Our oceans suffer. We are loosing the wonders that inhabit underwater. More and more the number of its inhabitants vanishes as if, pursued by a curse, nothing could be done to avoid a fateful destiny. Some Organizations state that without a change, in 2050 the oceans will be empty. We divers have been given the unique opportunity in history to explore a world, until a few years ago, totally unknown for human kind. This gift should bring us certain responsibilities.
The oceans need us. They need protectors who understand that the value of their beauty is infinitely higher than the value of their inhabitants in the market. And those protectors must be divers. We need to take on the role of ocean gardeners. We have to care of our garden and protect it so no one destroys our most beloved treasure. The responsibility to preserve it for future generations is ours.
It is true that NGOs that protect the environment have great support thanks to Social Media. And this is very good for our oceans. Nowadays, the complaints and the social movements seem to be more efficient when they arise from the internet rather than the demonstrations in the streets. So, we would like to remind you that any like / share / support... that you give is a good help.
Sadly, many times, the good intentions that we have in the Social Media disappear as soon as we begin our immersion
Sadly, many times, the good intentions that we have in front of the screen of our telephone or computer disappear as soon as we begin our immersion. We like it or not, we all have to accept that many times, we divers damage the oceans. It is very important to understand which are those harming attitudes. Today our desire is, if you do not want to actively help, at least that you commit yourself not to worsen the situation.
Let's see how:
1-Nothing happens: This is the worst threat to our oceans. The attitude of "nothing happens, it's not that dangerous, it will not be that bad ..." You have to understand that no matter how small, each of our actions adds up to all the small actions of millions of divers around the world. In both directions. If we destroy a little bit each, together we destroy a lot. If we protect a little each, together we protect a lot. So don't excuse yourself with "nothing happens". Don't allow anybody, diver, instructor or guide to excuse himself with the nothing happens. Yes, it happens.
2- Bottom contact is forbidden: In how many of your dives have you seen divers kicking the bottom? If you are not able to control your trim or your buoyancy and you are diving over a sensitive bottom, please, stay away from it. The amount of corals and other inhabitants of the bottom killed by fins, tanks, knees or hands is scary. Of course global warming or dynamite fishing are some of the major reason for the destruction of our corals. This doesn't mean that because others do worst is fine if you just do a little bad.
3- Don't touch: Touching is one of the worst behaviours ever. You can kill, let undefended or stress poor beings that the only thing they are trying to do is to survive. Life for them is very hard. Every day they must fight for their survival. We divers are there to look, not to touch. Touching animals or coral can be as damaging in the long term as intentionally killing or catching them.
4-Don't feed: There was a case of those poor Napoleon Wrasse in the Red Sea that were feed with boiled eggs and started dying of cholesterol. Feeding kills fish. It changes fish behaviour and it is harming for the whole ecosystem. Think that each fish has a particular and very important role on the delicate ecosystem. Please, don't feed the fish, they are not pets. You have to realise that you are visiting the wild, not a zoo.
5-Don't take souvenirs home: Whatever you find underwater is there for a reason. Apart of the rubbish, that you can take as much as you want, everything there has a porpoise and you can easily break a survival chain of some animals just by taking a nice shell home. Although individually these actions may seem small, if everyone did the same the ramifications would be devastating
The most important:
Sadly, most divers are not clear about these points. Every day we have to remind them in our briefings. Paradoxically, the most difficult barrier in convincing divers about this attitudes are many of our fellow instructors. Since they also touch, feed, destroy and excuse themselves with nothing happens. We receive criticism of the type: you are too strict, you are wrong, this is not so, etc. There are many dive centers that have as usual business procedure to feed the fish, put in the student's hand some poor defenceless animal and other similar practices. Only a few other divers reprimand these attitudes to professionals.
So if you find yourself in a situation where professionals break any of these points, please take action number 6:
6-Report it: Don't allow it to happen. Complain to the boss. If no one cares, write a review on their Facebook or Tripadvisor page. Leave written that the dive center supports harmful attitudes for the oceans and their inhabitants. So other divers will be warned. Again, your little action may not lead to anything. But many small complaints will surely change the attitude of such professional or dive center.
So we have given you 6 small attitudes that will help not to worsen the delicate situation of the oceans. As you will observe they are not great actions that require of you a great effort. But they are small attitudes that at least do not overturn the work of other activists who dedicate their efforts daily to save the greatest wonder of our world, the Oceans.