The most important issues facing the dive industry today touch on how to engage customers, clients and suppliers in the serious problems facing our oceans and how to find sustainable solutions to these problems.
The Blue Ocean Summit 2015 highlights four experts that have experience with the problems facing the Diving Community and our oceans and are providing sustainable solutions to these problems.
Choosing Sustainable Dive Travel Partners – Ali Miller
“The ocean really is our number one stakeholder, and without it, we don’t have a business.” as Ali says. “That’s why we’ve focused on sustainable business practices for the industry.” Offering sustainable dive travel packages to her clients also means selling scuba diving gear, and Ali offers some interesting ideas on how to get suppliers on a more sustainable business model.
Ali Miller is also the President of (CSRA) the Colorado Scuba Retailers Association and a founding member of Blue the Dive, that promotes a strong and unified voice for protecting the ocean. As scuba divers, Ali believes, we have a responsibility to protect our ocean for future generations. At the 2015 Blue Vision Summit held in Washington DC, Vicki was a citizen lobbyist and met with her Congressional representatives to persuade them to vote for sustainable ocean choices.
To dive deeper into being a citizen lobbyist read Ali’s article “Choosing Sustainable Dive Travel Partners” at: Ocean Profiles: Ali Miller
The Power Behind a Purpose-Driven Business – Andrew Lewin
As a Marine and Freshwater Ecologist Andrew Lewin has a keen interest in communicating marine conservation to a wide range of audiences. Andrew was the founder of SpeakUpForBlue.com created to educate people on the sustainable choices they can make to live more Ocean-friendly lives and how they can participate in citizen science projects available around the world. Andrew teaches social entrepreneurship focusing on how businesses can promote sustainable practices. “The fact that dive operations can easily adopt this into their program adds to their bottom line.” As Andrew points out “It’s what we call … the sustainable entrepreneur field.”
See the Turtles is one of Andrew’s favorite citizen scientist projects that offers an eco-tourism package in Costa Rica… “The sea turtles come up on the beaches, they build their nests and lay their eggs. You protect those nests from being poached.” Andrew points out that “You pay to participate, but most of the money stays locally, that’s a big benefit, because it shows the local people that the turtles are worth more alive than dead, its sustainable.” Involving the local community is terrific but the personal and emotional high that you get is the best part, Andrew says. “Sometimes you see hatchlings and you help them get to the beach, you monitor them, you do a survey, you get to say, “I protected a sea turtle nest and let those hundred sea turtles go off into the ocean and hopefully they’ll survive and become adults” it’s a fantastic feeling that you get.”
To see how you can participate in Andrew Lewin’s marine science projects read his article “The Power Behind a Purpose-Driven Business” at: Ocean Profiles: Andrew Lewin
Ocean Profits: Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain – Graham Casden
Graham Casden was a force driving some of PADI’s most important “green” initiatives and he can fill us in on where we are and where we need to go. Graham’s qualified to do that because his company Ocean First is on the cutting edge of sustainable dive retailing. If you want to meet the needs of a changing clientele that is asking for sustainable choices Graham’s interview will have some valuable tips.
When Graham first bought his dive operation he didn’t understand all of the challenges of running this kind of business. However, he did, have a goal “I wanted to start a dive shop that would instill .. accountability and awareness into divers and to create ocean stewards.” Graham is now directing a number of initiatives to promote sustainable diving practices from the bottom up.
All the projects Graham has initiated are intended to improve the customer’s diving experience and at the same time help them become better, sustainable divers. These sustainable practices will help to preserve the one resource that the industry—and the world—relies on.
Graham’s hope in creating Ocean First remains clear “I realized at the end of [diving certification] that there was no marine science at all in any of the open water curriculum, …the industry was turning out thousands and thousands of divers without any understanding of what they were going to see and no appreciation of the marine environment.” Graham’s goal is to change that.
To dive into Graham Casden’s history and mission read “Ocean Profits: Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain” at: Ocean Profiles: Graham Casden
Conservation: Key to our Industry’s Future – John Thet, at UW360
A visionary in our industry, John Thet treats ADEX his trade and consumer dive show, like his three magazines: It’s all about the content, baby. John doesn’t avoid marine conservation issues in fact his trade shows put marine conservation front and center. John believes that everyone in the dive industry should feel the necessity to do two things: focus attention on finding solutions to today’s serious ocean issues and at the same time advance the diving industry. John feels that these two goals are not mutually exclusive but symbiotic.
John’s approach so far, has worked very well. In his estimation there are potentially 120,000 active scuba divers in Singapore and those numbers are growing every year. Plus the South East Asia market has attracted a younger crowd.This is in stark contrast to North America where the diving population tends to be more mature. John says that in Singapore the average diver is in their mid-twenties and this is reflected in the ADEX attendees. John is bullish about the Asian market, “In Asia, diving is starting to take off. That’s why I feel very good about ADEX, you will see a lot of young people there” that fact also makes it a lot easier to have marine education as a vital element at the dive shows.
To find out more about the potential for scuba diving and marine conservation in the Asian market read John Thet’s “Conservation: Key to our Industry’s future” at: Ocean Profiles: John Thet