Although he may be young, Kailash Cook means business when it comes to the health of our coral reefs. He is an inspiration to everyone concerned about the effects of climate change on coral reefs. Putting thoughts into action, Kailash takes it upon himself to help save our coral reefs and will even be presenting his findings about the biodiversity of natural reefs compared to artificial reefs at this year’s Coral Reef Symposium in Hawaii. We are extremely excited by Kailash, and believe that passionate, kind and environmentally conscious divers like him can help us protect the marine environment and reverse damage that has already occurred to the oceans that we love.
What inspired you to become a PADI Diver?
Living on a small tropical island that was surrounded by pristine coral reefs, I used to snorkel a lot. Seeing these beautiful ecosystems just beyond my reach just wasn’t enough to satisfy my ever growing passion for them.
Thanks to PADI I became a Junior Open Water Diver when I was ten, and I was finally able to scuba dive and immerse myself further in these magical ecosystems.
How has PADI Changed your life?
PADI gave me the education that I needed to scuba dive and help with the reef restoration projects on the island where I lived.
What is your most memorable dive experience?
I think the most magical experience was when I saw a whale shark, the largest fish in the sea. I remember a really dark outline of a massive fish appearing out of the gloom and then it swam past me. It was like a spirit swam through the ocean beside me.
What do you love most about the marine environment?
I love the biodiversity of reefs most. There is nothing better than hovering weightlessly about a reef and seeing things like a clown fish darting in and out of an anemone or a moon wrasse hovering around a rock looking for something to eat. There is nothing better than seeing these complex relationships and activity going on in a small ecosystem.
How do you believe diving and filmmaking can protect the oceans?
Diving and filmmaking are good ways to show people the magic of coral reefs. It also helps to educate people about the problems that the reefs face and what they can do to minimise the impact by doing simple things.
What’s next for you as a diver?
I plan to use my PADI certification to help make a difference in the future of coral reefs. I have been studying the biodiversity of artificial and natural reefs to see if artificial reefs can be used to hlp expand or even replace natural reefs which are disappearing ever faster as the climate continues to change. Climate Change is one of the biggest threats that coral reefs are facing at the moment. So many people can do simple things to help, such as turning off a light when they leave a room, or riding a bike instead of driving a car. All these things can help minimise the impact of climate change on these beautiful ecosystems.
If you could tell non-divers one thing about the marine-world, what would you tell them?
I would like non-divers to know that the underwater world is an amazing place unlike any other in the solar system. You will never forget your first breath underwater, sure it may be a little scary at first, but that’s all part of the adventure.
If you’re interested in helping save our coral reefs, the PADI Open Water Diver course is your first step. If you’re already a PADI Open Water Diver, consider taking the Project AWARE Specialist course.
The article was originally published by PADI.com