“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead, anthropologist, recipient of the Planetary Citizen of the Year Award in 1978.
The small things that we do CAN make a difference if we simply start where we are and do what we can (and encourage friend to join in)
Here are things within in all of our reach as divers who love the ocean and want the best for it.
Use reef-friendly sunscreens. Given the amount of sunscreen used in a year, we need to reduce the quantity of damaging chemicals ending up in the ocean.
Take only pictures, leave only bubbles. Don’t pick up shells, rocks, or anything else when you dive. Even the smallest change can have a huge impact. Maybe that shell you pick up doesn’t make much difference, but if every diver does it, the impact can be enormous.
And of course, leave nothing behind; no garbage, no dropped kit, no “I was here” mementos left on rocks. If you bring it in, take it out.
Love local, dive local. We all love warm water locations, and at the same time, air travel is a huge contributor to climate change and ocean warming which leads to more frequent coral bleaching events. So when travel opens up again, even if you can afford it — consider taking fewer overseas holidays, whether or not they are dive trips.
Don’t buy new kit unless you really need it. Reduce consumption overall. We buy loads of stuff that we don’t really need, and it either ends up in landfill or the oceans. Consider setting aside a week where you buy only food or consumables. It will build awareness of what you spend your money on, and as a side bonus, think how much you might save!
Collect the trash, especially plastics. And not just when you’re diving but also in your street and anywhere else. Rubbish that gets into water courses and storm drains eventually ends up as microplastics, clogging up the ocean and starving the marine life.
Stop using single-use plastics. Chip packets, cheese wrappers, plastic packages of lentils, bottled water — you name it, we use it and it’s mostly packaged in plastic. Become aware of the plastic packaging you currently buy, and switch to ‘nude food’ (bringing your own containers, buying in bulk, carrying your own drinks in reusable bottles and flasks)
Drive at the speed limit. Speeding burns more fuel, which in turns causes higher exhaust emissions. Being a safe, considerate driver is good for the planet.
I can remember as a child, my mother talking about the activists who were raising awareness about the role of aerosol deodorants in causing the destruction of the Ozone layer. She didn’t seem to hold out much hope of them making a difference — and yet they did.
It’s our turn, now. Choose a small thing to focus on and become a more sustainable diver from today. It doesn’t need to be done perfectly — what we need is lots of us, doing sustainability imperfectly