Those who know me a little closer know that I’m very fond of SCUBA diving. A few year back some of my good friends from the dive community commence a ongoing project named Project Baseline.
The idea is for everyone who is diving to help on a voluntary basis collect data in the form of still images and video of their personal dive spots, and then update these as they dive the same spots again over time. The first recordings will serve as a baseline with which any evolution as may be witnessed in the form of changes taking place over time and as documented by the images. The images taken over a stretch of time will serve as proof to any effects (good, bad or none) at least on a visual basis.
It’s a great idea and one that aims to get far spanning reach by engaging even amateur divers from any corner of the world.
Well, shortly after my friends established this phenomenal idea, I co-founded (with among others my friend Robert Carmichael) the South Florida chapter, which we have aptly named the Gulfstream chapter after the Gulfstream that stretches its way all the way from South and further up North alongside the coast of Florida.
Now, one of the specific sites that we documented thoroughly was that of the Osborne Tire Reef. It’s the story of good intentions gone bad as millions of tires were bundled together and sunk into the ocean in the hope of creating artificial reefs that would attract wildlife and better marine life altogether. The plan failed miserably as the tires are too mobile and instead move around dramatically with every storm and actually migrate towards, into and over the natural reefs further towards land as well as further towards the sea.
In other words, the tires are destroying fragile natural corals that takes forever to regenerate if even given the chance.
As you can imagine it’s an important story and an interesting one too.
I strongly suggest you go and visit our story on it and perhaps check out some of the other projects that we have documented as well.
Well, as you might also gather, it’s of extreme importance that knowledge of these issues are place into the right hands including more and more public awareness, so politicians will actually do something about it (ever seen any politician pursue a mission that didn’t have a public awareness?). So it pleases me to see that my extensive work in publicizing these projects and project sites are beginning to pay off. Recently one curator of news from around the world (website) picked up the story.
At least one agency has reached out to me to inquire about rights of use of my images. Several journalists have called for various insights and questions and today a website in Italy also posted about it.
It’s a small step in the right direction, but it all gives us more encouragement to continue this important work.
More on Project Baseline Gulfstream Chapter:
Enveloping the origin of the Gulf stream’s northern flow in the most extreme point of the Florida Key’s (Dry Tortugas) to north of Port Canaveral, Florida and encompassing the entire Bahamas, Project Baseline’s Gulfstream Chapter is home to over 10-million people, the 3rd largest coral reef in world, a diverse 7-billion dollar economy and arguably the most influential “stream” on the globe. As divers we all know that as population has increased, the quality of the reef, fresh water supplies and fish population have declined in this region. Sharing “baseline” data with the other 99% (non-divers) of the population is the first goal on a path to assisting our citizens and leaders in developing sustainable policies, practices, lifestyles, progress, etc.
More than 95% of the Dry Tortugas National Park is underwater and has been well documented by academic dive/science programs for many years. This area is one of the boundaries for the Gulfstream Chapter of Project Baseline as start point for the Gulf Stream current entering the Florida and Bahamas. The southwest Florida shelf in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico is the primary feeder to the entire Florida Keyes and is the original spawning grounds for much of the marine life found in and around the Gulf Stream.
Less than 1% of the oceans are currently protected from industrial and residential developmental pressures, yet our oceans and fresh water bodies constitute more than 75% of the surface mass of the globe; this is in stark contrast to the 12% of land mass currently being protected today. Project Baseline will assist to balance this ratio by efficiently providing compelling data to the public in an easily accessible, highly visible, graphic/image supported, open platform (Google Earth) and embracing the unstoppable power of the “citizen scientist”. We welcome input, collaboration and support from all.
About Project Baseline
Project Baseline emerged from an awareness that good science practiced in a vacuum is often useless toward effecting change. Yet, the most energetic and well meaning public or private initiatives can be disastrous without well developed and rationale evaluation. In other words science and public policy must be informed by a persistent assessment of existing and evolving conditions. By coordinating and presenting a global collection of environmental conditions, Project Baseline will develop a long term catalogue of environmental conditions; this library may be used to enhance public awareness, inform scientific inquiry and develop public policy. We hope you will become motivated to support our collective best interest and become part of this global effort to save our world’s most precious natural resources.
The Mission: Protect our world’s aquatic environments and the clean water supply on which they depend.
The People: Project Baseline is made possible by the dedication of a global cast of volunteers dedicated to preserving the world’s most precious water resources.
The Process: Project Baseline helps channel the passion of passionate volunteers, the capacity of dedicated professionals and the energy of concerned citizens.
The Goal: Enable conservation by developing awareness and expanding knowledge while describing and cataloging historic and present-day conditions.
About Global Underwater Explorers
For more than a decade GUE’s non-profit efforts have been focused on the exploration, education and conservation of the aquatic realm. Our global base of representatives support a variety of programs which help reduce environmental impact and organize the passion of concerned citizens while collaborating with governmental and non-governmental organizations to facilitate public awareness of and support for aquatic conservation.