"IN THE END, WE WILL CONSERVE ONLY WHAT WE LOVE,
WE WILL LOVE ONLY WHAT WE UNDERSTAND,
WE WILL UNDERSTAND ONLY WHAT WE ARE TAUGHT."
-SENEGALESE ENVIRONMENTALIST BABA DIOUM
Sustainability addresses how individuals and communities live in balance with their ecological, social and economic environments. Designing, building and maintaining sustainable developments enables an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves quality of life.
Ocean First Divers will achieve sustainability in the built environment not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Our goal is to become as close to energy independent as the existing facility will permit, relying primarily on the addition of solar power and the reduction of electricity and gas consumption to reach that goal. We address all major sources of energy use and reduce to the best of our ability in each department. We completed a major building retrofit with the help of Boulder County's ClimateSmart program, which can be found under our "shop retrofit" landing page. At the start of 2012, we identified an entirely new list of progressive initiatives, including attaining an eco-certification rating from Sustainable Travel International, and we're very excited to continue developing our environmental policies.
In 2012, Ocean First Divers developed written policies which:
• Identify our company's sustainability goals and a system for monitoring them.
• Defined our commitment to responsible diving best practices.
• Pledge to protect community interests.
• Document an integrated solid and liquid waste management plan.
• Document our water and pool management policy.
• Document our hazardous waste, compressor maintenance and chemical management, documentation and labeling policies.
• Document our vehicles maintenance schedules.
• Identify our purchasing policy, giving preference to environmentally friendly materials, merchandise, food and consumables while avoiding purchasing products that are harmful to the environment.
We developed a code of conduct and guidelines for:
• Visitor behavior in sensitive environmental areas. This code will include a policy which prohibits contact with threatened, endangered or dangerous wildlife and a policy on the violation of this code.
• Tours occurring in indigenous, cultural and historically sensitive areas.
We also established:
• Tour briefing materials on how to minimize impact on the environment.
• Energy management plan and policy to reduce electricity usage, fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
• A plan to reduce pollution from noise, light, runoff, erosion, ozone depleting compounds, and air and soil contaminates.
• A rental equipment policy stating guidelines for proper maintenance and replacement of rental equipment.
• Training program for customer service.
• Monitoring the employment and promotion of local residents, women and ethnic minorities.
• Documented business and marketing plan.
• Staff training on coastal and marine ecology by conservation experts.
• Staff training materials that include environmental regulations that are relevant to the sites visited.
• LEED bronze certification or its equivalent.
In addition to these programs and policies, OFD plans to convert our beloved pool to saline in an effort to reduce the volume of chemicals used and housed on-site.
Our definition of what constitutes an environmentally responsible business continues to evolve. As we learn more about the environment and our impact on it, we adapt to ensure our business practices and corporate philosophy keep with the changing times. Too long have companies engaged in greenwashing and publicity stunts to further their image and position in the market. With the twenty-first century comes a new mindset for what constitutes a conscientious business. Only those companies that evolve and continue to raise the bar will succeed.
We love to hear from you! If you have questions, comments or ideas to share please contact us
In October 2009, Ocean First Divers lead a trip to the Banda Sea, Indonesia. We spent the last two days muck diving in Ambon Harbor. To our dismay, there were considerable amounts of rubbish, both in the water and on the shore, throughout the harbor. We felt obliged to contact the owners of the Archipelago liveaboard and insist that some measures be implemented to try and address this growing concern. They asked that we write letters as concerned tourists to the local government to help usher in programs that might help mitigate the refuse in the water and educate the children in the community on the importance of preserving their local environment. After submitting numerous letters to the Archipelago, this was the response we received from their management. Needless to say, we were delighted to hear that swift action was underway and our influence had helped the process of addressing the environmental degradation in the area.
"I have several other divers who have also taken the initiative to become part of the solution, so I’m very grateful and happy about that. I’m getting a decent collection of letters ready for my further meetings with the governor and other officials. I even have contacts with some guys from the World Bank in Jakarta, they have funds for assisting with this kind of thing, so I have put the governor and those people in contact already. I’ve been working with Ken at UDT about this too; hopefully his support on the subject, being someone who has sent many divers to Ambon, will help something happen too.
Lets hope we can make a difference.
Andy - Maluku Divers Ambon, Indonesia