Today's question is Sustainability - What is it?
It is defined as avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Maintaining an ecological balance is important to me as not only a diver, but it is hugely important for the future of the planet. I know a bit drastic but is it?
I gave up single use plastics some time ago, unfortunately I have had to let some packaging back in to my life because it was taking a lot of time to do my shopping and it was draining. I still wanted to do my part so when it was time to replace my Fourth Element Xenos wetsuit, I was struggling with what would happen to it. Sending another wetsuit to landfill was something that I could not accept.
One dive in the Red Sea on one of our Dive Rutland Club Trips, I brought back a large amount of fishing line and marine plastic - something we encourage all of our divers and club members to do as part of being a 100% Project Aware Dive Centre.
In a Dive Against Debris post, I shamelessly asked if Fourth Element could use it to make my new wetsuit. They never responded, but Aqua Lung did.
Luckily, my Xenos wetsuit held on until my trip to Roots Red Sea last April. While there, I knew that I could not possibly keep this wetsuit it was time to move on, I asked if there was anything that they could do with it and the Dugong hunter said that they shared their old wetsuits with the local fisherman. So, I left behind my faded, breaking wetsuit knowing that a new one was coming. My wetsuit is now being used to keep a fisherman warm while they catch fish using a line and reel. I am hoping that it is sustainable fish that they keep and sell, but at least I know that my wetsuit did not just go straight to landfill.
I received my wetsuit a few weeks ago, yes I know it is November, but we got busy and ordering the new wetsuit sort of fell to the wayside. It joined me in the pool for a scouts discover diving night, and while there was all the usual first dive in a new wetsuit struggles, it is incredibly comfortable, reduces water transfer through it keeping you nice and warm!
I was fortunate to receive the Bali wetsuit from Aqua Lung and a Huge Thank you to Aqua Lung.
I do not tend to do a lot of research on the materials of my diving equipment. It is one of the things I accept that will likely not be eco friendly, my wetsuit is no different. When I received my Bali wetsuit the tag attached led me to do a bit of research. I have now learned that neoprene does not have to be made from petroleum products and this one is in fact made of limestone neoprene. While that means it still uses natural resources, the reserve used by Sheico who provides Aqua Lung with material will supply limestone for the next 3000 years. This is a bit easier to cope with than looking at our limited petroleum reserves, and it allows us the time to find another, more sustainable alternative. In addition, the limestone neoprene offers less water migration due to the less permeable membrane making it a warmer suit. There is a downside here, to achieve this effect, the neoprene cells are filled with nitrogen, this could explain why I felt a tad bit floaty in the pool but now that I know, it just means I need to add some weight! There is more natural stretch which makes it easier to don and doff the wetsuit. And best of all for those holiday travellers, it is significantly lighter in weight, even when wet it does not feel nearly as heavy as my other 3mm wetsuits.
If you are looking for a nice, eco-friendly option, the Bali seems to fit the bill for a cost effective suit. Why not stop in to the shop and talk about all of your options before you head off to enjoy some warm water diving!
Written by Bridget Weid: Dive Rutland Eco conscience
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Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE