Scuba diving is so much more than just a sport: it’s an identity. Think about the last time you wanted to find out if someone shared your passion. Did you ask, “Do you scuba dive?” Or did you ask, “Are you a diver?” Nine times out of 10, it’s the latter. You don’t just dive — you’re a diver. It becomes a part of you. There is something special about being a diver that brings people together and creates a community. People protect what they love, what they feel connected to. And the bond divers feel between each other and the ocean is remarkable. That’s why we’re some of the most powerful advocates for ocean protection. It’s from this recognition that the Green Your Fins video idea was born.
Green Fins recognizes that power and gives divers a way to channel their voice for maximum effect. By adopting the Green Fins ethos, divers and dive centers do everything within their power to reduce their harmful impacts on the marine environment. Green Fins aims to create a completely sustainable diving industry now, so that the diving community, and the ocean they love, can have a long and sustainable future.
Why should you Green your Fins?
A more sustainable diving industry can only exist if the entire diving community —business owners, leisure divers, manufacturing companies and diving agencies — works together. By prioritizing ocean protection with every decision, the diving community prioritizes its future.
But where do you begin? How can you make a positive change to create a sustainable diving industry? Green your Fins! The first step is seeing beyond your individual experience and understanding the impacts of the entire diving industry. Imagine you are part of a fluid and powerful shoal of fish. You are an individual fish made stronger by the community of fish surrounding you and protecting you. Your survival is dependent upon the actions of the community mirroring your own. The whole community must strive for sustainability.
How to Green your Fins
Think back to your last dive. Was your food served in single-use plastic containers? Were you told where you could responsibly dispose of your trash? Did you accidentally hit some corals with your fins? Business owners, does your captain anchor on dive sites? What does staff do with the trash on the boat? Are your guests keeping their distance from the reef?
These are just some of the impacts the diving industry can have on the ocean and the diving community. On their own they may seem small, but multiplied by all the dive trips, dive shops, and guests in popular diving destinations around the world and the potential impact soon spirals.
To address these threats, UN Environment and The Reef-World Foundation have been working closely with the diving community for over a decade through the Green Fins initiative. Dive centers that have signed up to be Green Fins members have pledged to follow a set of environmentally friendly standards, known as the Green Fins Code of Conduct. These standards help members identify the different kinds of threats their businesses could pose to the marine environment. Trained assessors conduct Green Fins assessments of each member annually.
Assessors critique the operation above, below, and on the water based on the Code of Conduct. Members can work with assessors to identify exactly what they are doing to protect or to threaten the ocean. Afterwards, assessors give each member a tailored consultation, helping these proactive businesses find simple solutions to minimize their risk to the environment. What might seem like an extra effort is often not as taxing as it appears, and it pays off dividends when the core member of the diving community — the reef — continues to provide for the businesses that rely on it.
Over the years, Green Fins assessors have collected a wealth of knowledge and experience from members of the diving industry who have successfully implemented actions that put the reef first. These have been poured into the creation of a whole suite of Green Fins materials. These are designed to help divers easily adapt to more environmentally friendly practices. By sharing their knowledge and their passion, the diving industry has recently guided the development of nine brand new “Green Fins How-To videos,” designed to help business managers implement the Code of Conduct, and to show divers what they should expect from an environmentally friendly dive center.
Reef-World will release one Green Your Fins video per month over the next nine months, starting on March 15. The videos will be free for anyone to see and to use. Follow the Green Fins website, YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to become part of the community and see sustainable diving in action.
The videos will also be featured in the Green Fins Dive Center operational handbook, which is only one click away. By accessing the handbook, you’ll have over a decade’s worth of solutions to common environmental problems in a user-friendly e-book. You can purchase the handbook by following this link.
Video No. 1: Pre-Dive Environmental Briefings
The first Green Your Fins How-To video showcases one of the most important things a dive center can do to protect the ocean. It outlines exactly what a dive guide should say to inspire divers to be responsible right before jumping in the water. Divers are used to the standard pre-dive briefing. But they should also know that this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about how they can protect the environment on their dive. Divers rely directly on the health of the marine environment, so they must do everything within their power to protect it. These videos will show you how.