From Fear to Hope: A Dive into Living a Net Positive Life for Coral Reefs

How my Journey to Living a Net Positive Life Began Growing up on a Caribbean island, the sea was always my mysterious neighbour. Despite frequent visits to the beach, it felt like a beautiful secret I was never fully welcomed into. That changed when I discovered scuba diving. Then, its inherent importance was revealed to me and my commitment to a Net Positive Life to align myself with global goals for nature and climate began.

Starting on the Great Barrier Reef A few years ago, I found myself on the iconic Great Barrier Reef—a bucket-list destination that whispered tales of vibrant marine life and boundless underwater wonders. As a novice with no prior diving experience, I booked a tour that allowed me to gear up and dive for the first time! With a wetsuit, tank, and regulator, I plunged into the turquoise expanse.

Fear and Failure Despite every landlubbing survival instinct telling me I wasn’t supposed to be there, I pressed on. As I descended to just four feet below the surface, a safety manoeuvre threw me into a panic and it triggered a surge of claustrophobic pressure. At that moment, my instincts rebelled, screaming, “Not today!!!” Defeated, I retreated from the water, convinced that my brief venture into diving marked the beginning and end of my underwater exploration.

A Renewed Resolve: Two years later, the crystal-clear waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands beckoned me. From the surface I witnessed a sea turtle peacefully munching on coral, with a giant sea cucumber lazing on the sand ten feet below. The allure of exploring the underwater world, encountering alien creatures in their natural habitat, was too compelling to resist. I decided to suck up my fear and get my PADI certification. Yes, during my training I did feel anxious once again but I refused to let it stop me. I became stubbornly resilient against fear. Now, with each dive, I am no longer the sea’s acquaintance—we have become friends and confidants.

Why Coral Reefs Matter Have you ever seen an eagle ray glide overhead? Or have a family of lobsters pinch greetings at you from their rock castles? These experiences are like no other, and in our lifetime, they will be lost.

Benefits of Coral Reefs Coral reefs offer a multitude of essential benefits to both marine ecosystems and human communities. They serve as biodiversity hotspots and play a pivotal role in shoreline protection. Additionally, they contribute to global nutrient cycling and absorb carbon dioxide, helping mitigate the effects of climate change. Coral reefs even support tourism, providing economic benefits for many regions.

Climate Change and Coral Reefs Sadly, climate change poses a significant threat to coral reefs. As temperatures rise, coral experiences stress, leading to a phenomenon known as coral bleaching. Persistent stress can make coral more susceptible to diseases and, in severe cases, result in death.

Climate change also contributes to ocean acidification, hindering the ability of coral to grow and thrive. Addressing climate change is crucial to preserving the health and resilience of these intricate marine ecosystems.

Why I plan to live Net Positive Life and why you should to I didn’t face my fears for nothing Having witnessed the wonderful biodiversity underwater and understanding its importance, I no longer wish to unconsciously move through life, unknowingly contributing to the downfall of our planet. Fighting against the climate and nature crisis is another anxiety-causing experience that I want to face head on. To dive, I followed a course to achieve my goals, and now, to do my part in protecting the planet, I have come up with a plan to live a Net Positive Life that is aligned with the global goals for nature and climate. I have done this in hopes that I can continue diving magnificent reefs into my 90s.

How can you live a Net Positive Life? If you’ve been diving before, I bet you understand what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, take my word for it: Coral reefs are so worth the effort to protect. That’s why I implore you to align yourself with global goals and choose to live Net Positively too. Just like all the tiny coral polyps add up to make extensive reefs, all our collective actions will add up to make a big impact on our planet. You can make a plan with a tool like Better Century’s NetPositiveLifeApp and chart your progress towards global goals.

Take a look at my chart!

Seeing the bars go down is super satisfying and actually… when making the plan I really wanted to get under the green line by 2030, so my latest goal is to get a hybrid vehicle by then (whereas that action wasn’t on my radar before).

If you want to see my full plan have a look at it here

Okay it’s time for me to get off of my soap box but I hope if you’ve reached this far you’ve been inspired to take action for nature and climate and go on to make your own net positive life plan :blush:

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Nice post @AmandaLY - love that you have made your plan now, and it makes you feel optimistic about what’s possible :smiling_face:

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