This year the international community is celebrating coral reefs, 2018 was declared as the International Year of the Reef (IYOR). The third IYOR was launched by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) as it is recognised that reefs are facing an uphill battle against global changes in climate, ocean acidification and a host of local threats. When working in conservation, or if you are interested in any type of conservation movement, is not new to know that nature is suffering and that the reason for it usually boils down to one thing, humans.

For us in Reef-World IYOR was a great opportunity to raise awareness, and certainly, it was for me. Since I graduated from university, back in 2010, I knew that I wanted to apply my knowledge and skills towards raising environmental awareness. It seemed very obvious back then, and unfortunately, it still is, how people tend to isolate their day to day lives from nature. Not thinking about their actions and even less on the consequences.

During last years' Green Fins implementation in Palau, I had the opportunity to see some of the most stunning coral reefs. Crazy to think that all reefs used to look like this at some point!

During last years' Green Fins implementation in Palau, I had the opportunity to see some of the most stunning coral reefs. Crazy to think that all reefs used to look like this at some point!

Our everyday actions have environmental impacts. Even those living in cities far from the coastline can have an impact on the marine environment. Do you smoke? Do you flick your cigarette butt on the floor when you’re done? That cigarette butt can very easily travel from the drain to the ocean, and the chemicals found in one cigarette butt can leach out and contaminate approximately 7.5 litres of water within one hour. Are you aware of the CO2 emissions of your daily commute? Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere heats up the Earth and the oceans absorb most of this excess heat. Heat absorbed by the ocean is moved from one place to another, but it doesn’t disappear. The heat energy eventually re-enters the rest of the Earth system by melting ice shelves, evaporating water, or directly reheating the atmosphere. Many buzz words like climate change, ocean acidification and rising sea levels; come out this equation. I’m not even going to get started on the issue of plastics, that would be another blog in itself.

In a nutshell, there are MANY problems, and to have one organisation tackling ALL of them is not very realistic. What we do is to help a specific group, the diving industry, to lessen their environmental impact. The diving industry, like any other tourism industry, has many impacts on the marine environment, and it is through Green Fins that we help them tackle those threats.

To celebrate IYOR we decided to make a special effort to spread the Green Fins message and get as many people involved as possible! Social media has become one of the most influential communication channels, with recent studies showing that people are starting to expand their use of social media platforms. Revealing trends where social begins to overtake search engines. Using this new understanding we want to make the user experience more enriching and in doing so, more beneficial for the reefs! And for that reason, we released the #GreenFinsIYOR2018 social media campaign.

The social media campaign aims to make sustainable diving practices the social norm, by promoting pragmatic solutions to key local threats identified through years of work with the dive industry; and encouraging other stakeholders, like equipment manufacturers, to take action to reduce the pressures on coral reefs.  If you are not yet following Green Fins on social media, this is the year to start!! It is never too late, you won't miss a thing because all the posts, hashtags and relevant information are collected in one place:

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#RedefineTheDive and help save our reefs this #IYOR2018!