viernes, 3 de junio de 2011


We've talked about how to assess your current habits, as well as simple steps you can take at home and abroad. But divers have the exceptional opportunity to extend conservation, preservation and cleanup efforts to below the surface. The great and vast bodies of water that are a diver's paradise face many threats in the modern world. As witnesses to these threats, divers can be stewards, taking a giant stride into the preservation and care of these ecosystems.

Test your skills. One of the best ways to minimize your impact on the ecosystem you are exploring is to develop and hone your skills. Talk to your dive shop about any environmental training they host. The more you enhance your knowledge as a diver, the more comfortable and adept you will be at underwater exploration. Buoyancy skills are particularly important. You want to explore the reef, wreck or riverbed with ease, not bump into delicate marine life, so practice. An important aspect of buoyancy is ensuring you are correctly weighted; if you are overweighted or underweighted it may be difficult to compensate, making for not only a less comfortable dive, but also a less controlled dive, which increases your likelihood of bumping into things. If you go careening into the reef, you can damage the very ecosystem you are exploring. Prior to the dive, be sure to secure any loose equipment. During the dive, streamline your body position; dragging gauges and swimming with limbs akimbo make you less of an observer of the underwater world and more of a bull in a china shop, wreaking havoc on the coral reefs.

Look out below. If you are diving from a boat, be careful with anchors and chains; do not drag them along reefs or beds of sea grass. Instead drop anchor in sandy areas to minimize impact or, if possible, use mooring buoys.

Respect the locals. Prior to your dives, learn about the ecosystem you are exploring, so you know how to dive it safely and conscientiously. Learn about the marine life you may encounter, and be sure to respect any wildlife you see.
Give creatures their space; don't disturb cleaning stations, touch reefs, harass or feed the fish or shine lights in animals' eyes.

Leave only bubbles. Be aware as you dive—don't disturb the ecosystem. You are there to observe and enjoy, not disturb and destroy. If you see trash, pick it up and responsibly dispose of it in a proper waste receptacle. During your time beneath the surface take away only trash, photos and memories. Do not take souvenirs and do not leave behind gear or waste.

Help a greenhorn. If you are an instructor, a dive buddy or a friend to a new diver, teaching them to dive conscientiously is a great way to perpetuate the trend of environmentally responsible diving. Help them hone their buoyancy skills, advise them on how to keep equipment safely stowed and teach them how to navigate delicate marine environments. Passing on your knowledge helps new divers develop their own eco-conscious habits and fosters a healthy respect of the underwater world.

Support sustainability. Whether it's fish identification, underwater photography or shipwreck exploration, many divers like to incorporate other passions into their diving. Why not help out with conservation and research efforts? Talk to local dive shops and environmental organizations about how you can participate in coral health assessments, during which you examine coral's color and health and report your observations to scientists or local environmental groups who are monitoring the reef. You can participate in fish counts or in cleanup days; cleanup days are often offered both above and below the surface. If you do notice damage to the reef, be sure to report it to local authorities, whether dive operations, law enforcement, scientists or conservation organizations; no matter who you tell, do your part to ensure the health and vitality of underwater ecosystems. In addition to hands-on involvement, you can support conservation efforts through sharing information with other divers or through donations to conservation organizations and research initiatives.

Earth Day is a wonderful celebration and reminder of how we interact with our planet. But as divers, the "Earth Day" way of thinking needs to be a way of life. There's no one in a better position to tell the story of the status of our world's waters, and no one with a greater chance to make sure they're protected.

Ways to Get Involved
For more information about events such as cleanup days, fish counts and more, explore some of these links:

Dive for Earth Day

Great Annual Fish Count

International Ocean Coastal Cleanup

Reef Check Volunteer Opportunities

World Ocean Day
Series Links

Part one "How Low Can You Go?"

Part two "Honing Habits at Home."

Part three "Sustainable Exploration."

Eco Divers: "Part four of the green diver series. addthis:url="

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