For years, divers have celebrated World Oceans Day around June 8th. Divers are in a unique position to bridge the gap between land and the ocean. Since divers have direct access to the mysterious underwater world, they are vital ambassadors to a public that otherwise doesn’t get to see the beauty of the ocean – or the threats that it faces.
For 2015, we’re inviting dive shops to celebrate World Oceans Day in a big way. As important community centers, and leaders, your shop can make a big difference for your local environment and in the hearts of the divers you work with.
Check back in the coming months for celebration ideas that will help you organize a World Oceans Day event at your shop – but until then, you can start the conversation right now!
Starting a Conversation about the Ocean
Broaching the subject of conservation, especially when you don’t know what the other party believes can be difficult, so here are some ideas on how to talk to people about the ocean you love.
- Focus on concrete actions people can take in their own lives (such as reducing plastic consumption) and emphasize how the combined actions of many can protect the ocean for future generations. No one person can protect the ocean, but all of us together can have a huge impact.
- Start simple – make a poster for your shop asking people to Seas the Day for the ocean. For some things you can ask divers to do, check out this list of 30 ways to be an ocean-friendly diver here.
- Humans connect emotionally with animals and places when they see them up close. Research suggests that 86% of visitors feel a connection to animals after seeing them in a zoo or aquarium. Imagine how high the percentage must be for people interacting with them in the wild when they are diving! People are more likely to want to protect things they feel connected to, and that’s where you come in. Make the connection between the experience of the dive and our need to protect the environment that makes it possible.
- Along those lines – talk about your local environment and the threats it faces. If you’re not sure what is happening near you, just do a quick internet search! Google “environmental issues in” + your state, watershed, or city. There are probably several organizations tracking and providing information about the most pressing environmental threats near you.
- People tend not to act in order to save the ocean due to an uncertainty of what to do, and if they can even make a difference. Talk to your customers and co-divers about concrete ways to help the ocean such as working with Project Aware.
You are not alone: The Ocean of “Green” Divers
Many divers care about the ocean and are taking an active role in protecting it. The aforementioned Project Aware is a group of thousands of divers who are working together to save the ocean. The National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI)also has a green diver initiative where they help individuals make a difference. PADI also has a green star award program to reward PADI Dive Centers and Resorts who are helping their ocean environment. You can reach out today and figure out the best ways to help the ocean!
Additional Helpful Links
http://www.projectaware.org/resources – Materials including action kits and posters for divers to use in conservation activities.
http://www.divethereef.com/Guides/ReefCare.asp – Ways for divers to take care of the reef.
http://www.projectaware.org/project/10Tips – Additional tip list for divers.