2020 has been one crazy year, that’s for certain. The Covid-19 Pandemic has thrown us all off our usual rhythm, marking chaos and hard times for many.

Although the devastating effects of this crisis should not be downplayed, we’d be missing the full picture if we didn’t recognise 2020 as an opportunity for change, a real chance to lay out our preferred vision of the future and make it happen.

As PADI Divers, it’s our legacy. Our logo is a red diver over a blue planet; colors of passion, strength, loyalty and trust. The diver carries a torch signifying inspirational and bold leadership. Almost like a prophecy from way back when, our logo signifies our destiny on this planet.  Since the creation of Project AWARE®, together as the world’s largest ever network of ocean advocates, we’ve become a voice for the ocean.

Today, we have a collective choice to harness the power of 2020 and be part of a future solution, choosing to believe in hope and choosing to take action.

Together, PADI and Project AWARE are inspiring a powerful community of Torchbearers, committed to exploring and protecting our ocean, shining a light on what’s possible,and leading communities towards a sustainable future.

In celebration of the ocean, AWARE Week is taking place from 19th – 27th September 2020!  The global event will once again include activities focused on tackling the marine debris crisis, creating awareness for a plastic-free ocean, and empowering local communities to take positive actions for the protection of fragile aquatic environments, fins on and fins off.

Under the theme – Carry The Torch For Ocean Protection – PADI’s global dive community is invited to join the growing movement of PADI® Torchbearers during AWARE Week to take action for the ocean, above and below the surface. Start your Torchbearer journey with Project AWARE this AWARE Week!

So what does that mean for AWARE Week 2020? It means that this year, AWARE Week is all about taking AWARE actions to start your journey towards becoming a PADI Torchbearer.

The PADI Torchbearer Movement will be guided by the Torchbearer Framework. Five key goals that will guide our actions now and in the days to come, ensuring our individual contributions play into a wider movement that will ultimately turn the dial towards a healthy future for people and planet. 

This year, for each day of AWARE week we’ll dive into each of the goals and take action in whatever way we can, whilst keeping ourselves and our communities safe. Keep reading to get clued up on what’s to come, and get thinking about how you’re going to get involved…

Monday 21st September

Community Goal 1: Stand Up For The Ocean

We will speak up and use our voices to drive positive change. We will lend our support to environmental campaigns, sign petitions, attend key events, write to our representatives and engage in conversation with our local communities. As the world moves forward, we will continue to be the ever-louder voice of the ocean.

AWARE Week Objective: Help Advance The Protection Of Mako Sharks

This year, we hope you’ll join us to stand up for the protection of sharks, one of the most vulnerable marine species on the planet. Last year, Project AWARE helped elevate the diver voice, securing an unprecedented vote to protect Mako sharks and rhino rays (wedgefishes and giant guitarfishes) under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

This year, we will be continuing that campaign to hold governments accountable. We’re promoting and tracking support from Atlantic fishing nations to tackle one of the world’s most pressing shark conservation crisis: the dangerous decline of Atlantic shortfin makos.

Take Action: Is your country missing from the Mako Champions Map? You can help change that! Head to http://www.sharkleague.org/mako-champions/

Tuesday 22nd September

Community Goal 2: Assume Responsibility

We will take direct responsibility for ocean health and act as stewards for the places we love, both above and below the surface. We are driven by the common understanding that all life on Earth is connected and that our actions have a direct impact on the natural world. We will serve as role models in our communities and amplify the movement for the betterment of people and planet.

AWARE Week Objective: Create better habits above and below the surface

This year, we are driven by the common understanding that all life on Earth is connected and that our actions have a direct impact on the natural world.  As divers, we’re drawn to develop a deeper understanding of the ocean’s ecosystems so we can understand key ocean threats, identify ways to take action and give tips to be a responsible ocean adventurer.

Take Action: Sharpen your understanding with the “Top 10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Ocean Planet” pledge and contact your local PADI Dive Instructor to sign up for the fins off Project AWARE Specialty. 

Wednesday 23rd September

Community Goal 3: Dive With A Purpose

We recognize that every dive is an opportunity to collect vital data that can be used to create future protection measures for the ocean.  We will participate in conservation programs and contribute to citizen science through activities that preserve underwater habitats and biodiversity vital to human and planetary health, helping the local communities where we dive. 

AWARE Week Objective: “Every Dive A Survey Dive”

This year, we continue to use our unique skill set to gather critical data for the protection of our ocean. By downloading the Dive Against Debris® App and reporting what you find, you join the largest underwater citizen science movement on the planet. You can directly inform marine debris research, thereby mitigating the impacts of pollution on the ocean planet.

Take Action: Make Every Dive a Survey Dive, Adopt a Dive Site™ and/or sign up for the Dive Against Debris® Specialty! There’s also the chance to donate and receive the Project AWARE limited edition PADI card.

Thursday 24th September

Community Goal 4: Reduce Our Carbon Footprint  

We will restore balance by reducing our own carbon emissions at work and at home. We will help the ocean and coastal communities manage the effects of human-induced climate change by working with key partners to recover and protect seagrass meadows, mangrove forests and salt marshes.

AWARE Week Objective: Shine a light on The Ocean Foundation’s Seagrass Grow Program.

This year, we pledge to do our part in fighting human-induced climate change by mitigating our own carbon footprint by planting seagrass and mangroves. Coastal sea beds are the most powerful CO2 and carbon filters on the planet, storing upwards of 50% of the CO2 that is trapped by the ocean and providing the foundations of life in the ocean.

Take Action: Take steps to reduce your own carbon footprint and contribute to the conservation and restoration of seagrass meadows and mangrove swamps by donating to The Ocean Foundation’s Seagrass Grow Program.

Friday 25th September

Community Goal 5 – Make Sustainable Choices         

We will reject single-use plastic, support genuine eco travel and voluntourism, make sustainable food choices, dive with eco-friendly operators when possible, and support businesses that are taking an innovative approach to sustainability. Our example will influence those around us, paving the way for systemic change.

AWARE Week Objective: Understand Our Purchasing Power

This year, we understand that our choices directly impact the ocean and the behaviour of those around us. We choose to shine a light on what’s possible, choosing to opt for products and services that support a healthy future for our  planet, inspiring others to do the same. Every purchase we make, or don’t make, is a chance to advocate for a brighter future.

Take Action: For one week, choose to be purposely mindful of what you are supporting with every purchase you make, reflect and then share those that are supporting a brighter future with your community.

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