It’s a well-known fact that only about a quarter of the earth’s surface is composed of dry land. The remainder consists of water in it’s various unique bodies, some minute and others huge – brooks, creeks, canals and rivers as well as ponds, lakes, gulfs and seas. And flowing between the continents are the oceans, miles wide and deep. Providers of food to millions of humans and homes to a vast multitude of plants and animals, the world’s waters impact our lives in numerous ways, from affecting the weather to influencing how we work and play.
Yet we impact these areas as well, and not always for the better. The ravages inflicted upon our water are numerous and have been occurring for years. Pollution caused by industrialization, transportation and accidents threaten human and animal life, and over-fishing can lead to the total extinction of a species. Fear and ignorance has resulted in countless numbers of sharks killed for no good reason. Even something as simple as dropping an anchor in the wrong spot can cause extensive damage to a coral reef. Carelessness today can easily lead to global-scale disaster tomorrow.
In 1989, a group of individuals involved with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (or PADI for short) realized that the world they loved was in jeopardy of ultimately being destroyed unless something was done. And who better to recruit for the task than fellow divers who loved the water and would be mutually interested in saving it? So began Project Aware, a vital force in the fight to protect the planet’s aquatic ecosystems.
With members in over 180 countries and territories, Project AWARE seeks to stem and turn the tide of environmental irresponsibility through a blend of education and action. So not only do concerned divers learn what can be done via meetings, workshops and online resources, they put the knowledge to work. Such programs include petitioning governments and organizations to be mindful of problems, debris cleanup outings, coral reef monitoring efforts, and shark reporting activities.
Whether through acts big or small, each of us can do a part to protect the seas. It can be something as easy as treating marine life with respect and always remembering that we are a visitor to their world…a world who’s fate we hold in our hands.
For more information, visit the Project AWARE website at www.projectaware.org