During the fall break of 2017, I went abroad with my dad. He loves scuba diving and, when his original plans fell through the cracks,  I decided going with him instead of having him refund the tickets would be a good way to bond over our appreciation for the ocean in the midst of two very busy lives. I had initially hoped to develop some technical skill with scuba diving  but found it difficult to stay calm under-water. So, I instead decided to use the access I had to push myself with free diving, and conduct a reef check in a slightly unconventional way.

          I consider the ocean as an entity to be respected for its pure power, wonders within, and the ways in which we as a population depend on it (See: Sylvia Plath’s “A Winter Ship”). As such, I think it is important to take care of it and see it as one of the largest wonders of the world. In having access to a beautiful ocean on this trip I saw it as an opportunity to preserve/clean it and do a reef check rather than use it as a preppy kids’ recreational activity. In having rare and wonderful opportunities like this one, many people are encouraged to use them for personal enjoyment (and perhaps development if the context is appropriate or they are a bit more conscientious). However, I believe that in having a certain amount of privilege which allows a unique level of access, one is obligated to the opportunities that come from it for more than self indulgence and extend themselves to understanding or being more aware of the world around you.
          I think this is especially true when considering  the impact of tourism on natural locations. I began free diving just five meters off from the shoreline of the hotel, a place where I could already see had the most human impact. There was active construction in the area to block the view of the industrial areas directly across from is, which I think speaks to the nature issue on a metaphorical level: First world societies access the natural flow of an environment or way of livelihood in a way that is so distant from them. It allows them to simply not see how their actions affect the flow of other things, leading to a sense of entitlement. By not recognising the other things going on around us, we are more likely to gravitate towards the belief that we lie at the center of the universe.  

     Being forced to recognise the human impact in many different ways (eg. thrice weekly shark feeding, bleached + broken coral under offshore houses) made me more fully understand that an environment never exists to provide for us.  They are places where every our actions are not one-sided; instead to be considered as interactions because of the eventual response resulting from our human footprint.
          Living in a first world population sometimes allows us to forget about consequences, but I think, instead of simply limiting our recreations, we also need to be more conscious of the impacts of how our travel, consumption, and entertainment affects the livelihood of other people or environments.