With the recent UN climate change report a code red for humanity, efforts are needed in bucketloads to reverse the mess we have made. September 2021 has some important events for you to add to your calendar highlighting ocean conservation. No, I’m not discussing Talk Like A Pirate Day, World Coconut Day or National Pet Rock Day (all real, I kid you not). The events below are at a location near you and - with the kids back at school and Tom Daley’s Speedos packed away for another 4 years- you have no excuse not to get involved. In fact get the kids involved too and have them be better advocates for the future of our ocean planet!
- Ocean Film Festival 3rd September – 27th November
Both in theatres and on demand, the 2021 Ocean Film Festival has mesmerizing ocean-themed films made above and below the surface. The films feature incredible wildlife encounters and captivating cinematography through surfing, kayaking, freediving, scuba, spearfishing, yachting, swimming and many other water-based activities. UK theatres from Edinburgh to Redruth will be showing a brand-new collection of the world’s most incredible films, celebrating our oceans. This year’s programme includes The Sea To Me – a story about a freediver’s friendship with a wild dolphin in Ireland and Voice Above Water – where a Balinese fisherman loses his trade to ocean plastic. He pulls rubbish out of the ocean in the hope that he will one day fish again. Other movies feature the penguins of South Georgia, beaches of Mexico and icebergs of Alaska. If you are still unsure about venturing out in the post-pandemic era, you can still enjoy the adventure virtually with recent Ocean Film Festival Tour film collections from the Winter 2020/21 series.
- Great British Beach Clean 17-26th September
The Great British Beach Clean is a week-long citizen science event organised by the Marine Conservation Society, where hundreds of beach cleans take place up and down the UK coast. Litter data is collected which then drives further conservation work and also feeds into the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC). On every clean a litter survey takes place where participants record all the items of rubbish they find in a 100m stretch. This data is then used to campaign for real change and make a positive impact on our ocean. For example, it powered the introduction of the plastic bag charge, banned microplastics in personal care products, enforced better wet wipe labelling, and supported a tax on single-use plastic items. To get involved, find a beach clean near you or organise your own.
- AWARE Week 18-26th September
The fourth annual AWARE Week encourages and inspires the global dive community to lead or take part in conservation activities and courses focused on local action for global impact. The event will include activities focused on tackling the marine debris crisis, creating awareness for a plastic-free ocean, and empowering local communities to take positive actions for the protection of fragile aquatic environments. A recent PADI blog claimed that PADI - together with the newly announced and publicly funded global charity PADI AWARE Foundation™- aim to take existing programs such as vulnerable species protection and marine debris to the next level. They also want to build on their leadership in marine conservation by tackling other, equally important marine conservation issues including climate change, Marine Protected Areas and coral reefs. They aim to reduce marine debris by 50% in targeted countries by 2030 and need everyone working together at all levels. To get involved find an event close to you, take a Dive Against Debris Specialty and make every dive a survey dive by submitting your data to the largest global underwater database in the world.