As a researcher I work daily with the Baltic Sea. People I know often ask me, “How is the Baltic Sea really doing?” There seems to be a belief that I as a researcher will be able to describe a truth that is not available anywhere else, that there is some secret which only researchers know and is not reflected in the public debate. This also shows that there is a great interest among my peers and elders, and a genuine concern for our very own Baltic Sea.
Just over a year ago, somebody called me from UR – the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company. He was in the process of producing a children’s show for Swedish Television and wanted, like many others, to know how the Baltic Sea was really doing. I told him about the cod, eutrophication and all that, and helped him get in touch with colleagues working on a big experiment he was interested in. After a while he called me back to say that nothing came of the experiment. Instead, he wanted me to come on his TV show to talk about the Baltic Sea. Along with two peculiar characters, Waterman and Speed, we went through with the recording. We ran around in the reeds at Brunnsviken, took water samples and talked about eutrophication and the need for action. The next scene involved a meeting with the Minister for the Environment at the Government Offices. It is an interesting feeling to walk past the security guard at the Government Offices and walk around the Ministry of the Environment dressed in rain gear, followed by two crazy characters from a children’s TV show. Speed was wearing a wetsuit, and Waterman had a big tin can on his head. The show aired after the meeting with the minister, and maybe not that many people saw it.
Now, last Friday we had some friends over. Their ten-year-old son Hjalmar said, “Hi Henrik, I saw you on TV, it was great!” So the show was in reruns, and at least someone had seen it. Turns out there were more than just a few, as my ten-year-old son told me everyone in his class had seen the show, too.
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a great interest in environmental issues, and it is exciting to know that even our younger generation is starting to show an interest in how the Baltic Sea is really doing.
Narrator: Henrik Österblom