What is ”Paddla för Livet” (swe) / ”Paddle for Life” (eng)?
It’s all about an idea of combining outdoor activities with environmental commitment!
Through outdoor activities, focusing on sea kayaking, we launch long expeditions in order to collect marine trash, make research about marine littering, provide our own developed research program with new data, and to inspire people, spread a message, fight for cleaner nature. We believe it’s cool to collect trash. Don’t close your eyes, pick it up!
The following text is written by Tim Ekstam, the founder of Paddla för Livet
A cornerstone of our philosophy is that trash found in the wild will be collected through completely environmentally friendly practices, like sea kayaking. Petroleum fuel should not be spent on collecting plastic. But it’s not just because of that we paddle kayaks. As a paddler at sea you travel very near the islands and coasts, you come much closer these areas than other boats do. You will see these shorelines in more detail than the one in a sailing boat or motor boat will do. A near paddling sea kayaker will see what’s wound along these shores. Other boats also don’t have the same possibility to access nor reach. Smoothly, we are able to access and reach very remote and shallow areas, get out the boat and collect trash. The trash collected are we taking with us, either on or in the kayaks, to the nearest place where we can leave it where it should had end up in the first place. Like in a trash container in a harbour.
In other words, as a sea kayaker we both see the trash that unfortunately exists almost everywhere, and we are able to access and reach it – we are able to do something about what we see – in the very most remote areas of wild nature.
”Paddla för Livet” is the initiative and platform I founded in the spring of 2012, with the aim to draw attention to the environmental problems regarding marine littering. By combining environmentally friendly and inspiring outdoor activities with picking trash found along one’s way, I wanted to create a platform which aims to spread a message, inspire, inform and fight for a greener nature and a better attitude.
Since 2012 Paddla för Livet has developed into more than this. Today we aim to conduct one larger expedition every year, in order to collect trash, make research, provide our own developed research program with new data, and to spread our message. We have developed our own product – the Kilogram (explained below), we are doing lectures about our adventures and what we have seen and experienced along our journey of sea kayaking and trash.
Tim Ekstam, founder of PfL
For those interested, here’s more to read about us and our projects
We conduct expeditions at sea aiming to collect trash and make a proper documentation of the ”trash-situation” along shorelines. For example, we paddled an expedition along the entire coast of Sweden 2013, and gathered trash along the way. We also made a documentation of the trash found at all our tent-spots. Later on, a year after finishing that expedition, we developed a system of making proper research of the environmental situation, which we since then have applied in our future projetcs. Summer of 2014 we launched an expedition along the whole Norwegian coast – an expedition of 100 days and more than 3000 paddled kilometers, in order to test and apply our own developed research program of documenting marine trash from the perspective of a sea kayaker. With a very successful result of useage we conducted another expedition the summer of 2015 to do the same again: spread our word, fight for a greener nature, provide our research program with new data and collect trash. This time from canals to coast, from Netherlands, to Germany, to Denmark to Sweden.
During further development we came up with our own product, the ”Kilogram”. It’s an unique idea of a product, or rather a voucher, which looks like this:
Through this ”Kilogram” has anyone the opportunity to make significant contributions to a greener and less littered nature. The card represents 1 kg of trash that is collected by Paddle for Life in the wild, through our expeditions. If you buy one ”Kilogram card” you will contribute by giving us the task to pick trash in nature. This will be done in the future, which means by buying a card we will go out there, collecting trash. Probably during future expeditions or specially launched trash-picking projects conducted if enough Kilograms are sold. The process can be followed through the card’s unique ID number on the back of each card. Through this ID you are able to follow up your collected Kilogram.
How the work with our Kilograms go is quite simple. We are looking for partners, such as companies looking for green marketing or products that want a great additional meaning. We sell a large quantity of cards to a customer, which then corresponds to the same amount of trash that will be picked in the wild by us. When enough Kilograms are sold in order to finance a project, we are launching our kayaks somewhere in a littered and remote area. All expeditions are followed up, and all Kilogram cards are trace-able on our webpage.
Examples of Kilogram-cards partnerships / targets:
- Skim Kayaks: for every kayak built by Skim they put one Kilogram card inside. –> Every Skim boat sold will result in 1 kg trash collected in the nature by Paddla för Livet. This is great, green marketing for Skim, as well as for the customer to buy the boat, whom contribute to a better environment.
- Aclima wool clothing: on the tag of more expensive wool clothing there’s an Kilogram card hanging. –> Every clothing of this kind sold will result in 1 kg trash collected in the nature by Paddla för Livet. This is great, green marketing for Aclima, as well as for the customer to buy the cloth, whom contribute to a better environment.
We are searching for more partnerships, so we can clean more shores together. Great marketing, effective and working procedure of cleaning littered shores. We have the product for doing this, so it’s just to brainstorm great combinations and partnerships. Get in touch with us if you have something interesting in mind!
Besides picking garbage we make research on marine littering along our shores and in the nature in general. Our research aims to identify and document the extent of littering along different coastal areas. By having developed our own systems for mapping littering, to document and record the trash-situation in different areas, we collect information and feed our research program with new data that are forwarded to other partners. It is very interesting to see the differences in the level of littering along different stretches of coast, and then ask yourself the question ”Why”? In a bigger perspective it’s much about oceanography and geomorphology. In a smaller perspective it’s much about biology and what happends with weathered plastics, called microplastics.
We have seen the reality of the archipelago, along the coast and on the seabed. A reality that, unfortunately, is not only the beautiful nature itself, but also a reality of large amounts of debris. In the archipelagos, along the coasts and at the sea we have found plastic and trash that floats. On the seabed there are even greater amounts of trash, such as metals, glass and other stuff that sink. All this garbage is a big problem for our nature and its’ animals. Not least all microplastic that is the result of weathered plastics. Microplastic eaten by plankton and small fish will accumulate in the food chain, modify natural gene-banks and ultimately end up in the stomachs of humans. One of the pieces to the puzzle of solving these problems could be to collaborate. All together. It’s about changing an attitude. To change the way we handle trash, the way we ultimately treat nature by not applying sustainably thinking. What we want is to try to inspire others to action, and above all, protect our nature from irresponsible behavior. What Paddla för Livet wants to do is to give the action of collecting trash a ”cool” atmosphere. Through our long and very demanding sea kayaking expeditions in beautiful, remote areas and wild, tough seas, we collect garbage. We are garbage men at sea! From a kayak.
By combining environmental activities with outdoor activities such as kayaking, we do something completely new and unique that hopefully is interesting to observe, listen to and be inspired by. Book us for a lecture and we will share some of our most interesting experiences from our journey of adventure and trash.
Paddla för Livet är ett svenskt registrerat företag som innehar F-skattesedel. Vi kan fakturera och lämnar årlig momsdeklaration.
Med vänliga hälsningar,
Tim Ekstam, grundare till Paddla för Livet