Earth Day to See Communities Worldwide Take a Stand in Protecting Delicate Aquatic Ecosystems
Contact: Florence Depondt, The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)
Phone: (415) 834-0900 ext.313
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Photos and Promotional Materials Available
San Francisco, CA - November 29, 2005 - What comes to mind when you think of Earth Day? Most people envision planting trees, picking up garbage in local parks, and children creating colorful arts and crafts to learn about the Earth’s ecosystem. Since its establishment in 2000, Dive In To Earth Day has been broadening people’s knowledge of Earth Day to include the education and conservation of our planet’s aquatic ecosystems. It has given communities an opportunity to voice their concern of the rapid degradation of their local aquatic environment and an opportunity to reverse this trend by organizing hands-on, educational conservation events such as underwater cleanups, reef restoration projects, and snorkel tours for kids.
“Dive In To Earth is an incredible program that will not only foster a better understanding of our beautiful and delicate underwater world,” explains Host Committee member and World Champion Freediver Tanya Streeter, “but it also brings communities together for a necessary and essential cause. With the efforts of Dive In and the thousands of incredible participants, more light is being shed on the urgent need to protect this vast and threatened world."
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) launched Dive In To Earth Day in 2000 to remind Earth Day celebrants that the 72 percent of the planet covered by water requires urgent attention. Dive In has become a huge driving force for environmental awareness and now generates 24 percent of all registered international Earth Day activities, engaging communities in more than 103 countries and territories. The number of participants has grown exponentially from 5,000 in 2000 to a staggering 75,000 in 2005 with more getting involved with the realization that Dive In is having a positive and long-lasting impact on aquatic ecosystems worldwide.
According to Brian Huse, Executive Director of CORAL,“Coral reefs support more than a quarter of all known marine species in more than 100 different countries. And as an integral part of one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet, the underwater environment requires worldwide education and active conservation. Dive In To Earth will continue to achieve that exact goal.”
Dive In To Earth Day is celebrated annually throughout the world by environmentally-conscious dive clubs, local schools, and community groups, among others. Whether organizing beach cleanups along the Californian coast in the USA, educational activities for children in Sweden, reef surveys in Mexico, and underwater cleanups in Thailand, Dive In organizers instilled greater positive environmental awareness on their community and motivated hundreds of thousands of participants to become more involved with conservation on a daily basis.
“The most rewarding aspect of organizing a Dive In To Earth Day activity is spreading the environmental message by educating people about how our irresponsible actions lead to (and how to act responsibly to prevent) various forms of pollution even before they occur,” said Venkatesh Charloo of Barracuda Diving India who organized an underwater cleanup at Grande Island, Goa. “The participants learn and absorb valuable info and leave with a sense of having done something socially responsible as a community-based effort.”
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is a nonprofit coral reef conservation organization headquartered in San Francisco, California, dedicated to protecting the health of coral reefs by integrating ecosystem management, sustainable tourism and community partnerships. CORAL coordinates Dive In To Earth Day in partnership with Project AWARE Foundation (www.projectaware.org) and with the support of West Marine, Earth Day Network and the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN).
For more information, visit www.coral.org.