Follow these tips to keep your holiday season green – and blue!
Courtesy of our buddies at Project AWARE.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Unfortunately, it's also the most wasteful.
And whether you’re jet-setting to visit friends and family afar, attending parties or exchanging gifts galore, you’re bound to encounter and generate a lot more trash these next few weeks, compared to the rest of the year.
25% more trash!
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, American household waste increases 25% between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. During the same period, food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons add up to an additional 1 million tons of trash per week.
Whilst that's a big problem for large countries with systems and processes and facilities in place, imagine how huge a problem it is for those small tropical islands which you love dive. Like Curacao, for example, where most household waste goes to landfill.
As divers know all too well, a lot of trash doesn't make its way into proper waste management systems. Instead, it's carried down storm drains, rivers and streams to our oceans, polluting marine environments and endangering wildlife. The Ugly Journey of our Trash, as Project AWARE calls it:
5 Tips for Ocean-Friendly Holidays
The holiday season provides a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness and reduce our consumption and interaction with debris-related items. So check out these “ocean friendly” tips from Project AWARE to help keep your holiday celebrations debris-free and altogether more fun :)
1) Gift Mindfully
Instead of giving Uncle Stan another sweater to add to his sizeable collection this Christmas, you could gift him a meaningful experience or donate to causes that he, you, or his friends and family care about.
- Making a donation to Project AWARE on Uncle Stan's behalf, and show him how he's supporting great and important work on shark and ray protection, as well as marine debris prevention and cures.
- Gifting him an amazing experience. Like instead of spending time in front of the tv with Uncle Stan, take him and his friends diving (or a visit to a nearby aquarium may be a little more practical).
- And if you do go for the sweater, use Amazon Smile when shopping online and Project AWARE receives a donation with every purchase you make at no cost to you. Or go the old fashioned way and visit a "real" store, one that's environmentally responsible - and 'pass' on the plastic bag.
2) Minimize Gift Wrap Waste
Get creative and try alternative gift wrapping methods. Upcycle newspaper or colourful magazines, reuse ribbons, or try the Japanese Furoshiki technique with reusable fabric instead of disposable wrapping paper.
Or go completely zero-waste with your gift wrapping and use the old “hide it behind your back” method. It’s fun and completely trash-free, and could be highly entertaining, depending on just how much Uncle Stan has had to drink..!
3) Practice Ocean-Friendly Travel - be an Eco-tourist
Heading overseas for Christmas? Lucky you!
Research eco-conscious tourism providers and book your trip with eco-responsible vendors, like 100% AWARE Partners and PADI Green Star dive operators such as The Dive Bus, who focus on waste and energy reduction management.
Pack thoughtfully - take reusable items like a stainless steel water bottle, cloth napkin and bamboo eating utensils so you can say “No thanks” to single-use plastic items that may well end up in the ocean.
4) Dive Against Debris
(More info about The Dive Bus / Project AWARE Adopt a Dive Site here.)
Whenever you remove trash from a dive site, log and report it. With your help, Project AWARE and its army of dive shops and troops of divers who care about the ocean, are working to keep trash out of underwater environments for a clean, healthy ocean planet.
5) Share the True Meaning of the Season – Give Back
Share your love for the ocean with friends and family by inviting them to join you, in taking action for conservation on a land or ocean Clean Up event.
Or by making a donation to ocean protection such as these super-cool, limited edition Project AWARE manta sweatshirts - which Uncle Stan may even prefer to that sweater...
If anything in this post gives you food for thought, or you'd prefer any of the above as your Christmas gifts, please share this!
For more holiday gift ideas for divers, check out on our earlier Blog post here and our facebook page, daily.
From The Dive Bus, Curacao Crew
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