A professional PADI diver for over 35 years and an educator at Georgia Tech University in the United States for 34 years, Jim Consuegra is an ardent ocean activist. Throughout his diving and university teaching career, Jim has been a vocal advocate for the protection of our ocean and all marine creatures, teaching students and divers to become active participants in global efforts to protect the environment. It was Nelson Mandela who said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – an ideal that Jim Consuegra truly embodies.
As the Academic Director of Computing and IT programs and Program Director for the Georgia Tech Scuba Club (GTScuba), Jim firmly believes in the importance of a hands-on learning approach emphasizing technical skills that can be applied in the real world. Each year, he and other university faculty sponsor an international travel experience for students in the GTScuba training program. This year, Jim wanted to find a way to allow his students an opportunity to give back to the communities they’d visit. As a strong supporter of Project AWARE’s marine conservation programs throughout his dive career, Jim immediately felt a Dive Against Debris™ survey would be the perfect fit.
For this year’s GTScuba dive trip, Jim and his colleagues led a group of 47 students on a Dive Against Debris on the island of Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. The group was briefed with an introduction to underwater environmental awareness, and then divided into teams that would collaborate in debris retrieval underwater and data reporting on land. In about five hours, the group was able to remove over 900 items of rubbish from the sea floor! The sheer amount of trash discovered by the team left students with a new understanding of the global marine debris issue.
Jim notes, “Though participants were already aware of ocean pollution as a problem, the Dive Against Debris allowed them to really wrap their heads around the reality of it and the importance of taking action to do something about it.”
For too many, the marine debris problem often remains out of sight and out of mind. That’s why it’s so important that scuba divers like Jim Consuegra continue to shed light on what really lies beneath the waves. Through grassroots action, volunteer leadership and education, Jim is leading his students in the fight to protect our ocean planet. Thank you, Jim, for your incredible commitment to marine conservation education!
Join Jim in the fight against ocean trash. Dive Against Debris today.
Photo courtesy: Kyle Lucy