Project AWARE® and PADI® are once again mobilizing the global dive community to be citizen activists for a healthier ocean during the second annual AWARE Week. From 14-22 September 2019, ocean lovers around the world are invited to join conservation activities focused on ocean protection.
“Working together with Project AWARE, our long-time partner in conservation, and PADI Dive Centers and Resorts around the world, AWARE Week empowers even more scuba divers to truly be a force for good,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide and Project AWARE Chairman of the Board. “Whether it’s reporting Dive Against Debris data, making every dive a survey dive, saying ‘no’ to single-use plastics or making a conscious effort to reduce your plastic footprint, no action is too small to make a difference. AWARE Week provides the tools and inspiration to educate and encourage local action for global impact.”
Coinciding with International Coastal Cleanup Day on 21 September, AWARE Week 2019 encourages dive professionals and the global dive community to lead or take part in AWARE Week activities and courses. Many of the activities will focus on tackling ocean pollution, raising awareness about plastic pollution, and empowering local communities to take positive actions for a clean and healthy ocean.
Ever since the landmark television miniseries Blue Planet II, ocean plastic pollution has become a popular topic: Recent studies estimate that as much as 250 million metric tons of plastic could make its way into the ocean by 2025. AWARE Week marks the perfect time to focus on this issue through local community action and active participation in Dive Against Debris®, Project AWARE’s flagship citizen-science program.
Although it’s believed more than 70 percent of marine debris entering the ocean ends up on the seafloor, little quantitative information is available regarding the types and quantities of this trash. The Dive Against Debris program aims to fill this gap, providing quantitative data and an accurate perspective about underwater marine debris to drive policy change. Dive Against Debris data collected during AWARE Week and throughout the year helps Project AWARE highlight the underwater view of ocean plastic pollution, and identify target areas where waste-prevention efforts are needed most.
“We can all be part of the solution. Lead the way for your student divers or friends and family to become ocean activists. Provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to protect our ocean planet on every dive or at home,” says Danna Moore, Project AWARE Global Operations Director. “Our collective actions add up to big results and take us one step closer to a clean ocean.”
In addition to equipping divers with the skills needed to conduct Dive Against Debris surveys, AWARE Week is also designed to bring together divers from all over the world to be a voice for the ocean and act for change. From learning about tips to protect the ocean planet to understanding how underwater citizen science and marine debris data can help affect policy change, AWARE specialty courses give ocean enthusiasts the power to protect the ocean, with or without their fins, this AWARE Week and all year.
During AWARE Week, PADI and Project AWARE invite PADI Dive Centers, Resorts and Professionals to make a positive impact for a healthier ocean by prioritizing initiatives focused on conservation-minded practices, teaching the Project AWARE Specialty and Dive Against Debris Specialty courses, and making every dive a survey dive. Download teaching materials and conservation tools from the Project AWARE website at www.projectaware.org/tools, and stay tuned for the new AWARE Week 2019 Toolkit.
Divers, contact your PADI Dive Center or Resort to learn more about how you can take part locally to make a difference globally.