Dive for Earth Day

By Annabel Thomas

For The Bali Times

SEMINYAK ~ You – yes you reading this article – you care about the environment, don’t you?

So why not do something you’ve not done before?

Organize a marine conservation activity around the week of Earth Day, April 22 (or any time between late March and early May – no excuses about “busy schedules”) and join divers and water enthusiasts worldwide who are all making a splash for water conservation.

Underwater environments continue to face numerous and alarming threats, including pollution, habitat degradation, overfishing and the effects of climate change. Project AWARE, in partnership with Dive for Earth Day, organizers and volunteers focus attention on local shorelines, rivers, lakes and ocean environments in need of protection.

Plan of Attack:

1. Select a Dive for Earth Day activity to benefit your local aquatic environment.

2. Gain any necessary approval from relevant governing bodies and entities (e.g. banjar) involved.

3. Register your Dive for Earth Day activity online at www.coral.org/divein/register and you could receive a free organizer support packet full of outreach and educational materials

OR with www.projectaware.org/asiapac/sforms/DiveForEarthDay/signup_survey_form.asp and receive Project AWARE support materials and tools for your event.

4. Gather local dive volunteers and Dive for Earth Day.

For activity ideas (such as a fun, educational class for kids; an underwater cleanup; a mooring buoy installation; a fundraising concert), visit www.coral.org/divein/activityideas or www.projectaware.org

Following the success of Project AWARE’s Asia Pacific fish survey in 2006, the Project AWARE Asia Pacific team is encouraging everyone to grab their dive slates and Fish ID charts and take part in the 2007 Asia Pacific fish survey. This year’s survey has an additional monitoring element with divers also being able to contribute coral reef health data using the CoralWatch technique: www.projectaware.org/asiapac/english/activities/coral_monitoring.asp

You can participate in or organize Dive for Earth Day activities like Asia Pacific Fish Survey, CoralWatch surveys, shoreline and underwater cleanups, AWARE Kids activities and more.

Earth Day began in the US on April 22, 1970, to raise the status of environment issues to the global stage. On the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, in 2000, Project AWARE began to help organize dive volunteers and put aquatic issues on the Earth Day map. Since then, thousands of divers in more than 115 countries around the world have helped protect underwater environments and educate local communities each April.

In 2006 there were 391 organizers from 74 countries – so become a part of something big, and jump right in.

The writer is director of AquaMarine Diving, Bali.

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