“it’s just one ocean – and it belongs to all of us.” ~ Dr. Martina Milanese
It’s astounding that the European Union would look to the SCUBA diving industry to fund a special Horizon 2020 Blue Economy initiative. But the EU recognized that scuba diving has a clear positive environmental and economic impact and Milanese is one of the lead team members of this 4-year research project to study the dive industry. Who knew people would look to diving for business models?
A marine biologist, Martina Milanese is a long time diver and diving instructor. For Martina, it’s all about exploring people and nature, discovering how deeply linked they are, reconnecting them when the link is severed. However, both humans and the seas are diverse and complex, Martina knows that a holistic approach is the way forward.
Give Meaning To the Dive Experience
Dr. Martina Milanese says “By definition, scuba diving is an immersing experience, and that’s the only way by which you can really touch base with people, reconnect them with nature, give meaning to the experience they are having. That’s where you can trigger interest and pass the message.”
Recreational SCUBA diving has become a mass leisure activity engaging millions of people worldwide. Diving can do much for society, and the benefits include, the promotion of ocean stewardship, educating on ocean issues, contribution to scientific research, fostering social inclusion and personal development. Yet, diving can also have negative impacts like damage to habitats and organisms; conflicts with local communities over the use of resources and cultural clashes. These aspects clearly relate to the three pillars of sustainability covering environmental, economic and social dimensions and can only be addressed by a systemic approach.
Whose Bubbles are Green?
This is exactly Green Bubbles’ agenda, to actively engage divers, professionals, operators, certifying agencies, MPAs and NGOs. The program helps to spread a message of making sustainable choices, raising ecological awareness and ocean literacy, and the benefits of using sustainable diver guidelines when teaching diving.
“We really believe that [these] things are not clashing: you can be really green and that can also give you profit. It’s just a matter of turning the tide and [making] that happen.”
Learn more about the Green Bubbles program and its sustainable practices initiatives by listening to Martina’s complete interview at Blue Ocean Summit 2015: Dr. Martina Milanese or check out their programs via the Green Bubbles website.
Another of our speakers addressing the theme of Sustainability Programs is Julian Hyde a scientist, former dive operator and now head of Reef Check Malaysia. Julian knows the dive industry and its impacts on coral reefs. He also knows diving can be part of the solution. To read our entire article on the work Julian is doing with Reef Check Malaysia see Ocean Profiles: Julian Hyde.