As the largest consumer scuba expo of its kind in the United States, attendees to the annual Scuba Show expect to learn about scuba: the gear, the techniques, and where to do it. An equally important facet of the show is its emphasis on protecting the environment where scuba is possible – the oceans. Climate change and external factors are affecting the world’s oceans, and individual responsibility and education on what humans can do to mitigate the damage is important. This year, Scuba Show’s much anticipated Saturday night party for attendees and vendors will feature a silent auction and raffle benefitting Plastic Pollution Coalition. Scuba Show is doing its part to create access to that education through participating non-profits and seminars as part of its 2019 program.
Plastic is a major, man-made blight on the global ecosystem – this has been an increasingly common topic of discussion in public discourse over the last few years. But what impact does plastic actually have on the earth, and all of its inhabitants? Here’s a break-down on that topic, from the Plastic Pollution Coalition website:
- Plastic never goes away – Plastic is a durable material made to last forever, yet 33 percent of it is used once and then discarded. Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.
- Plastic piles up in the environment – Americans alone discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year; only 8 percent of it gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills or becomes ‘litter’, and a small portion is incinerated.
- Plastic spoils our groundwater – There are tens of thousands of landfills across the globe. Buried beneath each one of them, plastic leachate full of toxic chemicals is seeping into groundwater and flowing downstream into lakes and rivers.
- Plastic poisons our food chain – Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans, are eating microplastics and absorbing their toxins. The substance displaces nutritive algae that creatures up the food chain require.
- Plastic attracts other pollutants – Manufacturers’ additives in plastics, like flame retardants, BPAs and PVCs, can leach their own toxins. These oily poisons repel water and stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic debris.
- Plastic affects human health – Chemicals leached by plastics are in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.
- Plastic threatens wildlife – Entanglement, ingestion and habitat disruption all result from plastic ending up in the spaces where animals live. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36-to-1.
- Plastic costs billions to abate – Everything suffers: tourism, recreation, business, the health of humans, animals, fish and birds—because of plastic pollution. The financial damage continuously being inflicted is inestimable.
This isn’t all doomsday, however – for those interested in expanding their knowledge on a variety of subjects including doing one’s part to fight back against the plastic plague, the Scuba Show will feature dozens of seminars, clinics, workshops and classes. These optional activities focus on various specialized, educational and entertaining topics such as foreign travel, history, underwater photography, local dive spots, diving physiology, weather forecasting, and of course, marine conservation.
Environmental seminars include:
- “Ocean Plastic Pollution Solutions” with Dianna Cohen and Sandra Curtis (Seaside 1, 5/4, 2-3 PM): Global attention on Plastic Pollution has hit mainstream news outlets in a big way this past year, but the problem has been accelerating for over 20 years. While education remains critically important, we will focus on solutions that are being tested and implemented right now, addressing upstream solutions and source points as we live on an ocean planet and its downstream from everywhere.
- “Receding the Plastic Tide” with Brittany Novick (Seaside 1, 5/5, 12-1 PM): We’ve all heard it before, plastics are an issue, humans are to blame for the destruction of the oceans and we need to change our ways before it’s too late. While everyone wants to tell you to produce less waste and to change your ways, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. An overwhelming problem that people want to help solve but no one knows where to really begin. This talk is to give divers the tools to start decreasing their impact on the planet, including one of their favorite places on earth – our oceans.
- “The Ocean is for Everyone” with Jaclyn Friedlander (Seaside 7, 5/5, 1-2 PM): Bring the kiddos as this session was specifically designed for ages 5-12. And their parents of course. Children will be introduced to pre-scuba diving activities they can participate in until they are old enough to get certified and they will be encouraged to love the ocean and marine environments. Jaclyn will show you ways to work together as a family to participate in conservation efforts!
No matter what level of experience, divers of all walks of life can find something new to love about diving and the oceans at Scuba Show’s seminars, and will walk away safe, more responsible divers ready to take on the oceans without leaving behind a negative mark. The entire seminar schedule can be found here.
But that isn’t all. Even without individual seminar tickets, attendees will have access to a plethora of non-profits at the show to engage with and learn from. Participating nonprofits include:
- Reef Check Foundation
- Fins Attached: Marine Research & Conservation
- The Waves Project
- Los Angeles Waterkeeper
- Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
- Get Inspired
- Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society
- Orange County Underwater Photography Society
- Catalina Marine Society
- Christian Scuba Divers
- USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber
- Shark Stewards
- Dive Into the Pink
- The Pew Charitable Trusts
- Ocean Sanctuaries
- Women Divers Hall of Fame
- Historical Diving Society USA
- California Wreck Divers
“Southern California is home to one of the strongest markets of scuba divers in North America,” said Scuba Show producer, Mark Young. “It always pleasure to see this very special and very passionate community of divers come together every year to share their experiences, knowledge and passion.”
The 2019 Scuba Show will take place on Saturday, May 4, from 10 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday, May 5, from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Long Beach Convention Center, located at 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802. Tickets are available online at scubashow.com/tickets. Full price tickets will also be sold at the door. Single day advance tickets range from $12 (single day exhibit hall) to $32 (single day exhibits plus seminars), and two day passes are $62 (includes exhibit hall and seminars). Seminar only passes are available for $48. Kids 13 and under are free.