As the world comes together to celebrate Earth Day this week, I have important news to share about the PADI organization’s commitment to saving the ocean. In the face of rising threats to our ocean and the growing role divers play in pushing them back, I’d like to tell you about the new PADI AWARE Foundation – a natural and critical next step in the PADI community’s pivotal role in addressing precarious issues affecting ocean health. While in the final stages of preparing for a global launch to PADI Divers on World Ocean’s Day (8 June), I wanted to make sure you and your fellow PADI Members are the first to know.
For more than 30 years, PADI and Project AWARE Foundation have partnered to do impactful conservation work together. The legacy of this alliance is now made stronger through the PADI AWARE Foundation. It places the weight of the PADI mission, brand, annual media reach (of nearly 15 billion global impressions), plus the global PADI membership’s local support, behind this non-profit public charity with the focused purpose of accomplishing near-term critical ocean conservation goals.
This investment in the ocean’s future is so essential that, in addition to other funding sources, PADI Worldwide has committed to direct financial support of the Foundation’s operation and work. This means that in a sense, simply by taking a PADI course, every PADI Diver you certify helps save the ocean – and we will encourage them to do more.
As a PADI Member, you are a stakeholder in the PADI AWARE Foundation, and speaking broadly, all ocean conservation-minded divers, stakeholders and organizations are invited to join in supporting the PADI AWARE Foundation. As one of its first projects and an important part of giving back to local communities, PADI AWARE Foundation will launch its Community Grant Programin June ofthis year. Saving the ocean requires all of us acting together in thousands of ways on a local level, so these grants will provide much-needed financial resources to PADI Dive Centers and Resorts internationally for local ocean-protection initiatives and activities. Hand in hand with this, the PADI organization will engage and activate the growing global PADI Torchbearer community – millions of active and engaged divers, 128,000+ PADI Pros, and more than 6,600 PADI Retailers and Resorts and growing – on an unprecedented scale to provide human resources that participate broadly and locally in ocean-saving initiatives.
There’s no question the dive community is strategically positioned to positively influence the future of our ocean. There are many local examples where threatened reefs now sprawl with growing coral sprouts, thanks to divers. Formerly scarce species like Goliath Grouper, Black Sea Bass, Pacific Abalone and apex predators are again diver sightings, thanks to divers adding their voices to marine protected areas, marine life preservation and educational initiatives. In some regions, there are examples of previously litter-choked dive sites, beaches and bays being now nearly debris free, and scientists are learning where the trash comes from, thanks to divers and the Dive Against Debris program. But we have hardly gotten started, so look for announcements of additional programs you can participate in and support.
By expanding and building new conservation programs, activist movements, public outreach, courses, and partnerships that address key ocean threats such as marine debris, climate change, marine habitat loss and vulnerable species protection across the planet, the PADI AWARE Foundation will help enable PADI people to do even more to preserve and save the ocean, not just for the good diving, but for the good health of our global ecosystem. But, to be direct, the PADI AWARE Foundation can’t do these without your ongoing support, so I invite you to lean in, learn more and be part of making the difference the ocean needs.
Thank you for your membership with PADI, your loyalty, and your dedication to our mission as an organization. Please take action for the ocean and show your support for PADI AWARE Foundation by going to this page.
President’s Desk, Drew Richardson, president message, straight talkPADI Pros