Your conservation leadership is critical to bringing forward a new era where everyone uses the ocean sustainably.
Written by Katie Thompson, PADI Global Director, Corporate Social Responsibility
The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.
As a PADI Professional or Dive Center owner, YOU are an ocean stakeholder. The ocean is where you work and play and it inspires you to dedicate your life to enabling others to experience the wonders of the underwater world. The ocean is in crisis and, as leaders of one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the world, to address it through your power of influence with your students, acting as positive role models and mentors on how to best co-exist with nature – both above and below the surface.
In 2021 we must work together at all levels of society to recapture the global momentum for what was to be the Year of the Ocean (2020) while the decade ahead needs to be about action and implementation. We can refuse to accept a world where turtles, fish and coral reefs vanish from our seas and instead, choose to bring forward a new era where everyone uses the ocean sustainably.
The climate and environmental crisis was forced to take an understandable backseat to the COVID-19 Pandemic and many plans were put on hold as global organizations cancelled or rescheduled meetings designed to tackle these enormous challenges facing our planet. But despite these delays, threats to the ocean – and the urgency to address them – continues to increase.
Fortunately, there is still time to course correct. The actions we take today will help to turn the tide towards a brighter future for humanity and ocean. PADI is committed to mobilizing and recruiting as many citizens as possible to join the global movement to save the ocean. If the entire PADI network of dive shops and professionals actively recruit members for the Torchbearer Community, it will become a more powerful force for good for the ocean.
The PADI Torchbearer Community is open to everyone who cares deeply about taking action to heal the planet and wants to forge a more sustainable relationship with nature and with the communities in which they live and travel.
To help in the global agenda to protect biodiversity and restore ocean health, PADI organized the Torchbearer Community in 2020. As the deterioration of ocean and coral health has reached unprecedented rates over recent years, we felt compelled to prioritize conservation across the business, rewriting our mission and vision statements to reflect a deeper commitment to protect the underwater world we love and depend on for survival. Together, we have a unique opportunity to mobilize millions of divers and other ocean enthusiasts around the world to stand up for the ocean, serving as a force for good and catalyst for change for the ocean and our dive communities around the world.
“It is our time to define ourselves as good ancestors now, to define our legacy as both explorers and stewards of the Ocean and her health.”
– Drew Richardson, PADI President and CEO
Every PADI Torchbearer is another ally for the ocean. The larger the community, the more capacity for impact. The Torchbearer 5 community manifesto unites us in our approach and guides our actions now and in the days to come, ensuring our individual contributions play into a wider movement towards a healthier future for people and planet. PADI is forging partnerships with leading and influential organizations such as The Ocean Foundation, WSL PURE, We Are One Ocean, Mission Blue and Reef World to ensure that we are mobilizing our community the most effective way possible, so that the actions of the Torchbearer community support the Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations and other similar broad sweeping programs designed to secure a brighter future for humanity.
The PADI Torchbearer community has the power to influence policymakers and governments around the world.
Throughout 2021, we will continue to rally support for the We Are One Ocean 30×30 Petition, calling on world leaders to protect 30 percent of our shared, global ocean by 2030. In February, we will ask for every Torchbearer to participate in the Great Barrier Reef Census, the world-first citizen science effort to survey the Great Barrier Reef. We will also continue to work along-side our primary partner in conservation, Project AWARE, to enlist Torchbearers to help save the Short-Fin Atlantic Mako Shark and to continue to grow Dive Against Debris, PADI’s flagship underwater citizen-science program with the power to influence waste management policies around the world.
2021 will present more opportunities to take actions that heal and protect the ocean.
- Coming World’s Oceans Day, June 8th: PADI will be launching an updated and more interactive experience on the PADI Website helping connect divers and ocean enthusiasts with ways to stand up for the ocean. The expanded Conservation Portal on padi.com will highlight the PADI’s conservation courses and programs and share stories from the Torchbearer community and how they are healing the ocean and our dive communities around the world.
- Through a new tool on the PADI website, visitors will be able to find conservation courses, events and activities at PADI Dive Centers and Resorts around the world.
- Strengthened PADI and Project AWARE partnership that supports more conservation programs and opportunities for divers to engage in citizen science.
- There will be new tools for the PADI Torchbearer Community to monitor and track their conservation impact.
Be part of the Decade of the Ocean – Recruit Divers for the PADI Torchbearer Community. Ask your students and staff, friends and family to become part of the movement to save the ocean by signing up at padi.com/onebillion.
2021 is a critical year for recapturing the momentum we need to energize us for the decade ahead. As this pandemic has proved, we are as irrevocably dependent on one another as we are on nature, and to truly thrive, we must do so together.