“How odd we call this planet Earth when it is so obviously ocean” – Arthur C. Clarke, Dr. Brylske’s favorite quote
Dr. Brylske’s first dives were in the 1960’s when the coral reefs he saw were in pristine condition. Over the past 50 years he has witnessed their deterioration and regards this as an indication of the decline in the health of the oceans. Coral reefs in the Florida Keys have diminished from about fifty percent to less than five percent.
Sustainable divers should also become Ocean Ambassadors
“I think divers have become far more aware of the problem, but their awareness and good intentions haven’t always been followed up.” Alex continues that divers should not only become sustainable divers but should be ocean ambassadors but unfortunately often they aren’t well informed on ocean issues. “The ocean is the basis of life and while coral reefs are very charismatic, their condition now is symptomatic of the larger ocean problems. In the Caribbean we have seen about an eighty percent decline in the past 30 years. One article described coral reef loss in the Pacific as occurring five times faster than rainforest loss.”
“97% of all scientists agree that the ocean is in trouble.”
Alex Brylske says, “We live in a relatively scientific and literate society but if you look at the latest Associated Press poll only 33% (of the public) are confident that climate change is occurring. While 97% of all scientists agree that the planet is in trouble, you would think that would be reflected in what most Americans think, but it is not. I don’t know how much we can expect in changing attitudes to protect coral reefs when much of our society does not accept the overwhelming scientific opinion. I think the only hope is young people. They have a very different perspective on protecting the environment.”
“The dive industry for so long has focused solely on the economic and paid very little attention to the environmental and virtually none to the social aspect (of local communities in developing countries).”
“dive operators have prospered by instituting sustainable practices“
Alex points out that case studies show that dive operators have prospered by instituting sustainable practices and making an ocean conservation commitment, “it doesn’t take too long for a competitor to say ‘I can do that too.’ We need to highlight those businesses that are doing it in the right way” and to encourage the consumer to make sustainable choices, to patronize sustainable businesses and to become ocean activists.
“it’s just a matter of making a commitment to doing it”
“there are steps that can be taken, the programs are available, but people view it is an insurmountable problem and think “I don’t have the time or I can’t make this kind of commitment”. But the nuts and the bolts have been laid out—it’s just a matter of making a commitment to doing it and then finding where these resources are.”
Dr. Alex Brylske is Professor of Marine Science and Technology at Florida Keys Community College in Key West. He is a former member of the Florida Governor’s Ocean Committee, and currently sits on the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. For his contribution to the field of marine conservation, Alex was a 2001 recipient of NOAA’s prestigious Walter B. Jones Memorial Excellence Award for Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.
Aside from his work in marine issues, Dr. Brylske is one of the most influential voices in the recreational scuba diving community. Throughout the 1980s, as Educational Program Development Manager for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), he designed and wrote many of the marine education programs and materials used today around the world to train divers of all levels. Alex has been recognized as the most widely published author in the field of recreational scuba diving, and was the 2012 DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year
Alex knows of what he speaks and he will share what he knows with you. Hear the entire Dr. Brylske interview to learn more at Blue Ocean Summit 2014: Dr. Alex Brylske. If you want to read reviews of his books: The Complete Diver and the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving visit our Store and see all of our underwater books and films.
Alex also has a load of resources to share with you like; the Coral Reef Alliance; the Reef Environmental Education Foundation; the Ocean Conservancy; the International Society for Reef Studies; and the Project Aware Official website.
“I have seen resorts that are thriving because of actions that have been taken.”
Cheryl Patterson and her highly successful, dive travel company Deep Blue Adventures participate in many exciting initiatives like Good Will Diving that distributes used eye-glasses in Fiji and The Pledge for Saving Sharks that asks divers to be part of a proactive campaign against shark finning. Cheryl has suggestions on how you can move towards sustainable and responsible travel for both individuals and dive operations and how to choose sustainable dive destinations.
“I have seen what happens to resorts that do not take action,” says Patterson,” and I have seen resorts that are thriving because of actions that have been taken.”
Discover how you can become an ocean change-maker and read Cheryl’s entire article “Selling Dive Travel with Substance” at Ocean Profiles: Cheryl Petterson