As we get closer and closer to our departure day (or as I like to say, only 12 days until we blow this Popsicle stand!) I’ve kept busy checking items off of my giant trip to-do list. One of those items was to sit down with Kari & Matthew Atkins of Atkins Scuba (they’re the awesome instructors running the Oceansports trip to Cozumel that we’ll be joining January 15th to the 22nd and you can check them out here: http://atkinsscuba.com/) and hash out some planning details for our beach clean-up project. Kari and I did some training this spring for my Project AWARE specialties that had us discussing the importance of ocean conservation and, more specifically, how we could be involved and do our part to protect the ocean. Project AWARE is PADI‘s not-for-profit organization tackling ocean conservation issues through the efforts of divers all over the world and you can learn more about their important work here: http://www.projectaware.org/
And also here:
One of the ideas we came up with was to organize a beach clean-up for the trip participants – we’ll take an afternoon off diving and head out around the island to a public beach in need of some love and get rid of all the trash we can find. In addition to being a nice way to give back to the island of Cozumel and give everyone a chance to explore more of what it has to offer, its also an excellent way for us to make an impact on marine debris. We’re making sure that all of the garbage on that beach doesn’t get into the ocean where it’ll destroy habitats, kill wildlife and threaten our health and economy.
Our clean-up will be part of Project AWARE’s much larger global effort to combat marine debris and save sharks in peril, the 2 biggest issues that divers are uniquely positioned to combat. As divers, we see more than anyone else the effects of trash in our oceans and the consequences of rapidly dwindling shark populations due to overfishing and finning practices. People are most motivated to protect what they love and (you guessed it…) divers LOVE the ocean and all of its amazing inhabitants! I also love that we’re creating an opportunity for our fellow Coz divers to get involved and make their own contribution to such an important cause…and we’ll all be having a great time while we’re at it! A beach, sunshine, awesome company, a few beers and doing something great for the environment…what’s not to love about that?!?
I’m excited to put my passion for ocean conservation into practice, to get out there and do some real good for the underwater world I love so much. I’m proud to be an AWARE diver and I appreciate how the AWARE specialty programs have helped me to be better equipped to engage others in important discussions about the issues and their solutions. Knowledge IS power, you know. Stay tuned to hear about how the clean-up goes and hopefully also a little wisdom about how to make your own clean-up event a success.
Cheers and Happy Holidays!
- Ten Gifts to Give the Ocean (motherjones.com)