2018 – How was it for you?
Looking back at some of the most significant stories across the past 12 months makes us realise how eventful the last year has been – for fourth element and for the diving community as a whole…
Launch of NEW Thermocline
The world’s first neoprene-free wetsuit recycled from the sea. Utilising a unique fabric made using ECONYL® recycled nylon from ‘ghost’ fishing nets and other post-consumer waste, laminated with a waterproof membrane and thermal fleece, Thermocline became part of our OceanPositive collection and revolutionised the notion that being environmentally responsible means sacrificing performance or aesthetics.
Fourth Element opens in Shanghai
A proud day for our founders Jim Standing and Paul Strike, and for the whole of the fourth element team. The day was particularly memorable for Jim, who signed autographs (much to his bemusement) and drank our plastic-free cassava packaging!
Fourth Element Asia go below the ice
Our shock and excitement about it snowing in Cornwall was put into perspective when our fourth element team in Asia travelled to Hokkaido in northern Japan for an expedition under the ice. Whilst there, they put the X-Core vest through its paces, and finding themselves warm enough to remove layers from their drysuit thermals, the feedback from the team was glowing (almost literally).
OceanPositive vs T-Rex
Our OceanPositive swimwear took the spotlight off the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, London, when our friends at World Animal Protection talked about ghost gear to representatives from around the Commonwealth.
International Year of the Reef
This year was International Year of the Reef 2018, and the Green Fins community came together to celebrate the importance of coral reef protection. Whether we have a direct connection with the reefs as a diver, dive guide or instructor, or are a couple of steps away from the sea as a training agency or dive equipment manufacturer, we can all make a difference.
Image Credit: Grant Thomas
Mission 2020 goes Global
Last Autumn, we announced our Mission 2020 commitment to eliminate single-use plastic from our packaging by 2020 and this project is well on its way.
In June we announced that we were teaming up with some of the world’s leading dive brands to make Mission 2020 into a global initiative to show the commitment of the diving industry to protect and preserve the oceans for the future. With commitments ranging from eliminating single-use plastic packaging to conducting hundreds of underwater clean-up dives, members of the dive industry are making a change for good.
Heroes don’t always wear capes
News of twelve boys and their football coach trapped in an underground cave in Thailand captured the attention of the world. The rescue attempt involved divers of all nationalities including expert cave divers who we are proud to have as fourth element team divers and friends. After a tense week and against the odds, all of the boys and the coach were rescued. We remember the sad passing of volunteer and ex-Navy Seal Saman Kunan, whilst taking part in the mission.
How to Save Sharks – with Madison Stewart
We supported Shark Girl Madison Stewart in the making of her film about her work for shark conservation. Madison worked with the local shark fishermen to show that shark tourism could be more financially rewarding than fishing and killing them. It was a tough process but the transition from fishing to tourism is underway.
Tech it out
September means TekCamp at Vobster Quay in the UK – a project we helped to launch seven years ago which won the Innovation Award from the Eurotek Diving Conference.
The event is designed to give everyone with an interest in tech diving full access to most aspects of the discipline. This year’s camp took place over four days with loads of different tech-diving related activities and participants from beginner divers to advanced tech divers – it gave us a chance to get in the water too!
Protecting the Oceans
October saw a very busy week in Bali for our MD Paul Strike, with the AGM of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and a Dive Against Debris clean-up dive. This was swiftly followed by the Our Oceans Conference where Paul represented Fourth Element in discussions that highlighted sustainable, ecological and economic approaches to protecting and restoring the ocean.
The Odyssey has landed
Our must-watch of the year, this stunning film was made by Janne Suhonen and the Divers of the Dark team, including fourth element friends and team divers Gemma Smith, Andy Torbet, Phil Short, Aron Arngrímsson, Richard Stevenson, Felix Butschek and Oscar Svensson. You might see the odd bit of fourth element gear in there too!
A bottle for life, not just for Christmas
This December we launched our OceanPositive Gulper – a thermally insulated bottle that keeps iced drinks cool for up to 24 hours and hot drinks at temperature for up to 12 hours.
According to research by Euromonitor, a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute. This is equivalent to about 20,000 bottles being purchased every second, driven by an apparently insatiable desire for bottled water and the spread of a western, urbanised “on the go” culture. Annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top half a trillion by 2021.
Turning the tide on plastic bottles may seem an impossible task but in 2019, let’s all take responsibility for our own practices – use a refillable bottle and help eliminate single-use plastic from our oceans.