This photograph was born after a plastic cleaning mission with Naturtjenester, as part of a national project where the goal is to clean 40% of the Norwegian coastlines. Here we were in a remote area called Tømmervika, in Laksefjorden, named after all the timber that came ashore from the Russian industry. It was amazing to be in such a beautiful area, whales and dolphins welcoming us, birds of dozens of species, a river meeting the sea, and reindeer on the journey to feed. Much of this timber is still there, and so is plastic of course: feet on land, first signs of plastic. We cannot really see them from far way, only a green or orange dot, a lost fishing net that once fed a family. Many were the types of plastic found in this job, and many were the emotions felt meanwhile.
The more we look the more we find, and emotions rise. We all know how much plastic pollution has invaded wild habitats, but to be there and see it with your eyes, feel it with your hands, gives rise to a totally different awareness. Sadness and frustration come up - what have we done, plastic is everywhere, most of it from the fishing industry. Immediately my mind starts thinking: we need to act, we need solutions, we need to go in all directions; if we don't help, nobody will. It's our turn to help the world.
After having all of Tømmervika cleaned - huge orange bags filled with thousands of liters of plastic, waiting for the helicopter to be picked up - we see the reindeer feeding just where we had cleaned. That felt so good, like they were happy and grateful for having their land clean, like they were letting us know of their gratitude.
That's one of the fronts where we should act, clean our mess, and work together with nature. The other side of the cleaning is the circular economy, we must reuse all that we can. As we also applied, in order to cross the river on the way to the cleaning area: the bridge was not there, but the steel cables were, and in perfect shape. So after crossing the river on the back of Rune, one of the responsible for the project, the first morning, I thought: let's use these fishing nets, build a harness and cross with our carabines. So we did - using circular economy, together we can cross the river!
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