Our mermaid of the month, Tinna Dianudóttir, is from the Faroe Islands where the ocean is never more than five kilometres away. When she started with regular beach cleanups soon a year ago, she was struck by the reality of plastic pollution in our oceans. She knew she had to do something, even if it meant doing it almost alone. Everyday since, she has been striving to use less and pick up more plastic, raising awareness and inspiring people around her to do the same. And little by little, people around her are changing as well.
Who are you?
Tinna Dianudóttir. A 25-year-old woman from a tiny village in the Faroe Islands, which is located “in the middle of nowhere” and surrounded by the Atlantic ocean. Ocean enthusiast, surfer, nature lover, outdoor addict and an adventure seeker on a daily basis.
What are you doing these days?
I am working in a retirement home to save money for studies and adventures. Apart from my paid job, I volunteer in cleaning up my local Fjord/beach and other beaches as well, as often as possible. You could say that my “part time” job has kind of become to inform everyone around me about plastic pollution and what changes they can do themselves to decrease the plastic in their life.
How is it like to be engaged in ocean conservation in the Faroe Islands?
To be honest it has been quite frustrating most of the time, partly because I’ve been feeling quite alone in my quest of cleaning up the ocean around here. Even though I’ve been and mostly am alone when I do beach clean-ups in my area, I recently found out that there are other small cleanup communities around the islands, which I just didn’t know about. And recently people here on the islands have become more and more informed about the problem. In the last two months, several hundreds of people have started to do some form of cleanup around here, even if it’s only “4 plastic per day”. Many have started to look for information about what changes they can do. This has given me so much more hope, and I am less frustrated now than when I started my regular beach cleanups soon a year ago.
I think most people here are starting to realise that the same reality is also here like everywhere else in the world. We are also badly affected by the plastic problem.
“You could say that my “part time” job has kind of become to inform everyone around me about plastic pollution and what changes they can do themselves to decrease the plastic in their life.”
When did the ocean become important to you?
Growing up on islands surrounded by ocean, I was never more than 5 km away from it. Falling asleep to the soothing sound of the waves was the start of my love and appreciation for the ocean. It has always been a huge part of my life, and it has taught me that nature is in control and that we need to live in harmony with it. I’ve always had a huge respect for the ocean, knowing that it takes from us but that it also gives so much back. And I always have a huge longing for it whenever I’m abroad.
What role does the ocean play in your life?
It plays a huge part. The ocean has always been and still is one of the biggest recourses for survival for the inhabitants on the Faroe Islands.
The ocean is the creator of waves, so I can enjoy my favourite sport of surfing. It is the holder of seafood so my fellow inhabitants and me can survive on a local basis. It was the best playground in my childhood and still is. It is home for so many creatures, creatures I regularly meet when I’m out surfing or kayaking. It is also the “other world” of this earth, full of mysteries. And I want it to be that forever. The ocean will never cease to amaze me with all its’ wonders.
“The ocean has taught me that nature is in control and that we need to live in harmony with it. I’ve always had a huge respect for the ocean, knowing that it takes from us but that it also gives so much back.”
What do you do to take care of the ocean? What does Tavaha mean to you?
Reality struck me hard when I started to pick up plastic in my own area on a daily basis. I realised how huge the plastic problem was, and I knew I had to take action. Ever since I have been informing people around me about the problem, and things all of us can do ourselves to better the problem, by picking up trash and living as much of a zerowaste lifestyle as possible. We have to switch to other and better solutions to decrease our trash. For me Tavaha means caring for and giving something back to what has given us so much.
What do you consider to be the biggest challenge we have to solve in order to save the ocean?
I definitely think the biggest challenge is to make people care and to understand how serious the problem is. To inform and get people to change their mindsets and attitudes, to do what is morally correct to this earth. The human kind needs to be less egoistic, and to care for everyone, human or animal, and the earth.
What are your 3 tavaha tips to take care of the ocean?
- To cleanup, and encourage others to do it as well.
- Change the lifestyle to a more zerowaste one: “reduce, refuse, recycle, reuse, repurpose plastic.”
- Go out in the ocean or out in nature in general and experience the goodness of it, its healing powers, to really appreciate it and see it’s importance! We can’t survive without it, so it’s our duty to take care of it.
“The ocean is the “other world” of this earth, full of mysteries. And I want it to be that forever”
What is your happiest ocean memory?
Oh where do I begin? I’ve had countless happy memories in and around the ocean, but my absolute favourite ocean memory so far has to be the first time I caught a Green wave while surfing. The feeling was just ecstatic, a feeling of pure joy and pure peacefulness.
Who are your everyday heroes?
Everyone who in some way strives to make a positive difference for nature and others around them, and who fight to keep our earth the paradise it is.
And lastly, what would you like to thank the ocean for?
Thank you Ocean for all the amazing and countless experiences and memories you’ve given me. Thank you for always being there, and thank you for keeping us alive. I can’t wait to experience more with you.