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Sustainable Tourism: Tiny changes that make a big difference

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What is sustainability? Why is it important? Here is the dictionary definition:

noun

1.

the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.

2.

Environmental Science. the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.

Do you ask yourself these questions prior to making a decision about what dive center to dive or train with?

A few years ago I realized quite how much damage some Tourism practices could be for the environment.  I watched on the dock as a sailing adventure company loaded boxes and boxes of drinking water of small plastic bottles on to their boat. 47 boxes of water, each with 24 bottles containing less than 500 ml in each. Providing the guests drank all the water that would be 1128 single use plastic bottles between only 6 people, in less than a week. That is a huge amount of plastic waste.

I decided to start investigating how I could make our dive center more environmentally friendly by adopting sustainable practices. As divers we should not just be ambassadors for the Oceans, but for the planet.

We strive to ensure that our business practices and services are environmentally sustainable and that we safeguard the ocean environment for generations to come. These decisions are not taken lightly: they involve commitment, time, and funding. Our team has invested in finding and following standards and protocols that have propelled us forward as a sustainable leader in the dive industry. The most important decision is knowing how and what information to choose and decipher prior to embarking on becoming more sustainable. It is not simply a question of “googling it”.

We have partnered with Ocean First Institute and Sustainable Travel International to keep us moving in the right direction.  Through these organizations, we have joined the “Blue the Dive” movement.  Cortez Expeditions complies with the requirements set forth by this movement, striving to maintain them while simultaneously adapting our company to incorporate further eco-friendly practices on a daily basis.

The heart of our business plan is sustainable tourism – we realize that by being stewards of the natural environment we are not only protecting our livelihoods but allowing future generations to enjoy the same natural wonders we are privileged to experience in the Sea of Cortez.  We welcome any questions and discussion about our standards because we know that only through collaboration can we effectively protect the Ocean for those who come after us.

  • We guarantee the following environmental practices at Cortez Expeditions:
  • Our facilities and boats are 100% free of disposable plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
  • We use refillable jugs for water and tea and encourage guests to either use our reusable aluminum bottles or come with their personal reusable bottles.
  • Our food is organic, sustainable, and locally sourced.  Not only is our food tasty, it is ethically sourced, transported, and treated. www.smartfish.mx
  • Our staff maintains the best environmental practices above and below the water. Our dive briefings provide guests with necessary information for better understanding of the dive sites and how to minimize our impacts on the site.

In addition, our staff practice diving protocols that help guests improve their techniques in the water, enabling guests to get the most out of every dive while cultivating a respect for the marine environment.

Find out more about Luke and Cortez Expeditions at www.cortezexpeditions.com.

Luke Inman is a Photographer, Film Maker, Writer, PADI Course Director, Techincal Instructor Trainer, Dog Walker and owns Cortez Expeditions, the only PADI 5 Star IDC and TDI Dive Center in La Paz Mexico.

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Searching for images to help Save Our Seas

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The Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by The Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) and organised by the Underwater Photographer of the Year opens for entries on 1st November and closes on 7th January 2023. The conservation contest is free to enter and offers cash prizes for the first, second and third placed photographs.

The Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year is open to both above-water and underwater photographs. Photographs must highlight a marine conservation story or theme, with both positive and negative stories encouraged. Freshwater themed conservation images are also accepted.

Chair of the judges, underwater photographer and marine ecologist Dr Alex Mustard MBE said: “Powerful photographs are able to change hearts, minds and attitudes. Conservation imagery is especially important from the oceans, which faces many threats from our activities. However, these issues mostly happen unwitnessed, out of sight of land or beneath the surface. This contest gives these valuable images a huge public platform.”

Dr James Lea, CEO of the Save Our Seas Foundation, said: “Images have a profound capacity to affect how people view the world, and at SOSF we are all about encouraging positive change in how people view and interact with the marine environment. As such we are delighted to partner with the Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year award, which is uniquely placed to highlight issues our oceans are facing and inspire change”.

Previous editions of the contest have attracted entries from photographers around the world, keen to draw attention to conservation issues, campaigns and success stories important to them. The award was most recently won by Thein Nguyen Ngoc from Vietnam, with his aerial photograph “Big Appetite”. The photo shows boats straining the waters for anchovies in the Phu Yen province of his country.

“Salted anchovy is the most important raw material in traditional Vietnamese fish sauce. But these little fish are also a keystone of a natural ecosystem. Despite increased fishing, the catches of anchovies have decreased by 20-30% in the past 10 years. When they are overfished, the whales, tunas, sea birds and other marine predators face starvation and critical population declines.” 

The Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year, part of UPY is an annual competition, that traces its roots back to 1965. The Marine Conservation photographer of the Year is free to enter at www.underwaterphotographeroftheyear.com

The Save Our Seas Foundation has been dedicated to protecting life in our oceans, especially sharks and rays, for 19 years. They have funded around 425 projects in over 85 countries, supporting passionate and innovative researchers, conservationists and educators.

Each project strives for deeper understanding and more innovative solutions in marine research, conservation and education.

Header Image: Thein Nguyen Ngoc

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Scubaverse UWP Winners Gallery: Sofia Tenggrono

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Each month we give the winner of the Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition the opportunity to show off a little more of their work in a gallery. The September winner was Sofia Tenggrono.


What equipment do you use?

I work with Olympus TG-6 camera, Nauticam CMC-1, 2 Inon S-2000, minigear snoot dive torch

Where can our readers see more of your work?

https://www.instagram.com/s.tenggrono/


To enter the latest Scubaverse Underwater Photography competition, with a chance to win some great prizes as well as have your own gallery published, head over to the competition page and upload up to 3 images.

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