What does ecological diving mean to us? It is important in every course we teach, to make sure our students don’t just learn about diving but as well about the eco system and how to be a responsible diver. On every dive we need to make sure we have as little impact on the environment as possible. When we teach we want to make sure our Students not just simply learn to dive and enjoy the underwater world, they should feel responsible for its protection. We wish they become ecological aware divers that understand the bad impact a diver can have on the vulnerable underwater world. We hope they understand that we are visitors underwater, we should respect and take care of this beautiful, special environment.
But in reality
It happens on almost every dive. People touching whatever they can. Divers kicking or just sitting down on corals. Photographers trying to rearrange things just for the perfect picture. Divers with no control over their buoyancy…. the list could go on and on. All this is sad and annoying, and we keep on wondering. Who taught them how to dive? Did they not learn how vulnerable the eco system underwater is?
What should we do instead? – Buoyancy is the key!
We want you to understand that buoyancy control is not just an other skill you have to learn in the Open Water Course, it is one of the most important. By being able to hover in the pool you are not the zing master in buoyancy. Even after completing the Open Water Course your buoyancy is probably not perfect yet. It takes practice to get better. But once you did a lot of dives and maybe took some more courses it will get better and better. Remember only practice makes perfect! Like this you make sure you can control your position underwater and stay away from fragile marine life.
As ecological aware divers we should pick up rubbish on every dive. A useful thing for picking up rubbish is a a mesh bag. Keep it in your BCD pocket and take it on every dive. Take action and participate in reef and beach cleanups. In your everyday live protect the Ocean by trying to create as less waste as possible. Please say no to single use plastic, to much ends up in the Ocean and stays there for ever.
Project AWARE is a non profit organization and a growing movement of scuba divers protecting the ocean planet – one dive at a time. The Project AWARE Action Map is home to conservation opportunities happening all over the world. Go here to find upcoming events like Dive Against Debris, Finathons, and options for conservation-focused specialty courses. Pledge to follow their 10 tips for divers to protect the Ocean Planet and make a difference when you dive, travel, and more.
Don’t forget the importance of an ecological lifestyle. By just caring about the Ocean when we dive we can’t change the problems we are facing today. Overfishing, marine debris, stressed corals and ocean acidification (if you want to know what it is have a look on this link). To change we have to think about choices we make in our everyday live.
I know it might be hard but the best thing would be to stop eating fish. If you can’t do that at least make sure what you eat is sustainable. There are tools you can use to make sure you are not buying and eating fish that is too vulnerable. Use apps like „Seafood Watch“ to see if the seafood you want to eat is a good choice. But keep in mind that Overfishing is one of the biggest threads for our Ocean.
"Many marine ecologists think that the biggest single threat to marine ecosystems today is overfishing. Our appetite for fish is exceeding the oceans' ecological limits with devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. Scientists are warning that overfishing results in profound changes in our oceans, perhaps changing them forever. Not to mention our dinner plates, which in future may only feature fish and chips as a rare and expensive delicacy."
Watch the youtube video troubled waters, a documentary about the impacts of overfishing. Decide for yourself what you want to do to help with a solution for this problem.
The Plastic problem
Plastic is a huge threat for marine animals. Plastic bags look like a jelly fish when floating in the water, so turtles and many fish mistake it for food and eat it. In the end they starve to death with bellies full of plastic. Not just marine animals are in danger of eating plastic a lot of birds are as well. Microplastics are already found in supermarket fish, we are eating plastic already and it’s not yet been established what effect these tiny particles of plastic will have on the humans who consume them.
It is time that we change the way we consume and live. Do you really need a plastic bag to transport your purchases? What about an alternative like a reusable bag. Why do you need a plastic straw to drink? I understand that with some drinks you need a straw but there are alternatives to plastic as well. Bamboo, aluminium and glass are just a few alternatives to a plastic straw, get one and take it with you so you can say no to plastic straws. For every piece of plastic there is an environmentally friendly alternative, you just have to find it. Start today and remove single use plastic from your live. Think about what you can do to make a change, educate others and don’t be silent. Tell people if their actions are influencing our ecosystem and share your passion.
I like this caption from Fighting extinction:
"Without hope people fall into apathy. There's still a lot left that's worth fighting for."
- Dr. Jane Goodall
We should not tell people just what we think they do wrong but show them better ways and solutions. There are still a lot more things I could write about this topic but I will stop for now and just call it part 1. I will write about this again an other day.
Thanks for reading.