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February 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 37, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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And the “Green Diver B.S. Award” Goes to . . .

from the February, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

More and more, dive shops and operators are promoting themselves as greener and eco-friendlier. Sometimes they deserve kudos, sometimes they're just blowing smoke. For example, we came across a press release last month from Darcy Kieran, owner of Total Diving in Montreal. To become an eco-friendly dive shop, he announced, Total Diving was going to cancel all ads in printed books distributed door-to-door, like the Yellow Pages. "We're going green as a sign that we care about our planet and our dive sites," Kieran said. "We need to take more actions consistent with protecting the environment. This is just one step in the right direction."

"One step?" To us, this seems to be pure exploitation of the green concept. And it sounds like this is just a slick way to gloss over the fact that his Yellow Page ads were a waste of money and didn't bring divers through the door. So we called Kieran and, yes, he admitted that Yellow Page ads aren't generating leads like they used to. "But also I'm tired of these books. I don't understand why I get a full tree in front of my house every few months."

Does he advertise anywhere else? Kieran says it's mainly online, but print is still in the mix. "But we don't do newspaper anymore." What about giving up other paper sources like business cards and printed brochures? "Well, we still do that." How about green efforts to improve the shop, like solar panels to heat the water? "We throw plastic bottles out. Montreal water is good enough for drinking."

So all in all, going green to Kieran boils down to nixing the Yellow Pages. You need a press release to promote that? "Hey, I don't pretend to be a role model for the environment, but you got to start somewhere. We'll take a first step, then move to the second step."

Fair enough, but press releases should promote innovative ways to go green. How about finding ways to pay carbon taxes for dive travel? Or getting manufacturers to reduce their unnecessary and excessive packaging. Or taking an active role in local, national or international conservation issues, by contributing a percentage of sales.

Well, Darcy, I apologize for picking on you, but we need the dive industry to stay honest about going green. We need real steps, not rhetoric. Or the next thing we know dive stores will be advertising that they fill their tanks with recycled air.

- Ben Davison

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