We see the word so much nowadays it almost has become passé. Green. Go green. Live green. Buy green. Recycling and composting and reducing and reusing. We have all been exposed to it, and we all know the importance of it, but what exactly can we do about it? You might have heard the other popular buzz word that has been bandied about: Sustainability. But what is sustainability, and how do we sportsmen do our part? You want to help. You want to be a good and responsible steward of the land and sea, so how ? Good question. There is an abundance of things that we can do as outdoor enthusiasts to ensure we are passing on a legacy of clean water and unpolluted land and air to our children and our children’s children. Scuba Divers, fishermen, and hunters all can adopt a few new techniques for keeping our planet green and clean.
Divers are in a unique position every time they splash in the water—we can either hurt or help the environment. One of the most important decisions a diver can make is where to dive. If you are planning on traveling to a resort for a dive vacation, be sure to choose one that features such sustainable practices as water conservation, biodegradable cleaners, low impact construction methods, solar water heaters, waste-water treatment systems and landscaping designed to eliminate harmful runoff into the fragile marine Eco-system. There are many green resorts all over the world, and finding the right one will make a huge difference in your conservation efforts.
Once you’ve found your perfect resort, the next thing you want to do is practice smart, diligent diving. The first thing to make sure to remember is to pay any fees or donate to the local conservation groups in the area, especially if they are reef protection agencies. Reefs need all the help they can get these days. In the water there are numerous opportunities for a diver to do good, or harm, depending on how aware you are. The most important thing for a diver to do is be as proficient as you can with your diving skills. Make sure you are neutrally buoyant and practice proper finning so as to not disturb the wildlife or reefs. Select your entry and exit points with care and stay at a reasonable distance from reefs. Try to keep off the bottom and do not touch coral, even with gloves. Do not take things out of the water, except trash. Do not harass the marine life, they are not there for your amusement.
What goes for divers also goes for fishermen. We have a singular opportunity to do good, and we must take every step we can to minimize our impact on the environment. Though much of the new-age, high-tech equipment isn’t the most eco-friendly in the world, there are many ways an eco-conscientious fisherman can do his part.
Every heard of S.A.F.E. Angling? It stands for Sustaining Angling, Fish, & Ecosystems, and it’s designed to get anglers the best information on how to be a steward on the water. It equips you with the practices and products you need to practice eco-friendly fishing. To learn about reduced-impact gear like lead-free lures, biodegradable baits, hooks, and angling accessories like nets and scales, go to recycledfish.org.
“Green hunting” has been gaining favor over the last few years as a way for traditional hunters to enjoy their sport while at the same time helping the cause of conservation. Also called Dart Safaris, these hunts are known as “the thrill without the kill” because, by using tranquilizer guns, it gives adventurers a big-game hunting experience without killing the animal. One website states: “Imagine the thrill of tracking, spotting, stalking and hunting the world’s greatest game animals at close range in Africa – lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant and rhinoceros – without killing any of them.”
Dart safaris present an exceptional interaction between conservation and sport hunting. A hunter can shoot trophy wildlife and scientific research and management can be conducted simultaneously. It’s the equivalent of catch and release for anglers.
Sources: habitatbonaire.com | deepblueadventures.com |southafrica.info |recycledfish.org | nspca.co.za