We are all responsible for the environment in which we live, however in recent years this responsibility has been ignored and we as human beings have been the source of the problems the environment is now facing. I believe that it is not too late to make a change for the better and protect the incredible and diverse world which surrounds us.
My name is Sergio Balado and I am a biologist with a strong passion for the environment and conservation. My company, G4Globe promotes a new socio-environmental culture in companies, institutions, and people. Also, I am currently a member at TLR coworking in Malaga and I was delighted to attend their monthly TGIF’s and let the guys here know what I do!
A few years ago I trained as a diving instructor and was lucky enough to travel the world and work in the most amazing countries doing what I love, diving! It was great to be able to show other people how incredible diving is, you experience a whole different world where you feel like you are flying in a completely unknown environment. The sensation you get from diving is like nothing else, and like something you will not experience again. For me personally, it’s like a form of therapy. I feel completely relaxed when I’m submerged under the water and a huge sense of calm runs over me. For anyone who has not yet had the opportunity to experience this for themselves, I have documented some of my dives here if anyone fancied a watch.
Additionally, diving is probably one of the easiest sports which everyone can participate in, I used to teach people with learning difficulties how to dive and this only reinforced to me how incredible diving is. The fact that there are no barriers or requirements to give it a go whilst in a safe environment and get a completely out of this world experience.
However, there is a darker side to diving which I think many people don’t realize. After some time teaching I started to notice that in fact, the diving industry was actually contributing to the destruction of coral reefs and therefore marine life.
Many diving companies are taking out big groups of divers, maybe 20 people in a group, all of whom are not properly trained.
One of the main problems is that these divers that dive companies take out are not properly trained. They don’t know how to keep their buoyancy whilst diving and therefore they collide with coral reefs causing serious damage to something which has been growing for probably quite a few years.
With technologies constantly developing and improving, the use of underwater cameras and video recorders has significantly increased. It’s understandable that people want to document all the incredible things they are witnessing underwater however they don’t realise that handling marine animals can seriously harm them and have long-term detrimental effects. All of this just for 1 photo and you could be destroying the life of that animal.
Plastic. I’m sure you’ve all heard about the plastic epidemic at the moment, well this is one of the most serious problems we have seen for many years, and it’s only getting worse. The amount of plastic entering our oceans from human negligence is catastrophic. More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped in our oceans ever year! This plastic has detrimental effects on coral reefs and marine life. Marine animals can easily ingest this plastic mistaking it for food or worse many species can become entangled and die in our plastic waste. 1000 creatures were reported injured or killed as a result of marine debris in just 1 year.
I believe all dive schools should be teaching the importance of ocean sustainability and the problems it is currently facing. There are now a few environmentally friendly dive schools which is progress but the major companies are still operating and taking out large, untrained and unaware groups of tourists, allowing them to cause more damage to our precious oceans. A scientific study was taken and the results were worrying, colonies of marine life were healthier and larger where there are no divers at all. Proving, diving is currently having a negative effect on marine life.
There is hope!
So, what can we do about this?
- Sustainability commitment with the Ocean. (Underwater and Out of water)
- Slow dive philosophy (Taking in the environment and enjoying the moment for yourself, no cameras needed!)
- Guidelines for environmentally friendly diving rolled out to all dive companies
- Marine knowledge and environmental education.
- Small dive groups
- Buoyancy skills
- Ghost divers (the attitude that every diver should adopt to minimize his presence under the sea during diving)
A famous quote by Jacques Yves Cousteau ‘People protect what they love’, and we love what we know. Through knowledge and education, we can make a difference and help save our oceans and the ever-decreasing numbers of marine life that live within.
For more information see the below environmentally friendly sustainable projects to protect our oceans;
Sergio graduated in Biological Science at the UAM specializing in Ecology and Environment. He has collaborated in various projects in Latin America on nature conservation associated with the development of local communities and has made professional experiences in the field of ecotourism, environmental education, social participation, and waste management for private companies and NGOs. In recent years he has worked as an Environmental Technician for Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, advising externally on matters of environmental monitoring, EIA, ecological restoration and environmental management. He has complemented his training with the Master in Environmental Management and Administration of the Biodiversity Foundation, and originally he studied Marine Sciences at the University of Cádiz.