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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Diving Local, Thinking Global: Can Dive Professionals Contribute to Climate Change Literacy?


The recreational dive industry has successfully contributed towards greater marine conservation on a local-scale, and diving can increase individual divers’ environmental consciousness. The dive industry is facing losses in economic viability as the effects of global climate change decrease the attractiveness of global dive destinations. The effects of sea level rise, warmer temperatures ocean acidification deoxygenation, and increased storm frequency, contribute to loss of kelp and corals, diminishing the value of diving. Dive professionals are distinctly appropriate as climate change educators as their livelihoods are affected by climate change, and they have access to clients with a revealed willingness-to-pay for a healthy marine environment. A research survey was conducted to international dive professionals through social media platforms in order to assess how climate change information has affected dive professionals’ beliefs, knowledge and actions. The results indicated that dive professionals overwhelming believe in climate change, but that high belief does not correlate with high knowledge or actions. This observed dichotomy between pro-climate beliefs and actions likely exists beyond the recreational scuba diving industry, and suggests that conservation approaches should emphasize putting climate change in a real-world context, with tangible action-items to promote effective change.

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