Have you all ever heard from your first Open Water class the tagline “Only leave bubbles”? Most scuba divers have the incredible privilege to witness 71% of our planet's tantalizing beauty that most people will never see. Scuba divers are crowd aware of the fragility of our environment with the repeated coral bleaching events and the marine life choking on plastic. However, to be a responsible diver, there are a few questions on traveling that need to be asked and answered on our own. What does it really mean exactly to travel more responsibly: Are we talking about ecotourism? Sustainable tourism? Or slow travel?
Responsible travel stands to raise awareness among travelers on how to minimize the negative impact of our trips while helping the local communities. Scuba diving trips are one niche of the ecotourism offer as we travel to see to natural ecosystems. The responsible travel philosophy is about travelers trying to make better choices, while sustainable tourism is more about operators planning better practices.
Here is a list of things to focus on to be a responsible diver:
- We recommend you to have a look at some great resources nearby, at your favorite library, or even online. There responsible diving program that was initiated back then and until now. These make fantastic educational content for scuba divers and dive centers to have a more respectful way to practice scuba diving. Some also advocate against single-use plastic, fish feeding activities, or marine life souvenirs.
- Remember the best waste is the one we don’t produce so 1 – reduce, 2 – reuse, 3 – if no other choice recycle.
- Trying to go zero-waste on cosmetics is one of the best practices we can adopt. Try and start to experiment making homemade products such as face foam cleanser, moisturizer, toothpaste, deodorant, hair conditioner. There are some stores that sell solid shampoo because it is way more convenient for travel.
- It is hard not to talk about the impact of the means of transportation we take as we travel. As scuba divers, it hits us hard: we often go to tropical destinations to admire the coral reefs of the warm seas. However, maybe we should ask ourselves every time if alternatives exist or if we can alternate tropical dive holidays with more local diving destinations. Pick a nearby destination you can go to without flying and enjoy the ride. If an exotic destination is your dream, then wait and plan accordingly to stay as long as possible, so there is a real benefit to your trip. Even by keeping traveling, there is a way to be a more responsible diver.
Trying to be a good dive buddy and a more responsible diver is not always easy. Whenever we can, the important thing is to acknowledge where we can improve and do better at the next opportunity.