Today is Earth Day. People from all over the globe come together and organize events to demonstrate their support for environmental protection.
Earth Day is an event celebrated in over 190 countries. Some celebrate by organising weekend festivals, others organise conferences with some the world’s well known environmental activists attending, giving presentations on climate change and its effects on our future. Many play their part by cleaning up rubbish and recycling in their local area.
This Earth day I wanted to do something big, involving as many people as possible. Crystal Dive, the staff, Interns and customers is like one big family. Based on Koh Tao we have the perfect setting to host an Earth Day event.
I discussed some ideas together with Jenny from Eco Koh Tao, our in house conservation team and one of our Eco diving internship graduates Christina. Christina, who recently completed her PADI Divemaster coursewith Crystal Dive, is currently conducting a research project on Koh Tao’s reefs.
Jenny and Christina are organising a beach cleanup at 8.45, where an army of eco warriors – the Crystal family – will clean Mae Haad beach collecting any rubbish in their path and to the pier where the local government will dispose of correctly or recycle.
At midday we will take one of our boats out for an exploration dive at Ao Mao, a new artificial reef at Aow Leuk. Afterwards we will make a second dive and conduct a dive site cleanup. Artificial reefs are an important addition here on Koh Tao. They take pressure off Koh Tao’s natural reefs, which during high season are dived daily by high volumes of divers.
By taking our divers on an exploratory dive we aim to orientate them to Koh Tao’s latest dive site as well as get them excited about diving these artificial reefs.
Divers are educated in the importance of preserving our reefs and marine life and the damaging effects our actions can have on the environment. This is instilled in all divers from the moment they start the PADI Open Water course.
PADI, along with their nonprofit conservation partner Project AWARE are actively involved in a whole host of projects. PADI also use their scuba diving courses and programs to get the message across. Unfortunately people on land and the many fishing boats that frequent the area also need educating.
Today, Thailand is one of the world’s top 10 visited countries. Over the years it has become THE place for backpackers from all over the world to travel, experience the unique culture, party and learn to scuba dive. The incredible growth in tourism Thailand has experienced over the past 30 years has unfortunately had an effect on the reefs and marine life.
Thanks to the efforts of the local government on Koh Tao, PADI, Project Aware and the local dive schools people are now more mindful of the mark they can make on the underwater world and are spreading the word. As a result there is an improvement in the health of our reefs, which are constantly developing.
Other activities on Earth Day include a special focus on children. From 10am until 1pm we will be working with children from the local school. Our aim is to educate them about the effects the rubbish they throw away has on their home and explain why. After all they are the future and change starts with them!
Now, I am not a teacher but I am an artist, so my way of doing this will be showing them the amazing things they can create with everyday items that would normally end up in a bin liner!
Over the past few days we have been collecting bottles and bottle tops, cutting up salvaged cardboard into the shape of fish with the idea that the kids will decorate them and hang at the Crystal bar.
We will have tables set up with different items to create master pieces. Yesterday everyone at Crystal was assigned a role. These roles included cutting out more fish, making bunting, rinsing and cutting plastic bottles and preparing (and testing) the games. Everybody here is very excited.
Then tomorrow evening we will celebrate Earth Day 2015 with a BBQ at Crystal Dive, start at 7pm.
A beach and dive site cleanup, environmental education with 40 children, arts & crafts, face painting, a scavenger hunt, sports day games and a BBQ. What could go wrong?
It’s going to be a great success and a very busy day at Crystal Dive, Koh Tao. And for sure, it’s going to be LOTS of FUN!
Wish us luck!
Author: Jade Allchin (PADI DM # 365654)