We need to better protect the North Sea and the Baltic Sea! Three quarters of all Germans clearly support this statement – and so does the NABU, the Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany (Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V.). We at Valdivia, also, care very much indeed about the protection of the oceans and their inhabitants, especially since the depth of the ocean is the symbol of our work in Executive Search and the inspiration for our name.
Ever-growing waste pollution is a threat to both oceans ’at out door step’; an estimated 600,000 m³ of waste is lying on the bottom of the North Sea alone. The NABU just could not stand by and so they created the Plastic-free Oceans initiative in 2010. Following the holiday program of Volunteer World, this is the second initiative to free the oceans of waste, which we present in our Valdivia Future series – and there is a very concrete occasion for it: 16 September marks the world-wide Coastal CleanUp Day, which you can join yourself to actively get involved together with NABU.
Germany’s Largest Environmental Association
As early as in 1899, Lina Hähnle founded the Association for the Protection of Birds (Bund für Vogelschutz), today known as Naturschutzbund Deutschland e. V. (NABU), and supported by more than 900,000 members. About 70,000 volunteers, organised in over 2,000 local groups, are actively committed to hands-on environmental protection.
The protection of the oceanic environment, is an integral part of this – and, unfortunately, this involves efforts to rid the beaches and the seas of plastic waste. NABU focuses on the North and the Baltic Sea, works out information materials for and with fishers and water-sports enthusiasts, sets up cleaning campaigns on beaches and river banks, and they support environmental monitoring at the coasts.
When Yoghurt Containers Are the ’Catch of the Day’
Together with fishers, NABU has set up Fishing for Litter, a project to collect, sort, document and dispose of waste ’by-catch’ in an environmentally safe way. From the first days in 2011, Fishing for Litter has been a success story. To date, fishers in 18 harbours have landed over 62 tons of waste from the North and the Baltic Sea. With the support of the federal states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, effective logistics for waste disposal has been established. In cooperation with Magdeburg-Stendal University, NABU is also investigating recycling of waste or the potentials for decomposition in seawater.
Getting Involved: It’s So Easy
NABU is an interactive community, offering a number of opportunities to become involved, not only through donations but also through actively working for the protection of nature and the oceans:
- Coastal Cleaning Day (Tag der Küstenreinigung) on 16 September
Among the most prominent occasions is International Coastal CleanUp (ICC), a day on which volunteers get active worldwide – 17 millions in 35 years. Just for NABU, over 500 people helped collecting about 7 tons of waste last year. Join in spontaneously: you will find all the information on CleanUp Day right here.
- Appeal to the Federal Chancellor: Strenghten Marine Reserves
Support life at the North and Baltic Sea with just a few clicks: Germany’s marine reserves are in a sorry state. They suffer from fishing pressure, excavationa, unrestrained building activities and boats ploughing through them. This is an endangerment for many species, animals and plants alike, as well as their capacity to store CO2. NABU is therefore appealing to the Federal Chancellor, to declare at least 50% of the marine reserves no-use zones and thus truly protect them.
- The Saviours of the Waters (’Gewässerretter’) Campaign
You can report pollution or waste at coasts and rivers on the website Gewässerretter, kick off your own cleaning campaign, or learn about other future campaigns.
Ocean Sponsoring: An Offer You Can’t Refuse
These campaigns, however, are just examples! NABU’s success rests on the active commitment of many individuals – ranging from different donation options to memberships and volunteering. Becoming an Ocean Sponsor is just one such option:
Give targeted support as a sea sponsor for the fascinating nature of the North and the Baltic Sea! As a thank-you, you will received the Meeres-Post (Ocean Mail), your personal sponsoring certificate, a poster, and information about the project. Advocate for a healthy enviroment worth living in, under water – we at Valdivia will always be happy to report on this subject – with the oceans being the basis and beginning of all life.
1 Results of NABU’s Civey survey to go with the Day of the Oceans (Tag der Meere) on 8 June 2023: 73.8 % of interviewees supported the statement that at least half of the marine reserves needed to be fully exempt from harmful exploitation in order to allow their species and habitats to recover.
(Image source: NABU)