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Mermaid of the month June: Guro Aanestad

In our eyes, Guro is a rolemodel for all girls and boys who surf or want to surf.  She has a genuine love for the sea and has made a lifestyle to experience the maximum of what it can give, as well as a genuine desire to take care of it.

 

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Who? Guro Aanestad, 29 years, Surfer from Stavanger

Why? In our eyes, Guro is a model for all girls and boys who surf or want to surf. She has a genuine love for the ocean and has made a lifestyle to experience the maximum of what it can give, as well as a genuine desire to take care of it. It’s cool to hear Guro talk about the ocean and sustainability because both are so personal to her. Guro is a rolemodel because she’s totally crazy about surfing, but also a model in way she looks at the world. The tavaha is strong with this one.

What are you up to now?

Surfing. Longing for surfing. Longing for being more in – and on the ocean. In addition to living the happy days in Indonesia, I am working as an architect in my home town Stavanger. This occupation inspires me to think more about the world, nature and the nature of humanity. The relationship between humans and our environment and how we as designers can take part in shaping the future by asking the important questions and thinking about status quo.

What do you do to take care of the ocean? What does tavaha mean to you?

 

To me, tavaha means eventhing we can do to care more about the world and the ocean. You take care of what you love.

Everyone finds their own way towards becoming a better person. To me, it has been trying to maintain a low ecological footprint, learning from our past mistakes, and what we can do better. The great idealistic thoughts which came from my love for the ocean and my education in architecture and sustainable development are often difficult to realize in practice. It might be easier to just be an ’everyday hero’. These heroes are a big part of ’tavaha’. I am by no means a hero, but I have tried to make some changes to my everyday reality. The end product has become ’cut the crap’.

CUT THE CRAP

I believe in the simple rules of reduce, reuse, recycle (and upcycle), and also rethink.

’Rethink’ is probably the component we have the least control over, but also the most important. All of these are connected, and are essentially about eliminating the destructive dimensions in our choices, and all the garbage (physical and psychological) these lead to.

’Reduce’ and ’reuse’ to me, means choosing quality over quantity. Always. When I chose products, I think about its ’compounding effects’. I try to become aware of what the products are made of, how and why they are produced, which pollutants that come out of the production, and what happens after I have am finished with them, etc. I choose products I can own for a long time, preferably something made of renewable materials. An example is always to travel with a water bottle, which prevents me from buying water on a plastic bottle.

’Recycle’ is something we have always done at home, where I recycle whatever I can. It is easier at home. Abroad, I seem to end up in places where I don’t have to buy anything that comes with ’excess material’, packaging and trash. Wherever I am, I choose local produce and ingredients in season. I believe short-traveled products are healthier for body and soul, also because they come without packaging and unnecessary transport. Many things can be produced through the simple process of being grown, which is so incredible!

Here, we come back to ’rethink’. Consider the example of the coconut. It grows right outside my room. I can drink its water, chop it in half and fill it with delicious fruit from the local area. I can also make a spoon from a part of the coconut. Often, this fruit salad would be served in a plastic bowl and a plastic spoon. But the most beautiful part is that we can make the conscious choice of just cutting out these products. We just eliminated the production transport, garbage and potential marine pollution factors! Cut the crap has been implemented. In Norway, this example would of course be different, but the point is to make your habits context specific from the knowledge we have attained on our own sustainability journeys.

In addition to this, I always try to participate in organized beach cleans and the unorganized efforts of picking up garbage whenever i spot it, both at home and during my travels.

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Photo: Mads Schwencke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge we need to solve to save the ocean?

I’m not sure what the greatest challenge is, or what needs to happen first. It is complex, but not complicated. We need to do something with the knowledge we already have.

We need to share and communicate the knowledge about the current state of the oceans and the world, the consequences of the choices we make, and simple efforts for making them better. I hope every person can become an ’everyday hero’ who pics up garbage, recycles, and makes conscious choices in choosing products and lifestyle, an ’everday hero’ demanding that it should become easier to make better decisions. And I home that some intelligent people can come up with intelligent ways to change the destructive processes in today’s society. And invent intelligent technologies which can lead us into a better future base don a common understanding about taking care of the ocean and our environment.

Maybe we should wish for more than trees of money, wish that everything we need and utilize can be grown? It is inspiring to see how initiatives base don learning from nature, so-called ’biomimicry’ is spread to different industries. The knowledge, information, intellect, and resources to make the green shift happen is already here. I hope someone out there is intelligent enough to prioritize this. In this utopian world we wouldn’t even need the everyday heroes anymore. Picking up garbage is of course great and very important, but we keep putting bandages on the scratches, and not getting to the root causes of the wounds. We need to cut the crap.

What are your three tavaha tips for taking care of the ocean? 

  • Bring your drinking bottle everywhere and never choose disposable cutlery and items.
  • Eat the local food, of local produce in season.
  • Chose your gear based on ecological components, so you make less damage to the oceans – everyhting from wax to pads, surf mud/zinc, washing liquids, etc. There are many great products out there, taking conscious choices doesn’t necessarily mean downprioritizing quality.

What is your happiest ocean moment?
I am always happy in the ocean (except from when people behave stupidly). Some of the happies moments are when we are out paddling and the perfect waves start rolling in when nobody else is there. There are YEEEEEEWs and cries of joy everywhere, and everyone is stoked. When you take off, you see an infinite, crystal clear wall. The smile is stuck on your face and the exstacy takes over your body. There is nothing you would rather do, and anywhere you would rather be. Pure happiness. Then we eat and everyone is full off bliss. YEEEW!

Who are your everyday heroes?

Everyone who cares.

And finally, what would you like to thank the sea for?

Everything. I am eternally grateful for the pure joy of life that the ocean gives and how it can wash away every heavy thought. Thank you ocean, I love you.