How i´m being different?
Hi all! I'm Layla, I'm 31, from Amsterdam, and I finished my Dive Master Training with UDC in April 2018. I’ve dived around the world and tried to always be educated of the best way to limit my impact on the environment. With that my behaviour changed in terms of recycling, eating less and less meat, shopping, use of plastic, et cetera. During my Divemaster training, my awareness kept developing and as some of you know, performing Coral Watch dives is included - this inspired me even more to contribute to healthy reefs. During my stay I also started cleaning the reef by containing lionfish after completing the specialty. Back at home I replaced all my cosmetics for natural products without packaging and only gifted people with likewise things, or a nice water bottle or lionfish jewelry. I worked as a Divemaster in the Netherlands and took every opportunity I got to reach and inspire fellow divers. Approximately seven months later I returned to UDC to follow the Go Eco program. I felt I could really make a difference, doing reef monitoring surveys and working at the coral nursery. My love for the ocean and specifically its corals grew. After Go Eco my passion for the sea and my sustainable lifestyle really escalated (in a positive way). Back at home I participated in meetings about sustainability in the hospital I work at and not long after Go Eco I decided to go to Curaçao to volunteer for the Coral Restauration Foundation Curacao. I got to not only clean coral trees, but also plant the trees, 'frag & tag', outplant grown coral (both Staghorn and Elkhorn), perform treeswaps and build underwater structures to outplant on. When I met the coordinator of CRFC she told me: "sometimes I get discouraged and I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, but then I meet people like you". That was a compliment I will never forget and as my Go Eco mentors I will spend my life trying to fight the battle for healthy reefs alongside them. During my volunteer work at the nurseries a documentary was being filmed (Diving for balance, about the work CRFC does, check it out!), in which I participate too. Next to that I did some freelance work as a Divemaster. During this work I try to inspire my costumers in a polite and inviting manner by teaching them fun facts about the ocean but also why you can better order lionfish then shrimp. All together, I try to be the difference as much as I can, whether I am at home, at work, with friends, freelancing, travelling, above or underwater. Why I should win this contest? To be able to reach, teach and inspire more people to help the ocean, its coral reefs and its precious inhabitants that are oh so important to us.