Hi, Simen! You’re a familiar face for many with the work you’re doing with Nordic Ocean Watch and in the lineups in Norway, but for those you don’t know you: Who are you and what do you do?
– Ohoi, guys! Guy, 31, Oslo. Love the ocean and long waves. @simetavaha 😉 I’m born and raised in Stavanger, but live in Oslo og work as a Business Archtect in Æra where we work with sustainable innovation. In my spare time i run Nordic Ocean Watch (NOW); the surfer’s environmental organization, being able to take care of the oceans. I was in Lapoint back in the days and lived in Hoddevik for 16 months. That place stole a piece of my heart, so I try to go back as often as I can.
How and why did you get engaged in the environment?
– I’ve had a dad who’s very into being out in the nature and the wild, and we’ve sorted waste at home for as long as I can remember. So he probably planted a seed in my head when I was younger that later has grown and shaped a lot of my decisions and how I’ve chosen to live. My education was focused on sustainability and the last years I’ve been using my time on small and big things that can make the world a better place. Surfing has also been a big part of my passion – it’s such a powerful experience to be out in nature and you get time to reflect and enjoy about the important things in life.
What does Nordic Ocean Watch do?
– NOW works with taking care of the ocean – Tavaha! We want to create ocean ambassadors among the surfers. It’s all about understanding that since the oceans are on the verge of collapse, we can’t continue using the oceans without giving something back – especially us surfers. Our lifestyle is so bad for the ocean and the environment, but it doesn’t have to be like that. We show you that you can have fun and surf a lot, without destroying the ocean in the process, but it takes making the right choices. We work a lot about why and how, and letting you be your own little environmental superman.
What’s the biggest environmental challenge we face today?
– The biggest threat is our CO2 emissions. The emissions destroys the chemical balance in the ocean and also makes the world a warmer place, which destroys coral reefs and life’s existence. Other big problems are over fishing, agriculture and the use of plastic.
We hear a lot about this plastic. Why is plastic so dangerous for the environment?
– Plastic is a synthetic material that is made to last. When it gets into nature it doesn’t break down in the same way as organic materials. It turns into smaller pieces and never disappears and ends up killing animals and fish. Plastic is the most dangerous being in the ocean and it’s the unnecessary plastic that’s the worst: one time products, take away packaging, balloons, bags and bottles.
What can the average Joe do – can each and every one of us make a difference?
– Yes, everybody can make a difference. It’s the sum of all of our choices that makes up the world, and the problems we face with the environment have roots in what you and me do. For example: No one pumps up oil because it’s fun – they do it because you and me ask for it. We ask for it every time we drive a car, fly somewhere or buy plastic. The most important thing we can do is to reduce our own use. My favourite tips are:
1. Eat more green and less meat and fish. Start with meatless Mondays and aim for Fridays.
2. Learn to say: “No plastic, thanks” in all languages you use where you travel.
3. Fly less and stay for longer. Det biggest personal CO2 emission are our travels.
We have to go from using, to taking a stand and understanding that no contributions are too small. We have to reduce our own foot print and in the same time join in on saving and repairing the things that are destroyed in the world.
How does the future look for NOW and yourself? Are you getting any surf?
– Yeah, the future looks bright for both NOW, me and the world 😉 We’re going to continue to work with Tavaha and ocean ambassadors, and I get a lot of surf! It’s a really good combination working with taking care of the ocean and surfing, because the ocean usually has some waves! I’ve had some magical days on the west coast of Norway this last winter and summer, but if I don’t get to go west I usually paddle a bit in the fjord here.
– It’s not scary or boring contributing to a better world, but it does take some effort. The ocean is especially important, because without a living ocean we can’t have a living planet. Since the oceans are what connect the world we also take care of ourselves when we take care of the ocean – TAVAHA!