I recently visited the island of Koh Tao, off the coast of Thailand. It's an island geared up (pardon the pun) for divers. Around 350,000 people visit this tiny island each year - to dive, relax, dive and relax plus there's a fair amount of partying as well! It's an incredible place - nothing like it.
The community on Koh Tao take action every day to protect this beautiful island. And there are key leaders driving this action on every front. I was fortunate enough to meet with 7 of these leaders, Natalie from Sunshine, Caroline from Koh Exist, Jen from Big Blue, Chad from Save Koh Tao, Dev from New Heaven, Nathan from Crystal and Guillame and Marcel from Bans.
It was very apparent - from the moment I arrived on the island, the passion and dedication to take action to protect their island was incredible. From creating artificial reefs to take pressure from existing dive sites, teaching divers marine ecology programs, removing rubbish, monitoring corals - these guys take pride in their actions, cooperate with each other and seek solutions. I'm looking forward to helping our leaders put their eco plans in to place over the next few months and make their eco dreams a reality.
With all this positive action taking place I was disappointed to see how some visitors to the island behaved. While in a coffee shop I witnessed not one but several people throw their ciggie butts on the floor, drop plastic bags, leave their coke cans on the side of pavement. I couldn't believe that people think that this is an acceptable way to behave. They are guests in a country, enjoying the beautiful dive sites and the incredible environment and lifestyle. Why would they act in this way? It just doesn't make sense to me and, three weeks later, I'm still baffled by this ignorance.
While our AWARE Leaders are battling on the ground and under the water, we can all help by treading lightly on this ocean planet. Be responsible for your actions, change your own behaviour and if you can't take action any other way please please please, just put your rubbish in the bin. It's really not very hard.