selfie with a tiger, swim with dolphins or take selfies with cute little monkeys on a leash, you’re supporting an industry that profits from animal abuse.

It’s no secret that people suffer from other people’s greed. Generation selfie and the generation before us, we have become accustomed to the fast way of living. We want to keep up with the latest fashion, the latest technology, the latest food trends – and we are not willing to pay a lot for any of it, when given the option. But for every fast-fashion or fast-food item sold, there’s someone who has to work all night and day in terrible conditions and earning close to nothing, just so that you can save a few bucks.

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Here’s a guide to how you can travel while respecting the environment

  1. When traveling short distance, choose trains or buses over flights. Personally, I love traveling by train. I love looking out the window, noticing new places and wondering what they must be like to visit. Also, it’s easier to stretch your legs and take a walk around on the train than on a plane!
  2. If you’re planning to go to the park, to the beach or to a remote area where there might not be any trash cans anywhere in sight, bring your own recyclable bag for your waste. Hold onto it until you find a trash can!
  3. Instead of going to the supermarkets, go to the farmer’s markets. You’ll support the local agriculture, the local economy and you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into your body!
  4. If there’s an artisan market or bazaar in town, that’s where you should do your shopping! Handmade cosmetics, artisan jewelry, hand-woven bags, hand-sewn clothes – the money you spend on these items go to the people who created them. You’ll support the locals, their artistry and you get slow-fashion items completely unique from any of the stuff your friends have back home!
  5. Before signing up to any kind of tourist attractions with animals, use your web-browsing skills and read, read, read! Animal sanctuaries is an example of something that might either be completely fine or absolutely horrible, depending on the organization. Dig a little deeper than the basic tourist-reviews and you’ll find out for sure if this is something you should or shouldn’t spend money on.
  6. If you want to take a picture of a starfish, a dolphin, butterflies, birds, sharks, whatever creature it is that greets you on your travel, please do so. But please do it without touching them. They deserve to be treated with the same respect as you do.
  7. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Support local agriculture! Visit a vineyard, go on a wine tour and purchase a few bottles of wine from the producer. If you’re more into breweries, visit a microbrewery and learn about the craft. Or maybe you’d rather see how cheese is made? Or coffee? Chocolate? There’s something for everyone in every country – and I can honestly say, the most fun tours I’ve ever been on were those where I was in direct contact with the producers of what I used to view as ‘everyday products’ until I realized how much work is put into creating them.
  8. Visit Botanic Gardens! Their role is to help address the issues relevant to restoring ecosystems. They provide knowledge and expertise in conservation biology, restoration ecology and ethnobotany, and raise awareness among the general public of the need for, and benefits that can come from, successful ecological restoration projects.
  9. Support the independent businesses. Instead of always going for the big chains for your accommodation and your meals, visit the independent ones. The owners put their heart, their soul and all their savings into their businesses and they depend on every costumer they can get. The big chains, the big guys, they’ll be fine. They’ll always have their following. But the little guys might not always be that lucky.
  10. If you see something, say something. If you witness someone abusing an animal, disrespecting the locals and their community or littering the streets – speak up. This planet needs a lot more everyday heroes to come to its rescue. You can be one of them!

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Me and my little friend, in a butterfly conservatory 

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I never laid a finger on this beautiful creature

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Coffee plantation in Boquete, Panama

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Woman making argan oil in Marrakech, Morocco

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Purcari Winery in Moldova

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Me, in Norway