It is day of the hiking expedition around the Baltic Sea!

The hiking expedition around the Baltic Sea undergoes a radical change. Hikers return home

Jul. 01, 2024

On March 11, the team of 10 hikers set off from Smiltyne to hike around the Baltic Sea, aiming to visti 8 countries and cross over 6,000 kilometers in 9 months.

The expedition goal is to inform the public about the condition of aquatic ecosystems, the impact of human activities on the sea, and ways to stop the loss of marine biodiversity and pollution. Hikers seek to  become a link that brings people closer to the sea, to develop the culture of marine conservation, to enhance the interest in the environment, and to supplement the knowledge of the areas of human influence. We invite all people living along the Baltic Sea shores to join together and make individual and communal changes to preserve the sea for future generations.

We have already crossed Poland, Germany, and Denmark and are currently in Sweden, in the Gulf of Bothnia. In total, we have crossed over 2,500 kilometers. In each country, we have met with local and Lithuanian communities, carried out beach litter monitorings, and organized living labs for the public in colaboration with scientists from local research institutes. Our expedition was featured in the press in Lithuania and the countries we have visited. We regularly share our experiences on social networks and in our weekly video blogs on YouTube. Reaching out to all the people who live around the Baltic Sea and influence its state, is one of the goals we are working towards.

The expedition’s hiking team undergoes radical changes, as the hikers make a decision to leave the expedition. This unexpected turn happened due to the various challenges we have been facing during the expedition. 

The group dynamic of hiking, working and caring for each other every day, became a challenge. These were accompanied by the physical strain of the hike, the daily routine, and the enormous responsibility for the mission and its ambitious message. The mission’s values and high standards also require personal changes, which do not happen overnight. Some of these challenges can be prepared for in advance, while others might take longer. I myself, so to speak, have been preparing for them for nine years. That is how long ago I started my sustainable and minimalist lifestyle. It is a seemingly difficult path, but when you follow it consciously and not out of necessity, things happen naturally and harmoniously. But it takes time. As the initiator, I have worked on the expedition for three years. Therefore, I understand that for some of the hikers, it could be quite a challenge to become “ecological enthusiasts” (that is what we are sometimes called by the press) in such a short time. However, I believe that for the hikers the knowledge and experience gained will be useful and they will find ways to apply it in their future activities. And I am immensely grateful to them for believing in the idea of the expedition and for hiking together. I am sure we will see each other again.

However, the biggest challenge of the expedition was, and remains, the lack of funding. This expedition is my personal initiative. It is not institutionally funded. As a result, even with good business partners and several project funding sources, the funding is still insufficient to support the expedition. Constant teetering on the edge of survival, uncertainty, and instability are the biggest challenges for the team members, as you never know when you will need to pack your bags and step away. Naturally, no one would want to be in such a situation of constant tension, anxiety, and uncertainty. When it all comes together, the snowball effect happens. As a team member leaves, his or her roles and responsibilities fall on the shoulders of other team members. I am aware of this and therefore I take personal responsibility for the progress of this expedition. From the beginning of July, I will continue the expedition alone. 

I will continue the expedition alone. Therefore, the main idea of the expedition, to hike around the Baltic Sea, will change for a while, as I do not have the necessary equipment for solo hiking. We have been using a van to carry all the supplies, food, and equipment. Unfortunately, the mission for some time will be carried out while driving. This is quite a shame, but in any case, the main mission of the expedition, to educate the public, remains. As before, I will be supported by the organizing team in Lithuania. I also look forward to increasing media attention. I invite everyone to voluntarily join me for a hike. Everyone who cares about the state of the Baltic Sea, and who believes that it is possible to make a difference in people’s minds and to save the sea for future generations. Because the sea begins here! In our hearts and minds. In our homes and cities. It comes from the flowing rivers and streams we live by.

Whatever the challenges ahead, I will not give in and I will keep inviting people for fellowship. Because this is my calling. The expedition’s objectives and route remain unchanged. The documentary on marine conservation will also be finished. We will continue to meet with communities in each country. And on the 8 of September, we will invite all the people of the Baltic Sea countries to gather on the beaches for clean-ups and to celebrate the Baltic Sea Day. There is still time to join hands for a cleaner Baltic Sea!

We continue looking for business partners, who would be willing to invest in marine conservation. I invite each of you to be part of this expedition and we would happily welcome volunteers to our organizing team. To contribute financially to the expedition’s worthy cause, you can donate by following the information on the expedition’s website.

Click here to support the expedition, or make a bank transfer.

Recipient: VšĮ “Už švarią Lietuvą”

Bank account no (IBAN): LT284010051005747142

Payment purpose: Fellowship

For more stories and how we can all become Baltic Sea heroes, check out our channels:

Thank you for the support,

Expedition initiator and leader Giedrius Bučas

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