The faces and words of those who protect the Baltic Sea alongside KARHU and the John Nurminen Foundation

The ‘Baltic Sea’ event organized by KARHU and the John Nurminen Foundation is synonymous with community. Environmental awareness and running came together in the words and actions of the participants of this special day in Helsinki. These Guardians of the Baltic Sea are activists and athletes; they are kindred souls connected to their sea. We portrayed them at the end of the symbolic run that led to the coast of the Finnish capital, listened to their experiences and reflections, and heard loud and clear the individual and collective need to positively affect the world and its ecosystem.


“I grew up on the Baltic Sea. I have so many memories there, and I used to swim there all the time as a child. Now I have a house overlooking the coast, where I spend a few weeks in the summer with my relatives. For these reasons, the Baltic is very close to me. I think it’s necessary to act now to safeguard it. I know we can’t make huge or drastic changes overnight, but we can kickstart the process and aim for sustainable and gradual change. We’re here for a good cause, and I think moments like these are crucial because they bring together positive people who can talk about these issues, spread awareness and expand the number of activists. I’m proud of the Finnish running community. When I first became part of it, I quickly realized that these were wonderful people. Runners don’t run on the Baltic Sea, that’s obvious, but they have a keen ecological awareness, and the ones I know always avoid polluting.”


“I was born on the Gulf of Bothnia in western Finland. I left my heart on those shores, and even today, whenever I go running, I try to do it by the sea. When I see its color, I can’t help but worry. The Baltic Sea is not clean, when the summer temperature rises it’s impossible to swim in it. The condition of the Baltic is improving slowly because everyone has started taking it seriously – the future looks bright to me, but we have to come together to achieve the necessary outcomes. This event is a great opportunity, it allows us to create awareness. Fundraising dedicated to John Nurminen Foundation projects is also essential. Fortunately, In Finland many people are taking action to protect the Baltic Sea, and this day proves exactly that.”


“I don’t live close to the Baltic Sea, I come from the interior of Finland, where I’m in constant contact with nature. Nature is part of my existence. I listen to and read news about the environment every day. I believe both an individual and collective path is needed. Everyone can do better. People need to get into the mindset that everything leads back to the sea: even if they live far from the coast, their waste affects the health of the Baltic. Here in Helsinki the pollution is plain as day, and everyone is aware of it, but events like ‘Baltic Sea’ open our eyes even more. I work for a large international company and we’re carrying out several environmental initiatives. There is a need for brands like KARHU and this collective participation to make things better. It won’t happen tomorrow or the day after, but things will get back on track one day because of the knowledge and awareness gained during events like this.”


“The problems of the Baltic Sea are known to many, but awareness-raising events like these are always good. The significance of these days is huge, because runners, activists and people can get real, useful information from the John Nurminen Foundation and, at the same time, do something collectively to change things. I hope more events like this will get organized. The sea is here, by our side, and we have to do everything to protect it.”


“I grew up in Turku, next to the sea, and this issue really touches me, because I’m connected to the Baltic and have been running and open water swimming for some time. I think knowledge about the condition of the Baltic Sea has grown in recent years, people understand the seriousness of the situation and are aware that any kind of waste can endanger the health of our whole ecosystem. Running-related events are important, because runners have always been aware of environmental issues. When I run in Turku I see a lot of other runners collecting plastic, and the same thing is happening here in Helsinki. Sport helps raise awareness and understanding. It is a real pleasure that so many runners care about the Baltic Sea.”


“The Baltic Sea is a part of my daily life. I live in Helsinki, overlooking its waters. I swim throughout the year, both in summer and winter, and even when I go running, I prefer to take roads that go along the coast. That is why I’m so concerned because I can see the Baltic conditions every day. I have two young daughters, and I often have to explain that they can’t go into the water because it’s green…. It’s scary. When we talk about climate change, we can only imagine it, but here we can actually see it. You can touch it. Today, for example, we stopped our run on a bay where the water was completely brown and not healthy. At the same time, I know that people’s efforts are leading to progress that can be seen in other areas of Helsinki. This is a relief, but we can’t stop acting.”