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

Save the Baltic Sea expedition has started in Lithuania. Next stop: Poland

Mar. 12, 2024

A group of ten environmental activists of the Save The Baltic Sea expedition began their journey from Lithuania, planning to cover nearly 6000 kilometers on foot over the next 9 months. During this period, the initiative will raise awareness about Baltic Sea environmental issues, discuss their solutions, organize educational events, meetings with scientists, government officials, business representatives, and local communities.

On the morning of March 11th, the hikers of the Save the Baltic Sea expedition began the first day of their historic journey on foot, accompanied by a large crowd of concerned citizens. The group of ten hikers was accompanied by European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania Simonas Šatūnas, and the Mayor of Neringa Darius Jasaitis, who came to bid farewell and express their concerns about the state of the Baltic Sea.

Before the first hike day, on March 8th, an official launch of the expedition took place at the Vilnius Town Hall. During the live broadcast event, the expedition team presented activities aimed at promoting actions for the preservation of the Baltic Sea over the next 9 months. Politicians and expedition leader Giedrius Bučas discussed the importance of improving the state of the Baltic Sea and Lithuania’s progress in this area.

On the morning of March 9th, the expedition team and scientists from the Klaipėda University Marine Research Institute invited the public to familiarize themselves with the litter on our beaches. After a lecture by Professor Arūnas Balčiūnas on marine litter research, about 50 people gathered to explore the condition of Melnragė beach and collect litter. In the afternoon, at the bank of the Dane River, the Environmental Protection Agency research vessel “Vėjūnas” opened its doors, where visitors could speak with scientists and learn more about ongoing research on the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon.

On March 10th, the last event marking the beginning of the expedition took place at HOFAS Klaipėda. During the discussion, representatives from the fields of of science, environmental protection, and sustainable agriculture discussed the main problems of the Baltic Sea and actions needed to improve its condition.

“Due to the large anoxic zone in the Baltic Sea, now the Baltic cod can only spawn in the southern part of the Baltic. However, the southern Baltic is not very suitable for this – the sea is warming up, and the cod wants to migrate north where the water is colder, but there we have the anoxic zone,” Robertas Staponkus, a scientist at Klaipėda University, commented on the fate of an important fish species for the Baltic Sea.

Farmer Valentinas Genys shared his experience of managing an ecological, fertilizer-free farm. “A farmer is responsible for delivering healthy food, for the air we all breathe, the water we all drink, and for the Baltic Sea. <…> To this day, with minimal expenses, I get a similar yield as I did 30 years ago when I used chemicals and fertilizers, but now I also have healthy soil that is starting to pay off for me,” said V. Genys.

Next stop – Poland

The topics of Baltic Sea pollution and its solutions will be discussed throughout the 9-month expedition, which will involve not only the informational campaign in the media, but also live meetings with scientists and local communities, open educational events, and living lab workshops in 8 countries.

Soon the expedition team will reach Poland, where on March 17th, together with the Polish Academy of Sciences Oceanology Institute and other partners, they will invite local residents and guests to delve into the problems of the Baltic Sea in Sopot and Gdynia. At 9 am, everyone interested is invited to hike together with the expedition team from Brzezno pier and participate in educational activities with local scientists and environmentalists at two points of this journey. Learn more about the event on the website

“We want to remind that anyone can not only participate in expedition events but also join the hike at various stages. Just fill out the form on our website,” says expedition route coordinator and hiker Karolis Rasalas.

“We thank everyone who has already contributed to turning this idea into reality: supporting governmental institutions, scientists who share knowledge, businesses that help us financially and create conditions for spreading our message for the sake of the Baltic Sea and future generations,” says expedition leader Giedrius Bučas. “In order to activate actions for the preservation of the Baltic Sea and reach the 85 million people living in the Baltic Sea basin, this support will continue to be needed. We invite everyone who cares to become partners in our initiative,” adds G. Bučas.

You can contribute to the implementation of further expedition activities on the website

Expedition events in Lithuania are organized as part of the project “Advocacy of Climate Change Mitigation in Agriculture” together with the Baltic Environmental Forum. The project is partially funded by the Climate Change Program administered by the Environmental Projects Management Agency of the Ministry of Environment.

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