Education is Essential

PADI - Out of water - Laughing - Beach

Historian Daniel Boorstin once said, “Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know,” and that applies to the threats to our oceans and global environment. The threats are not always obvious. Before you protest that they are, let me put it this way. I agree that plastic debris are a major threat, but how can we educate our communities that this is the case? Many people on this planet may not have seen the plastic pollution in the world that we have. Maybe a littered beach, but how do folks learn that it’s a global, not local, problem? It is clear from data-driven temperature and climate graphs that average global temperatures are rising, but how do we help our communities accept that this is an urgent, very real problem – that the upward temperature change rate is unprecedented and has continued steadily since we’ve started measuring it? Similarly, we know that recycling helps, and dumping motor oil on the street hurts, but how do we know?

The reality is that it is difficult to see global problems and solutions alone because they’re too big. We make them visible together, communicating and consolidating what we learn locally into the worldwide mosaic that shows us what’s going on globally. It’s how we know the problems, their magnitude and what works or should work to solve them. The scale of global threats means that education isn’t merely important, but essential in bringing about the social changes needed to restore and protect the environment. Unless we’re taught, most of us can’t know about them, much less our roles in solving them.

Dive Against Debris - Underwater Clean Up - Clean Up - Trash in Ocean

Thankfully, education is happening and it works. In a previous blog, I highlighted PADI Pros who educate youngsters about threats to the seas and teach rising generations to prioritize ocean health – after all, saving the seas is really saving us. And, studies find that teaching conservation can start effectively establishing these essential values as young as age four.

In 2015, the Global Education Monitoring report published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) found that “improving knowledge, instilling values, fostering beliefs and shifting attitudes, education has considerable power to help individual reconsider environmentally harmful lifestyles and behavior.” Educating across age ranges is particularly important amid cultures that have not traditionally needed to worry about the environment, but fortunately, recognizing that today we all have to worry about it, a growing number of countries require environmental education, and it’s working. Among them, India has environmental education programs targeted for learners from preschool through adult. It’s estimated that since 2003, in some form or other, these programs have reached 300 million students. The results have been varied and mixed, but generally good and trending positive, these programs are shaping attitudes about individual behaviors, choices and sustainability.

Admittedly, some have questioned the ability to reshape values past adolescence, but a 2017 study in People’s Republic of China studied the effect of environmental education on 287 older (college age) students at Minzu University, Beijing, and found “notable positive effects on environmental attitude.” Beyond this study, China has demonstrated the difference education can make when it supports, and is supported by, government efforts and policy. Formerly the number one consumer of shark fin soup (shark fin soup accounts for about 73 million sharks killed annually), a Wild Aid report says that since 2011 consumption has fallen 80 percent in China.

Shark Underwater - Shark - Ocean - Bull Shark

According to the report, declines in public shark fin demand in China resulted from awareness campaigns (education) coupled with the government’s ban on it for official functions and general discouragement of consuming shark fin. Retired pro basketball player Yao Ming is particularly credited with helping through a highly publicized public education outreach in his home country. Apparently, many people living in China didn’t even know what shark fin soup is (the translated name is “fish-wing-soup”), but now surveys show that more than 90 percent support banning it. Although this is good news for sharks, the Wild Aid report also shows that shark fin consumption is still high and increasing in other countries. Why? As many as half of the consumers/potential consumers are unaware that shark consumption is threatening the animals and poses health hazards. The fix? China shows that education – similar campaigns in these countries – would likely be a great start.

This highlights a crucial point: We’re not all scuba instructors, college professors nor school teachers, but we are all educators. Whether it’s a dinner conversation with friends or gently correcting misconceptions in social media, it’s our responsibility as the oceans’ ambassadors to inform and influence others to see and understand the problems, and how we can make better choices to keep Earth sustainable.

Don’t underestimate your influence in doing this – as a diver, you’ve seen the underwater world’s wonder and fragility, and likely some of the damage, first-hand. What you can teach is compelling, and passes the sustainability imperative to our rising generation of educators. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

Register Now- PADI Business Academy Bali 2019

Business Academy- PADI

Join us on the 9th and 10th of May 2019 in Bali for the PADI Business Academy.

Improve your business and marketing strategies in 2019 by attending the PADI Business Academy, presented by your regional PADI field services team and members of the PADI marketing team.

2019 Presentation Topics

Over the course of the two days attendees can expect to gain further knowledge on the following topics:

  • Elements of a Successful Website
  • Business Planning
  • Email Marketing & Messenger Marketing
  • Pricing and Sales
  • Training & Motivating
  • Social Media & Video
  • Customer Service and Retention

There will also be dedicated workshops throughout the PADI Business Academy so you can work with a PADI team member on specific items for your dive operation.

BONUS – Early Bird Offer

Register before Saturday, 28 March 2019 and receive AUD$40 off the cost of your registration. Plus, if you register and pay for three people, you will receive the fourth registration free!

The number of attendees is limited to ensure that the PADI Business Academy staff can really focus on you. Register today to make sure you don’t miss out.

Register Now

View more PBA dates in 2019.

If you have any questions, please email 

Save the Date – PADI Women’s Dive Day 2019

Scuba Sarah - Cayman - Scuba Diver

For the past four years PADI® Dive Centers, Resorts and Professional Members have hosted thousands of events in more than 100 countries to celebrate PADI Women’s Dive Day.

With record-breaking participation in 2018, the day brought together divers of all genders, ages and experience levels.

Be part of the fifth annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on 20 July 2019. Promote your business and strengthen both the local and global dive community by hosting an event.

Registration will open soon.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.  

Why You Should Consider Sri Lanka For Your Next Group Dive Trip

Sri Lanka - White Sand - Beach - Tropical

Written by PADI Regional Training Consultant, Robert Scammell

Sri Lanka has probably been one of the best kept secrets for both tourism and for diving. As a country it has a complete diversity of attractions to offer visitors from temples and safaris through to historical monuments. It also offers fantastic reefs and wrecks along with whale and dolphin watching opportunities. Sri Lanka was recently voted by The Lonely Planet as the best country to visit in 2019

Sri Lanka has a lot to offer your divers on the topside. From its historic monuments with the ancient Sigirya city and fortress anchored into its rock. Here you will find the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which is a large temple featuring a sacred tooth relic, the canine tooth of Buddha. Adding to this are amazing national parks such as Udawaleme National Park with native wildlife including birds and elephants. Along with scenic towns such as Galle, famous for its fortress, offering incredible restaurants and markets.

However importantly Sri Lanka offers incredible diving and snorkeling opportunities for your dive group. It has a long established dive industry owned and managed mostly by locals.

Diving typically takes place, due to the monsoon season, on the West coast from late October through to mid to late April and then from late April until mid-October on the East coast, with most business changing locations between the two seasons.

The West coast begins as far south as Mirissa and Unawantuna, offering great boat diving on scenic reefs along with whale watching. Moving north is the historic Dutch Fort Town of Galle through to Hikkaduwa, where the majority of diving is shallow shore reef diving offering an abundance of marine life including turtles. There is also great offshore reefs and wreck diving to explore. Moving north along to the Colombo region you find another popular diving region. Colombo itself offers over 16 wrecks in its coastal waters. Further north and closer to the airport is the Negombo area offering boat diving to local reefs and wrecks.

Moving to the East Coast, diving is mainly based around the port city of Trincomalee and Nilaveli areas. This region offers an array of boat diving on local reefs and around the Pigeon Island area. You and your divers will have opportunities to enjoy the spinner dolphins and whale watching too. If you have technical divers in your group, you can venture further down the South-East coast to the Batticaloa area. This area is home to the famous wreck of HMS Hermes.

Sri Lanka offers something for everyone on your dive group. You and your divers can enjoy a day in the tea plantations, a train ride through the hillsides and a whole array of diving and snorkeling activities to suit all ages. Whether it is a whale watching trip, a relaxing fun dive or a more technical dive experience, Sri Lanka offers it all.

Find out more information on Sri Lanka or contact your PADI Regional Manager.