With so much beauty below the surface to explore, diving enthusiasts are, understandably, a conservation-minded group, and none more so than the members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, who are deeply invested in raising awareness of conservation and restoration of the oceans.
“Our vision is to achieve balance between humanity and the ocean,” says PADI. “We will do this by rallying millions of Ocean Torchbearers – a global force for good that can be mobilized to restore ocean health and support our coastal communities around the world.
The World Diving Organization is appealing to the public to join them in their noble efforts, as the statistics surrounding ocean conservation are shocking – and climate change is largely to blame.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the world’s average sea surface temperature has risen 1.3 C over the past century, putting subsurface marine ecosystems like coral reefs at risk. , which have literally lost their vibrant color en masse due to the mass bleaching events. The sea level rises. The very chemistry of the seas and oceans has changed. It’s more acidic – and it’s a less than favorable environment for sea creatures to thrive – due to humanity’s harmful pollution. Seagrass beds and mangroves are rapidly retreating, at the rate of two football pitches per hour, according to a PADI blog.
“It will take all of us working together, united by our passion and armed with a clear plan of action, to turn the dial towards a healthy future for people and the planet,” adds PADI.
The organization’s current campaigns are numerous and include Green Fins, which focuses on the preservation of coral reefs; an initiative to restore blue carbon ecosystems like swamps and salt marshes; a campaign to grow underwater vegetation in partnership with The Ocean Foundation’s SeaGrass Grow program; Dive Against Debris, the largest citizen science movement in the world; and the protection of sharks in collaboration with CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora.
“Divers are a unique and essential voice for the ocean,” says PADI. “No matter who or where you are (even if you dive or not!), you have a valuable role to play, and your voice matters.”
PADI 30×30 Goal: Protect 30% of the ocean by 2030
Around 71% of the Earth is covered in water – and PADI is partnering with SeaLegacy, a collective of concerned filmmakers, storytellers and photographers, to protect 30% of the seas by 2030.
“There is still hope to save the ocean, if we unite and act now,” says PADI. “Partnering with SeaLegacy allows us to amplify the creation of meaningful and actionable steps to protect our blue planet and all life that inhabits it.”
This concern and this action are nothing new for the organization of diving.
“PADI turns 56 this year. Meanwhile, PADI Members have made PADI the largest diver training organization on the planet,” says Drew Richardson, longtime diver and CEO and President of PADI. “Your leadership and initiative are key to conveying the brand values through the PADI Pillars of Change.
“By harnessing the power of the PADI brand as a force for good that connects people, together we foster a global community of engaged and resilient divers. PADI has always been proud of our core purpose and the role we play in making the world a better place.
This 30% goal can have a significant impact, PADI informs, in restoring the health of waterways. It will reverse existing damage, support ecosystems, impact resilience to climate change, help wildlife habitats, and restore ocean health and well-being.
“Clearly we need more ocean protection,” says PADI. “Therefore, SeaLegacy and PADI have launched a joint 30×30 campaign to generate immediate and positive action for our ocean. Moreover, this collaboration aims to inspire, support and create meaningful change around the world to achieve this important and bold goal. Additionally, it will be a multi-year alliance that will begin with a grassroots campaign and a global petition.
The scuba diving giant’s blog shares opportunities for everyone to do their part, like signing the PADI x SeaLegacy 30×30 petition, which will challenge world leaders to increase ocean protection before the start of the decade. To date, the organization has received over 27,000 signatures with a goal of reaching 50,000.
Partnerships are key to protecting the oceans
PADI, with a global network of over 6,600 dive centers and resorts around the world, knows that no one can accomplish such a monumental task as ocean preservation alone, which is why partnerships are so essential. to the mission.
Along with the PADI AWARE Foundation and The Ocean Cleanup, PADI is pioneering a program “to inform ocean-friendly waste management policies in countries around the world through data collection.”
Diving members are first and foremost on the front line. More than 2 million pieces of debris have been removed from the ocean thanks to PADI Torchbearers, according to Richardson. And that work has also helped more than 10,000 entangled marine animals, according to the organization.
Watchermaker Seiko and PADI have partnered with the global diving community to provide vital survey data for use by marine researchers and policy makers for conservation efforts.
PADI is also involved in The Ocean Foundation’s SeaGrass Grow program to enable diving adventures that preserve seagrass beds and mangroves and have a low or zero carbon footprint.
PADI states that scientists estimate that a seagrass bed equivalent to the size of a football field is lost every 20 minutes; the organization claims this is due to carbon emissions associated with travel. The Ocean Foundation has stepped up efforts to provide disaster relief and community support in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Florida after being impacted by Hurricane Ian in 2022.
Richardson says as people continue to connect with the ocean, the idea of saving the waters becomes second nature.
“As a PADI member, you make a difference every day,” says Richardson. “You have the power and influence to inspire possibilities and create life-changing opportunities for countless people, a truly empowering and honorable purpose behind why we dive.”
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