That is the bold aim set forth by Central Caribbean Marine Institute in Little Cayman, as CCMI joins the world in marking 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef.
CCMI President and Director of Research Dr. Carrie Manfrino told Cayman 27 zero impact starts with everyday sustainability.
“The worst thing in the world is complacency, you know, we need to be aware of the fact that we do have an impact on the environment, everything we do has an impact,” said Dr. Manfrino.
Dr. Manfrino said CCMI is going all in on its zero impact pledge.
“What we want is to see that we all have zero impact on our ecosystem, and that we really think about how we are linked to the ocean,” said Dr. Manfrino.
That means for divers to maintain good buoyancy and stay off the reefs. This may entail giving a dive buddy a reality check if bad behaviour is observed.
“We are really hoping we can be the excuse for divers and for people to say lets have a zero impact,'”said Dr. Manfrino.
In the water and above its surface, there’s another route to zero impact, she said, and that involves everyday sustainability: cleaning up plastic pollution and reducing one’s own reliance on single-use items.
“We are really hoping that people will get excited about what they can do, what actions they can take, using less plastic bags, having the ability to bring a cup with you, or a bottle with you when you go out, and not buy bottled water,” she said.
She told Cayman 27 if people can change their habits, it can influence the oceans around us.
“Things like that make a really big impact,” said Dr. Manfrino.
For its part, Dr. Manfrino told Cayman 27 CCMI will be bringing its zero impact message to dive tourism operators, giving them tools to help tourists reduce their impacts on our coral reefs.
Its next reef lecture tackles herbivorous fish, and it is scheduled for April 19th at the National Gallery.