Anja Stokkan is Oslo’s new Plastic Coordinator, with a background in social geography and international development aid. She has experience as both a project and human rights advisor. Anja has also worked at the Agency of Waste Management in the City of Oslo, while volunteering as a beach cleanup coordinator at Nordic Ocean Watch.
With a wide range of experience within waste management, she has strong knowledge about marine pollution. In turn, Anja is also aware of the measures needed to clean up and avoid waste ending up in waterways and oceans. We are delighted to present Anja as both an Oslo European Green Capital Ambassador and as one our active Oslo European Green Capital mentors.
We sat down with Anja to ask her a few questions about what Oslo being named the European Green Capital means to her.
What motivates you to help make Oslo more environmentally sustainable?
What motivates me is the fact that we need local initiatives to be able to make changes on a global level. What we do in Oslo can have positive ripple effects far beyond our city and fjord! In regards to plastic and marine pollution, what motivates me is that there is a pool of very motivated and capable local actors eager to come up with solutions for the ocean – using Oslo as a testbed for other cities.
How are you supporting Oslo as a green city?
I work as Oslo’s first ever Plastic Coordinator, with the mission to ensure that Oslo becomes international leading in the field of plastic and marine pollution. I also volunteer for Nordic Ocean Watch, an environmental collective focusing on efforts to take care of the ocean.
Name a role model that inspires you, locally and globally:
Locally, there is no way to mention just one person – there are so many local ocean-heros that keep inspiring me with small everyday efforts! Globally, if I were to mention just one person, I’d want to highlight Emily Penn. She is an oceans advocate and skipper.
Emily runs eXXpedition – a series of all female voyages which focus on the relationship between plastics and toxins and female health – and working on solving the ocean plastics issue with Parley for the Oceans alongside other corporate clients.
What obstacles do you face while working for a greener Oslo?
So far, after about 8 months in the position as Plastic Coordinator, I have hardly been met any obstacles. Everyone is positive when it comes to measures taken to reduce the unnecessary use of plastic and efforts concerning marine pollution. Politically, however, there are many obstacles and barriers.
What are your personal climate goals for 2019?
Not to use unnecessary plastic! I also plan to continue to volunteer for Nordic Ocean Watch while being a conscious consumer- meaning not to buy things I don’t really need, eat less meat and buy sustainable green products.