Project AWARE, PADI’s long-term ocean conservation partner, turns 25 this year. It’s an incredible milestone made possible by the global dive community’s continued support for ocean protection and a partnership powered by a shared vision for a healthy ocean. As PADI deepens its commitment to ocean health and marine animal protection through the Four Pillars of Change, Project AWARE’s 25th Anniversary is testament to what can be accomplished when people join forces and engage in meaningful conservation action.
It was in the late 1980s when PADI recognized the need to purposefully engage the dive community in marine conservation efforts. Out of a true concern for the environment, Project A.W.A.R.E. (Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education) was born to harness each diver’s potential to advocate for and protect underwater environments. Over the years, what began as a “project” transformed rapidly into a separate nonprofit organization – the Project AWARE Foundation, which has grown into a full-fledged movement of divers, marine activists and aquatic enthusiasts uniting to take action for ocean protection. In the early days, Project AWARE focused on working to advance environmental awareness through diver education. As the movement grew, Project AWARE shifted its focus to empowering direct community action and campaigning for ocean issues divers care about most.
“Over the past quarter of a century, Project AWARE has stayed at the forefront of emerging ocean issues, amplified divers’ voices on the international stage and brought together a worldwide community tackling some of the most pressing ocean challenges,” says Dr.Drew Richardson, Chairman of the Project AWARE Foundation Board. “From its grassroots inception, Project AWARE has grown into a movement with strong initiatives that have a positive impact on the future of our ocean planet.”
With 25 years of ocean conservation successes fueled by an incredible network of supporters, governments, businesses, NGOs and conservation partners, Project AWARE has much to celebrate. PADI Divers, Dive Centers, Resorts and individual members helped secure historic protections for vulnerable shark and ray species. They’ve contributed to developing the world’s first and only marine debris database with more than 800,000 pieces of debris removed and reported from underwater environments. Using Project AWARE’s unique tools and resources, PADI Members have taught and continue to teach ocean protection to scuba divers, children, families and friends in local communities around the world, inspiring stewards for the ocean.
The past 25 years have created a strong foundation for Project AWARE to build its next wave of ocean protection. Now more than ever, Project AWARE is positioned to lead the charge by empowering the global dive community to be agents of positive change for the ocean, and engage ocean enthusiasts in meaningful conservation actions that the ocean desperately needs. Join the movement and protect our ocean planet – one dive at a timeSM.