We’re delighted to announce Clidive’s own ‘carbon offsetting’ initiative, compensating for some of the environmental impact of our dive trips.
Diving is an inherently conflicted sport when it comes to the environment: on the one hand our activities on and under the water give us a greater awareness of the fragility of marine ecosystems and help to make marine conservation more financially viable, particularly in poorer countries.
On the other, particularly as a London-based club, we are forced to travel many miles to reach the coast and RIB and hard-boat diving consumes a lot of fuel.
Over the years, we have tried to do our bit: the club van – now compliant with ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emission Zone) standards – means we can reduce car travel on dive trips by transporting the kit in one vehicle, allowing members to travel by train. We need to carry water on the boat, but we try to buy the minimum number of plastic bottles and refill them from the tap.
As part of its 2021 goal-setting exercise, the Committee agreed that Clidive should have an aspiration to be more sustainable as a club. That is why, at the suggestion of member Debbie Pippard, we have decided to pilot including an optional ‘carbon levy’ on all dive trips.
We discussed the idea with a good cross-section of members on the March training/diving trip to Egypt and the feedback was extremely positive, with some very helpful suggestions as to how the levy might operate.
How will it work?
An optional levy
We know that some members already make efforts to reduce or compensate for their carbon footprint and we therefore won’t make the levy compulsory; nor will we attempt to take into account individual travel. For simplicity, however, we will include the levy in all trip diving charges and leave people to opt out should they wish. Equally, we can all decide to pay more!
Again, to keep things simple, we will base the levy on rough calculations of van miles, boat miles and diving days. As an example, we have calculated that a bank holiday trip to Plymouth will generate around one tonne of CO2.
We have looked into how offsetting rates are normally calculated but have decided to use a rate ranging from £1 to £2 per diver per day, depending on the destination, on the basis that we can reasonably assume it will cover our footprint.
Finally, we have decided not to pay into a carbon offsetting scheme directly, but use the money raised from the levy to support an environmental initiative that helps us to meet longer-term environmental goals and has a direct link to UK diving.
For this year at least, all money raised will be donated to the Ocean Conservation Trust, which focuses on pro-ocean behaviour and habitat restoration. Although it works globally, it has very specific schemes in UK waters including Plymouth Sound and the South Coast where many of our club trips are run.
In particular, it is involved in many initiatives to protect and restore seagrass, which is a nursery for the ocean and captures up to 35 times more carbon than many land-based initiatives such as tree planting.
We are hoping to have further interaction with the trust during the year.
We hope all members will support this initiative. If you have any immediate feedback, please send it to Diving Officer, Nick Barter: firstname.lastname@example.org.