Over the past few weeks, I got to experience a side of Reef-World that I’ve never seen before, one that embodies the ever-present ‘inspire and empower’ of the Reef-World mission statement. It was my first time being part of Green Fins implementation on a national level, it gave me a different perspective of the work that we do and a bigger, more international, scope to the reach we have as such a small numbered team.
With the guidance of JJ and Sam, I was part of the Green Fins Assessor Training in “Pristine Paradise Palau’, the first Green Fins country in the Pacific AND the 8th active Green Fins country! Before the trip to Palau, I assisted Sam in a training for the Philippines’ government and, once we came back from the pristine paradise, I got the chance to participate as a guest speaker on SSI’s event Free Dive for the Future, which took place in Mactan, Cebu, Philippines.
Over about three weeks, I interacted with three very different and important audiences that Green Fins reaches out to: national level teams (Palau and Philippines), the diving industry (Palau) and dive tourists (Mactan). You can see how being the Coordinator of communications for Green Fins can be complex sometimes! But it just shows the reach and amplitude of the initiative, there are so many different ways and channels that we can use in order to change perceptions toward a more sustainable and conscious interaction with the marine environment.
It was eye-opening. While doing one of the snorkel assessments in Palau, with local Assessor Marley Kloulubak, I realized I was in the middle of the Pacific on a boat with 10 Chinese tourists, 1 Bangladeshi boat crew, 1 Filipino boat crew, 2 Palauans and me, a Costa Rican; all sharing one experience for many different reasons. There and then I could see it so clearly, the complete supply and demand chain within the tourism industry. For whatever reason each one of us was there for, it was all directly influenced by the healthy state of coral reefs, and the marine environment.
The diving and snorkelling tourism industry directly depend on healthy oceans, and it is through these experiences that we at Reef-World have the chance to make a change. Experiences that give light to that flame inside, and remind us of why we work so hard every day!