Our theme brings together four speakers with over a hundred years of experience in the dive community. As owners of dive travel companies or as marine scientists they have observed the disturbing directions that our ocean environment is taking. They realize the necessity of sustainable diving and sustainable travel and have seen the positive results at those dive destinations where sustainable practices have been put into place. Learn from them, they have a lot to say.
Beyond Responsible Diver: The Ocean Reality Check — Dr. Alex Brylske
Dr. Alex Brylske began scuba diving in the Florida Keys in the 1960’s and he was in awe of the pristine coral reefs he saw. Unfortunately, he has seen a massive decline in the quality of the reefs since then. A deterioration that he equates with a decline in the general health of the oceans. Florida’s coral reefs are now down to less than fifty percent of their original state.
Alex highlights his concerns over climate change and its impact on the eco-systems of our coral reefs. Dr. Brylske believes that each diver can become an Ocean Ambassador by encouraging dive consumers to patronize those dive operations that incorporate sustainable practices as part of their business model. Dr. Alex Brylske is a Professor of Marine Science at Florida Keys Community College in Key West and for his contributions to marine conservation, he was awarded NOAA’s 2001 Walter B. Jones Excellence Award for Ocean and Coastal Management.
Alex will share what he knows and he knows of what he speaks, see “Beyond ‘Responsible Diver: The Ocean Reality Check” at: Ocean Profiles: Dr. Alex Brylske
Selling Dive Travel with Substance — Cheryl Patterson
Deep Blue Adventures is a dive company that has been highly successful incorporating sustainable dive practices into its business model. Cheryl Patterson the owner of Deep Blue Adventures has initiated many exciting programs like the Pledge for Saving Sharks that asks scuba divers to campaign against shark finning. Good Will Diving another of Cheryl’s programs collects used eye-glasses for redistribution to local communities in Fiji. Cheryl is eager to share her ideas on moving onto a sustainable path for individual dive consumers and dive operations and how to choose sustainable travel choices and diving destinations.
“I have seen what happens to resorts that do not take action,” Patterson says “and I have seen resorts that are thriving because of sustainable actions that have been taken.”
Dive deeper into Cheryl Patterson’s ideas on sustainable business and read “Selling Dive Travel with Substance” at Ocean Profiles: Cheryl Patterson
It’s Not Easy Being Green — Steve Weaver
Steve stresses that when a dive operation or travel company is actively promoting sustainability then support them by making them a priority choice the next time you book diving or travel. Proactively educate your clients on environmental issues and encourage them to make sustainable choices while diving and traveling by giving them good tips.. “Use this Blue Ocean summit as a source of information.”
“I am an optimist when it comes to our environment and our industry.” Steve feels it is not to late to make a difference “but, we cannot sit back and think someone else is going to do it.” He says it is time to “Do what you can, every little bit helps. Pledge to do your part.”
To better understand how Steve makes his sustainable dive and travel choices and how he guides his customers to do the same see “It’s Not Easy Being Green” at: Ocean Profiles: Steve Weaver
Diving Professionals as Ambassadors of the Blue — Steve Mussman
“You need to be on the forefront” Steve Mussman says “If you don’t have healthy reefs you won’t have a business in the future”
Since 1985, Steve Mussman has operated Sea Lab Diving in Atlanta where he combines his twin loves of diving and travel. Steve has organized Sea Lab differently from many other dive operations because he gives his company a strong environmental approach by stressing sustainable diving and promoting programs that provide a better understanding of the serious issues that face today’s ocean environment. The programs at Sea Lab introduce dive students to topics such as shark finning and eating sustainable seafood; about whales and dolphins kept in captivity; and the threats to our coral reef eco-systems caused by environmental changes.
So dive deeper into Steve Mussman’s Ocean Friendly philosophy and to find out more about the Sea Lab sustainablity programs, read “Diving Professionals as Ambassadors of the Blue” found at: Ocean Profiles: Steve Mussman