How Reef-World continues to impress me for living progressive values and setting the platform to work towards co-created ocean-conscious models
Recently I shared my ideas on the sustainable society I would like to work towards with a friend of mine. We were discussing the unsustainability of our current model of society which has potentially catastrophic consequences including the probability of extinction of our species. We discussed the disconnect from the big picture by individuals, organisations and countries and the need for internal awareness, collaboration and contributionism.
As I started talking about Reef-World, I realised it incorporates a lot of those progressive values, despite the fact that it had not tapped into many of the technological potentials. Since the early days of my work, I have continued to be impressed with the approaches taken and the associated results they trickled down to, directly or indirectly.
Reef-World uses education as the tool to make local dive and snorkel operators aware of the importance and the threats to coral reefs, as well as how their business operations may directly pose a threat to reefs. Once people understand what is in their power and are given the right tools to change it, they take responsibility and action.
Empowering national/local communities
Essentially, the Green Fins initiative empowers local environmental champions who are well positioned to spread the knowledge in their communities for conservation action. National teams, often composed of Government and NGO representatives are equipped to run Green Fins autonomously. Local dive and snorkel operators, whose long-term sustainability depends on healthy reefs, are provided the right amount of knowledge, voluntary actions and tools at the right time, leading to continuous change. Rather than feeling overwhelming, it feels empowering.
Collaborative multi-stakeholder approach
Green Fins, as a comprehensive management approach initiated by the UN Environment and managed by Reef-World, encourages dive and snorkel operators, local communities and governments to work together to reduce environmental impacts on coral reefs. Bringing those stakeholders together can be powerful. I have been inspired by the numerous positive cases, such as:
the local Green Fins community driving the supply of biodegradable and reef-safe personal care and cleaning products on the Tioman Island of Malaysia;
highlighting lack of battery recycling infrastructure to the Philippines government
and governments changing legislation on basis of identified local threats through the Green Fins assessments, amongst others.
At the ADEX dive show 2019, Reef-World organised the third Sustainable Diving Dialogue, bringing industry stakeholders together. Industry representatives shared successes, concerns and challenges; working together to map out a pathway towards adopting ocean-conscious business models. Currently we’re building a database of ocean conscious suppliers with the help of the Green Fins community. Numerous corporate businesses have stepped up - one of them being PADI, the biggest diver training agency - with the aim of collaborating on the implementation of environmental standards across the industry globally, in an effort to educate divers and help to reduce their impact.
Organically, through its transparent, engaging and collaborative approach, Reef-World is driving conscious and co-created sustainable diving industry. I want to recognise Reef-World for living fully its values and setting the platform where collaboration and co-creation can flourish to work towards the ocean-conscious models.