In comic book culture, it’s believed that if a person can control all the elements, then they can become the most powerful superhero in the world.
When a person can control the elements, there is little that can get in their way. Every PADI Diver has an important superpower that can be harnessed to save the ocean – your unique experiences, passions and drive to protect the underwater world can shape the future of this planet. You don’t need to control all the elements in the universe, you only need to use what you already have to protect it.
There’s no denying it, the power of the torchbearer lies in our ability to mobilize the world’s largest ever network of divers, united behind one common goal – to save the ocean. We each bring our own skills and experiences to the table, be they diving-related or otherwise. What that means is we each have our own super power that only we can use to stand up for the ocean.
In a world full of comparisons and self-doubt, it can seem hard to define your super power. It may even seem as though you don’t have one. Well, I can tell you that is simply not the case! Often, our most powerful talents are hidden in our everyday. Perhaps it’s a quirky passion for parrotfish, past experience in an unrelated business sector or even the ability to spark up conversation with anyone from anywhere.
Combine these skills with another super power that all PADI Divers have – your first-hand experience of the marine world and ability to share it with your community – and the value of our individuality becomes clear. Together, our diversity is our strength.
Take the Dive Against Debris community for example. It begins with a single diver choosing to pick up that fragment of plastic, but has lead us to now remove over a million pieces of debris from the ocean.
“The first global analysis of coastal debris across land and seafloor habitat tangibly demonstrates the important role that citizen science programs can play to inform and mitigate environmental pollution. Scuba divers are especially valuable since they are first responders and can act as the underwater eyes for the marine environment. When PADI divers make ‘Every Dive a Survey Dive’ they truly make a difference in advancing marine conservation.” – Danna Moore, Project AWARE Global Operations Director
Take Leon Haines, a PADI Instructor in the Gili Islands. After noticing that the corals were struggling he knew something had to be done and approached his manager (*note, this was his super power).
Blue Marlin Gili Air is now a Conservation Diver Training Center, educating new divers on the world’s leading methods of reef restoration. And guess what? You could be the next Leon – in fact, maybe you already are! It’s on each of us to uncover our talents and bring them to the surface to save the ocean!
Another example is Dr. Martin Stelfox, a PADI Instructor who noticed the damage ghost fishing nets were doing to sea turtles when working in the Maldives. Martin’s super power was his life-long love for reptiles and firm belief that rescue efforts could go further.
“To me, it felt like we weren’t reaching out to the origin of why this was happening in the first place.” – Dr. Martin Stelfox, The Olive Ridley Turtle Project
As a result, he set up The Olive Ridley Project. The organisation is now based in multiple locations around the Indian Ocean, working to protect sea turtles and their habitats through research, education, outreach and rehabilitation. However, one need not be working in the dive industry to lend a super power to the cause.
Autumn Blum, founder of Stream2Sea, was fun diving when she stumbled across her ocean-saving super power.
“I was doing my safety stop and saw a rainbow on the surface, and I thought it was pretty cool until I got closer and realised it was coming off some snorkelers. It was actually sunscreen oil slick. I get back on the boat and see all us divers rinsing off and I’m looking over at this beautiful reef and envisioning Nemo down there just gasping! As an cosmetic chemist, that was the first time I really thought about how the products I made impact our environment. I came come, quit my job and started Stream2Sea.” – Autumn Blum, founder of Stream2Sea.
Today, divers have the option to protect themselves and the reef from damage, thanks to Autumn’s unique super power. Remember, every last one of you have that same potential within you and it’s our shared responsibility to look inwards and think about how we can make a difference.
Perhaps your super power lies in your local community? Take Lembeh Dive Resort & Spa, a dive resort in Indonesia that puts people at their core.
By supporting nearby villages, divers are able to travel in a way that’s both authentic, environmentally friendly and enriching for the local community. Had Brigitte, Dive Center Manager and Kathrin, General Manager, not combined their own super powers and taken the initiative to do business differently, both the dive and local community would be a lot poorer. They explain, “We wanted to give something back to the community by recognizing that people are our greatest and most important resource, supporting them to live sustainably and strengthening them economically”.
Our super power could be something as simple as having internet access! Over the past few months, the online Torchbearer Facebook Community has chosen to speak up.
Hundreds of us have added our names to petitions that support a ban on shark fin imports to the UK, protect Mako Sharks in the Atlantic and defend spider crabs and cuttlefish in Australia. The community’s special power has been our ability to recognize that our voices are louder together.
To join in yourself, simply sign up as a PADI Torchbearer at padi.com/onebillion, then you’ll receive an instant invite by email to join the group.
At PADI and Project AWARE, we understand that being part of the team is a super power.
Though most of us are not diving everyday – instead taking care of business in the office – we see our daily habits as a chance to set the tone for the wider organisation. As Rosaria Apuzzo, Customer Relations Assistant in Bristol shows, we’re all thinking about ways we can apply the Torchbearer 5 to our own lives, using our unique skills and – dare I say it – super powers to make change.
She explains, “When I go to the shop with my son we do a mini-campaign to inspire people, speaking up when checking each plastic package, and refusing to buy anything that is not recyclable by saying out loud “we will not buy this item as we care about our planet”.
Meet more of the team and find out how we’re saving the ocean with small changes to our everyday here.
It may feel like the challenges we face are overwhelming. However, as recent events have shown, each day is an opportunity to start doing things differently and there are literally millions of us.
As the world’s largest ever network of ocean advocates with first-hand experience of the ocean, we are more prepared than any other community on the planet has ever been to take on this challenge. This is the PADI Torchbearer Movement and the future is bright.