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The Children’s Clean Ocean Summit

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This past June, nearly 300 kids from six Austrian schools gathered for the world’s first Children’s Clean Ocean Summit, titled “The Last Whale” and held at the United Nations in Vienna. The summit was run entirely by kids and involved them exploring the complex issue of plastic ocean pollution, teaching each other about solutions, then each voting for the three they found most critical. The summit culminated in the signing of their Children’s Clean Ocean Declaration, which shares their feelings and priorities and will be delivered to all world governments.

The echoes of that event continue to resonate, finding their way so far into articles in six languages across the globe, and now to the world of scuba. It was an unprecedented event and may hopefully mark the beginning of new possibilities for children to powerfully participate in our world’s environmental narrative.

Here, Founder of the Kids Save Ocean Project, Peder Hill, shares their story:

How the Project Started – The Last Whale Sculpture

Children are deeply horrified by the growing tragedy of ocean plastic pollution. And two years ago the 12-year olds at my school and I (Peder (Mr. Hill), their art and biology teacher), decided to bring attention to the issue by building a 15-foot long humpback whale sculpture made from the same rubbish that desecrates our ocean’s beauty. We titled it “The Last Whale” in recognition of what will happen if we don’t change. After building it, however, we felt it wouldn’t change anything hanging in our school, as beautiful as it was. If it would have any impact, that whale, in spirit and in reality, would have to swim far beyond.

So we approached the United Nations with the concept of the summit, which they embraced, beginning a collaboration that would also include installation of the whale sculpture at the UN for the week that included World Environment Day and World Oceans Day, fulfilling its purpose. The whale is also scheduled for exhibition at Austria’s biggest aquarium, the Haus des Meeres, in 2020, after a new wind is finished. We’re seeking additional placements if you happen to know anybody.

The Project’s Massive Growth

I deeply believe that giving children a voice is vital to humanity’s future. And it turns out I definitely wasn’t the only one. To run a massive summit with just a teacher and a handful of scrappy passionate kids wouldn’t have been possible, so I turned to the global platform VolunteerMatch, and very quickly wonderful people from around the world joined me with the goal of empowering kids to not just learn about plastic ocean pollution, but DO something.

Hundreds of volunteers have come forward, including six app developers who are coding my Fatechanger app, an education and lobbying app designed to give kids a voice. Though unfinished, the app has already been taken up by the German Federal Ministry in its Ocean Plastics Lab international traveling exhibition, which showcases the contribution of science to understand and tackle the problem of plastics in the ocean. I’m currently in the process of forming the Kids Save Ocean non-profit to bring the project to scale.

20 Years Before in Cali

Long before fate swept me to Vienna, Austria, where I’d form the Kids Save Ocean project, and before the 200-plus volunteers flooded in to help me give kids a voice about the ocean and before the whale and the Summit at the UN and before being contacted by CNN about our efforts. Before all that, 20 years back, I remember a bolt blue sky above a clear Santa Cruz morning as my sister and I explored the hills of kelp heaped along the beach, washed up by the monster waves of a huge storm the night before. In amongst it were packages and containers from Japan, fishing gear, tourist beach trash, cigarette buts, even an ocean-cold Budweiser, which we promptly cracked and downed on the spot. Among piles of kelp, the global scatterlings of plastic junk.

In the two decades since that sunny harbinger of a morning, additional billions of pounds have accumulated in our seas, each piece of which will break down into tinier and tinier pieces, releasing toxins and being mistaken for food for hundreds of years. In another 20 years, what will our oceans look like? A frightening question.

Why form the Kids Save Ocean non-profit? Children deserve a voice in this world for one. And maybe, maybe, empowering them with a voice may be the help we so desperately need.

A Future: the Kids Save Ocean Mission Statement

Our core mission is to give children everywhere a voice about our planet’s environment, a mission we currently approach through our mobile app development, our work with the United Nations, and our exhibitions. Integral to that mission is providing teachers with a platform to deeply engage their students about plastic ocean pollution and the critically related issue of sustainability. We’re currently moving toward becoming a dynamic youth-centered non-profit to give children a powerful voice both now and forever.

For more information please visit the Kids Save Ocean website by clicking here.

Competitions

Win copies of Action Camera Underwater Video Basics, a Paralenz Vaquita and more!

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Dived Up Publications, Paralenz and Scubaverse have come together to celebrate the October 2021 release of Scubaverse Editor-at-Large Jeff Goodman’s Action Camera Underwater Video Basics: The Essential Guide to Making Underwater Films.

Share better underwater videos with Jeff’s book and Paralenz Vaquita.

Win a copy of Jeff’s new book, as well as a selection of other great prizes including a Paralenz Vaquita camera, rash guard and water bottles, in the free to enter prize draw.

1st Prize

  • 1x Paralenz Vaquita (RRP £659)
  • 1x Action Camera Underwater Video Basics (RRP £20)

2nd Prize

  • 1 x Paralenz rash guard (RRP £59)
  • 1x Action Camera Underwater Video Basics

3rd Prize (5 available)

  • 1x Action Camera Underwater Video Basics
  • 1x Paralenz water bottle (RRP £8)

4th Prize (3 available)

  • 1x Action Camera Underwater Video Basics

Enter now for free at www.DivedUp.com/prize-draw

No purchase necessary. Internet access and email address required. Winners will be chosen at random. No cash or alternative prizes offered. Open to over-18s only. Other exclusions apply. Closing date 23 November 2021. Draw will be made within 7 days of closing. Winners will be notified by email. See website to enter, for full prize details and terms and conditions.

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News

Fiji’s borders to reopen on December 1st 2021

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The island paradise of Fiji will be open to visitors once again starting this December. After nearly two years of being closed to the outside world, Fiji is ready to safely welcome its travelers back. The 333 islands are as beautiful as ever, brimming with idyllic turquoise waters, soft white sand beaches, and the vibrant “Bula Spirit” for which Fiji is known.

“It’s been almost two years since we welcomed international visitors. And in these two years, we’ve struggled, we’ve adapted, and we’ve prepared,” said Hon. Faiyaz Koya, Minister for Tourism.

“Today, our national airline is ready, our hotels and tour providers are ready, and Fijians are ready to safely welcome the world back. We are ready to let happiness find you again.”

Fiji will still have entry requirements in place to ensure the utmost safety of both visitors and locals. These include being a fully vaccinated traveler from a “Travel Partner” country such as Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and most Pacific Island Countries and Territories.

Travelers from these countries will need to provide a negative PCR test taken less than 3 days prior to departure from home country and fulfil any obligation to take an additional test prior to returning back home, based on individual home country requirements. Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 will be able to travel to Fiji accompanied by a vaccinated adult. Travel insurance is, as always, highly recommended. For more information on country-specific travel requirements, please visit www.fiji.travel.

“We are ecstatic that Fiji will open its borders to international visitors before the end of the year,” says Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill.

“This is the moment we have been planning for nearly two years now and I can assure the world that Fiji is safe and ready to welcome you back. The islands are just as beautiful – if not more beautiful – than ever and the locals just as warm and friendly. Fiji is the vacation the world needs and deserves right now, and we can finally offer that again starting December.”

Tourism Fiji have been preparing for this moment. Travellers can book and travel in confidence with the Care Fiji Commitment, where they can stay in certified resorts, use certified transportation and experiences, and be assured that all tourism businesses they come in to contact with have a 100% vaccinated staff. Tourism Fiji started working on this programme when the pandemic first arrived in Fiji. Now they have over 206 CFC approved businesses, and over 320 nominated Wellness Ambassadors across Fiji.

Travellers can reserve their flights now at www.fijiairways.com. Check out diving and resort packages at Fiji’s leading Volivoli Beach Resort

Find out more about visiting Fiji at www.fiji.travel.

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Our special, extended, 14 night charter of MV Carpe Diem in the Maldives will visit some of our favourite sites in the central and near-south atolls. We will be spending 14 nights on-board, specifically because we want to travel and have time to enjoy the sites without rushing too much.

The boat will depart from Male on Saturday 23rd October and guests will disembark on Saturday 06th November. The route will incorporate our favourite manta points, shark diving points and spectacular coral reefs.

 

Please contact us for last minute prices on 01473921888 or email us at info@greatescapesdivingholidays.com

 

 

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