If you have followed along with us and our AWARE Week 2019 posts this past week then you know that being an AWARE diver involves more than your actions underwater.
Being an AWARE diver involves taking steps across your whole life in order to help protect and conserve the ocean.
While some of us are lucky enough to live right on the coast or on beautiful islands that top every diver’s bucket list, most of us don’t. As a result we can face a bit of the “out of sight, out of mind” challenge when it comes to being active ocean conservationists.
But just because we don’t live directly on the coast does not mean that our actions do not still have impacts on the ocean. Here are a few ways those of us who live in landlocked places like Washington DC can incorporate the AWARE principles into our everyday lives:
1. Participate in local clean ups
Trash that ends up in waterways like the Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay, or Rock Creek matters just as much as trash that is directly thrown in the ocean!
Part of being an AWARE diver includes thinking about the ecosystem holistically and considering how all of our waterways are connected through the watershed. A plastic bottle that enters the Chesapeake Bay watershed through the Rock Creek is just as damaging as one which winds up in the Atlantic Ocean in Ocean City.
You can learn more about marine debris in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the mid-Atlantic and what you can do to help here.
Blue Planet regularly hosts clean ups around the DC area and organizes Dives Against Debris in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months.
2. Reduce sneaky plastic waste
Man-made fabrics like polyester, nylon, and acrylic (aka your fancy technical athletic shirt and pricey leggings) break down in washing machines washing billions of microplastic particles into the wastewater systems. Because these particles are so small they are not filtered out during traditional wastewater treatment processes and as a result end up being washed into the local waterways.
3. Use your voice
Speak up in favor of local and federal legislation which support conservation measures, encourage changes in production, and that support carbon offset and reduction initiatives. Following organizations like Oceana is an easy way to find out about major federal legislative actions which will impact the ocean.
Ask local companies that you patronize to incorporate sustainable changes. If enough of a business’s customers vocalize support for sustainable actions like reducing food waste and better recycling practices they will be more likely to incorporate these changes into their business models.
When you patronize large multinational corporations be sure to research the company and the products you buy from them. Ensure sustainability and transparency are priorities and avoid those items that are derived from palm (palm oil and palm sugar) and squalene (cosmetics, fish liver oil, and pet food). Remember, money talks!
4. Choose less meat
Making smarter seafood choices using tools like using the Seafood Watch guide or looking for the MSC blue fish label are great ways to ensure you are making ocean smart dietary choices. But being AWARE means taking a bigger look at the impact our diets have on the world.
Current factory livestock farming practices are one of the biggest contributors to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, ocean dead zones, and water shortages. Going meat free even one day a week can have major benefits both for you and the environment.
Understanding the role our diets play in climate change can seem like a daunting subject to understand and thinking about how to make smarter choices can be overwhelming. There are a number of resources out there which can help you understand your diet and the environment like the interactive New York Times guide to Food and Climate Change.
Incorporating AWARE principles into your life outside of the ocean can seem like a daunting task. But being an AWARE conservationist does not have to be a challenge. Simple changes like eating one less meat centered meal per week or participating in one local waterway clean up can have positive impacts not just on the environment but can also inspire behavioral changes in your friends, loved ones, and community.
Remember that a lot of people making small changes actually means big changes are occurring.
“You are not a drop in the ocean, You are the entire ocean in one drop.” -Emily De Sousa
Happy AWARE Week 2019!
As a 100% AWARE dive shop we here at Blue Planet DC are especially excited for AWARE Week 2019 and we hope you are too. To kick off the week, let’s take a brief look at the history and mission of Project AWARE.
What is Project AWARE?
Project AWARE began as a set of environmental ethics held by PADI instructors and incorporated into the PADI teaching methodology. These included the 10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Environment which were originally called the 10 Ways. In 1989, PADI founded Project AWARE as a separate non-profit entity fully focused on protecting our oceans.
Today, Project AWARE is involved in marine conservation efforts around the world. This includes supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to the protection of sharks through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as well as providing small grants to communities researching ways to protect and conserve the ocean. A full list of Project AWARE’s partners and alliances can be found here.
In addition to the active role it plays in different marine conservation efforts globally, Project AWARE provides educational tools to dive shops, tour operators and divers. As divers are often the first to witness changes in the ocean that can be overwhelming, tools like the Project AWARE “10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Environment” can prove beneficial.
What are the “10 Tips”?
What can you do right now?
Then, follow Blue Planet on Instagram and Facebook all week as we explore the Project AWARE 10 Tips each day and how to apply these tips to our diving habits and our everyday life. We’ll be sharing information about ways to get involved with conservation, ongoing research, current events in marine conservation, as well as lots of Blue Planet classes and trips.
And finally, sure to stop by the shop and check out all of the Project AWARE classes we offer and join us for a local clean up. There are lots of ways you can take action this week!
Happy AWARE Week 2019!
Mark your calendar and get ready to come on in to the shop on Saturday, September 28th for our Fall Clearance Sale! We’ve pulled together discontinued or overstocked items that need to go and are offering them at super-low prices. This is a one-day sale so be sure not to miss it!
In celebration of the ocean, the second annual AWARE Week is taking place around the world September 14-22, 2019. Aimed at empowering more divers to look after the underwater world, a full week of conservation activities and actions will take place.
Blue Planet has teamed up with Project AWARE and PADI to host a week full of activities for divers and other ocean-lovers in DC. From AWARE courses focused on tackling ocean pollution, to creating awareness for vulnerable shark and ray species, to empowering local communities to take positive actions for the protection of fragile aquatic environments, all are welcome — fins on and fins off.
Check out the schedule below and sign up for an event today!
Friday-Sunday, September 13-15
Wreck Diving in North Carolina — Earn the Fish ID or AWARE Shark Conservation Diver specialties! (FULL)
Tuesday, September 17
Project AWARE Specialty — Bring a friend for free!
Thursday, September 19
AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Specialty — Bring a friend for free!
Saturday-Wednesday, September 21-25
Coral Restoration trip to the Florida Keys — Earn the Coral Restoration Distinctive Specialty, Fish ID and AWARE Shark Conservation Diver!
Saturday, September 21
International Coastal Cleanup: Dive Against Debris @ Sandy Point State Park
Sunday, September 22
International Coastal Cleanup @ Rock Creek Park
Here are 4 reasons you should join us for this event…
1) It’s the International Coastal Cleanup day! Join thousands of volunteers around the world and keep our seas trash-free.
2) It’s AWARE Week! All week long we’ll be hosting events for divers who want to protect our oceans.
3) Earn a specialty! Help clean up the Chesapeake and Sandy Point State Park and earn a specialty certification while you’re at it. Let us know if you are interested in the Dive Against Debris Specialty and getting one step closer to your Master Scuba Diver rating.
4) Non-divers are welcome too! Your friends and family can help pick up trash along the shore while we search underwater.
When: Saturday, September 21, 2019 starting at 8:00 AM
Where: Sandy Point State Park, 1100 East College Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21409
We can do a picnic brunch on the beach following the dive, or head into downtown Annapolis. Carpooling is recommended! We’ll put together a ride list once people have signed up.
RSVP: Send us an email to let us know you’re interested. Space is limited, so don’t wait!
Do you want to stay down longer and enjoy the surroundings? Dive computers enable you to do that and should be at the top of every beginner or advanced diver’s list! Whether you’re picking out your first computer or you’re ready to replace your old one, this is a great opportunity to learn about key features, latest advancements and answer the questions: What do the numbers on the screen mean and why should I care?
When: Tuesday, September 24 starting at 7:00 PM
Where: Blue Planet shop
Simply Free. Buy any qualifying* Aqua Lung Regulator & BCD, and get a FREE Octopus or Airsource!
- Excludes the Aqua Lung Calypso Regulator, Wave BCD, and All Aqua Lung Packages. Offer valid August 15, 2019 – October 31, 2019 or while supplies last at participating Aqua Lung retailers in the U.S and Canada. Not valid with any other specials or promotions.
- For the octopus, you will get the matching octopus for the regulator that you purchased. For example, if you buy a Legend regulator, you get the Legend Octopus or a free Airsource.
- This offer extends to Apeks too!
Join the Blue Planet Stream Team in cleaning up our adopted portion of Rock Creek Park as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup!
WHEN: Sunday, September 22 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
WHERE: Meet up in the parking lot across from Peirce Mill on Tilden Street right before it crosses Beach Drive and turns into Park Road. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the Cleveland Park Metro station.
WHAT TO BRING: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (you may get wet). Bring yard gloves if you have them. And don’t forget water — in a reusable container, of course.
IMPORTANT: Please click here to be directed to an online waiver which all attendees must complete!
Become a Master Scuba Diver and you could win a dive vacation!
Become a PADI® Master Scuba Diver™ and join the best of the best in recreational scuba diving. A Master Scuba Diver rating places you among an elite group in which fewer than 2% of divers ever join. Your Master Scuba Diver Card is proof that you’ve invested significant time in your dive training, accumulating scuba experiences and skills that allow you to maximize your potential and ability for underwater exploration and adventure.
To take the challenge, earn your PADI Master Scuba Diver Rating from August 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019 and you could win a dream dive vacation at any Beaches Resort with locations in Jamaica (Ocho Rios & Negril) and Turks & Caicos.
The prize package includes:
- Luxurious accommodations for 2 adults and 2 kids (age 15 and under)
- Unlimited 5-Star Global Gourmet Dining at world-class restaurants
- Unlimited Premium Liquors & Wines
- Daily & Nightly Entertainment with beach parties, stage shows, live bands & more!
- Unrivaled Land & Watersports including daily scuba diving for certified divers.
- Free Wi-Fi, All Tips & Resort Taxes, Beaches Airport Transfers & more!
View official rules for more details. (Coming soon!)
How do you become a Master Scuba Diver?
Blue Planet has raised the stakes for Master Scuba Diver hopefuls…
Earn your Master Scuba Diver rating with Blue Planet between January 1, 2019-December 1, 2019 and you’ll be entered to win a Suunto EON Core dive computer!
Feeling inspired by Shark Week? Come to this special talk by Dr. David Shiffman to learn more about sharks, the threats they face and how we can help protect them as divers.
Dr. David Shiffman is a marine conservation biologist studying sharks, and an award winning conservation biologist. He’s written for the “Washington Post” and “Scientific American” and has a monthly column in “SCUBA Diving” magazine. Follow him on Twitter @whysharksmatter where he’s always happy to answer any questions anyone has about sharks.
When: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 starting at 7:00 PM
Where: Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro (1801 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)