PADI and Project AWARE Collaborate to Form PADI AWARE Foundation
To coincide with World Oceans Day earlier this week on 8 June, PADI has announced the creation of the PADI AWARE Foundation, officially bringing the Project AWARE Foundation under the PADI brand umbrella.
The Project AWARE Foundation was formed in 1989 by a group of PADI instructors and has operated as an independent not-for-profit charity dedicated to conservation of the world's oceans. Several official Project AWARE specialty courses were available to PADI dive centres, and students have had the opportunity to received a Project AWARE themed certification by donating to the charity after completing any of the available PADI dive courses.
'The new PADI AWARE Foundation shares PADI’s mission to expand advocacy and achieve critical ocean conservation goals in the years ahead. Leveraging PADI’s vast membership network of Mission Hubs across the world, the PADI AWARE Foundation will operate as an independent non-profit organisation supported by the PADI brand and organisation.'
One of the new PADI AWARE Foundation's first projects will be the launch of a 'Community Grant Programme', which will provide financial assistance for environmental initiatives run dive centres and resorts. Participating operations will be known as 'PADI Mission Hubs' with the goal to recruit one billion 'PADI Torchbearers' to explore and protect the ocean.
To help people find activities in areas local to them, a new Conservation Activities Locator has been created on PADI's website.
'Saving the ocean requires all of us around the world acting together in thousands of ways on local and international levels, united by our passion to provide balance between humanity and the ocean across the planet,' said Drew Richardson, president and CEO of PADI Worldwide. 'As we enlist PADI Torchbearers and encourage them to become global ambassadors in the movement to save the ocean, it is critical that we provide a clear pathway to action.'
In mission statement dubbed the 'Blueprint for Ocean Action', the new PADI AWARE Foundation, has announced that it will work to:
- Rid the oceans of marine debris: Reduce marine debris by 50% in targeted countries through strategic partnerships and the PADI AWARE Community Grant Programme
- Multiply the number of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Protect 30% of the ocean through partner collaboration and expansion of the Adopt a Dive Site programme
- Protect endangered and vulnerable marine species: Protect 20 vulnerable shark and ray species by deploying in-country conservation campaigns
- Accelerate coral reef recovery and restoration: Restore 5% of coral reef habitats through citizen science programs and project funding for key coral reef habitats
- Reduce and offset the carbon footprint of the diving industry: Achieve carbon neutrality across the PADI organisation’s supply chain and mobilise PADI Torchbearers to restore, protect and fund seagrass habitats to offset carbon
'To achieve these goals, we will unite the largest network of dive centres and resorts, dive professionals, and citizen divers the world has ever seen in order to take action as PADI Torchbearers in their communities, linking local action to global impact,' said Richardson. 'The vision for the Conservation Activities Locator tool is to enable divers and other ocean enthusiasts to turn their passions into purpose and bring forward a new era of ocean stewardship and sustainability.'
For more information about the PADI AWARE Foundation, PADI Mission Hubs, the PADI Torchbearers community and how to get involved, visit padi.com/conservation.