How do you support ocean conservation where you live and teach scuba diving miles away from the sea? Robert Soncini, PADI Pro and safety diver at the prestigious Cirque du Soleil show “O” in Las Vegas USA, answered this question by joining the 100% AWARE program and the growing number of partners who are putting ocean protection at the heart of their dive business.
The 100% AWARE program allows dive professionals like Robert to give back to the ocean by making the commitment to turn their student divers into Project AWARE ambassadors with each certification. With less than 2% of the ocean being protected, more and more dive professionals are recognizing that a clean, healthy ocean is critical to the future of their business and taking action to protect it can be as easy as supporting Project AWARE via the 100% AWARE partnership. Robert tells us how and why he decided to become a 100% AWARE partner even though the ocean is not on his doorstep:
"I have always thought it would be difficult to promote and support ocean conservation being that we live in the desert and that most of the training I conduct is in fresh water lakes with the occasional trip to the ocean. I never actively promoted Project AWARE until I read about the 100% AWARE program.
While reviewing information on enrolling in the PADI Course Director Training Course I came across the program and decided that this was the program where I wanted to focus my efforts.
I have just recently teaching my first classes as a 100% AWARE supporter. During orientation, I mention that I will make a contribution on behalf of the student to Project AWARE and that they will receive a special certification card. I then issue a challenge to all students to match or exceed my contribution to further the efforts of Project AWARE. Usually, once I show them the card they will receive that is enough, but when I tell them about the efforts that Project AWARE focuses on, I usually receive a match donation from them. I share with them the Issues and Projects that Project AWARE is committed too. I also have available for them the hand out "10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Ocean Planet".
My contribution to Project AWARE is small, however as an Instructor, I can reach a much broader base and help become that change. I have the ability to effect a change with my student base and we can reach much more from our land locked state of Nevada. Acting locally, thinking globally.”
We’re delighted to have our first 100% AWARE Partner in the desert miles away from the ocean in Las Vegas USA and we’re grateful to all our partners who make ocean protection a reality thanks to their continued support!
Do you have a 100% AWARE story to share? We’d love to hear from you. And if you're still unsure about how to support Project AWARE, join Robert: Go 100% AWARE in 2014 or dive with 100% AWARE partners!