It seems that we are left in a bit of a quandary when it comes to deciding if we are doing more harm than good in our scuba diving ventures. Obviously experiencing just how amazing and stunning the undersea life is should be an incentive to help protect these expanses and could work in a way to urge you to make an effort to do so.
However, sadly it has been more common that instead of taking the visual beauty of the coral reefs and sea life and snapping a picture to remember them, tourists are more apt to taking an actual piece home with them. And even if you are strapped into your scuba diving equipment and intend to only look but not touch you could still be contributing to the fast destruction of the coral reefs by accidentally kicking a section off. Coral reefs are very delicate and between pesky keepsake collectors, inattentive flippers, and even boat anchors being dropped down on them they are being ruined at an alarming rate. Along with tearing down the very same wondrous sights we came to see, tourists to the hottest scuba diving sites are further damaging the planet through a variety of other means.
There is the carbon emissions that are released in our travel both to the destinations and then as we taxi ourselves around. This has already proven to be detrimental to the Earth and the subsequent climate changes speak more than any amount of words. As we live in these fast paced times and go in with the mentality that we are after all on holiday and deserve to treat ourselves to the very best, are we doing more harm than good? While there is the obvious argument that lack of environmental concern is certainly not doing Mother Nature any favours, others could say that by contributing to the local economies of these heavily trafficked tourist sites we are doing them a favour. It is true, especially in the poorer countries that boast hot scuba diving locales, that the influx of people keep the locals and the economy afloat. By putting our money into their hotels, shops, restaurants, and other community resources we are keeping them out of poverty and actually helping. There is also the point that in bringing in so many eager scuba divers to experience what lies beneath, the local government could use that as a basis to help promote saving these precious ecosystems and sea life.
So there must be a middle ground to make us feel like we are not simply using and abusing the underwater wonderlands for the perfect holiday without any regard to the future. A compromise could be that by allowing us to strap on that scuba mask and flippers we can behold all the aquatic delights but at the same time we must take care to preserve the coral reefs. Don't pick at it, be careful not to accidentally kick it, and then spread that awareness to others. And when it comes to the local economy, continue to help them by paying for lodgings and food, but perhaps cut back a bit on the taxi fare to help reduce carbon emissions.