We’re Neil and Sabina. After quitting our jobs in the UK to travel and volunteer around Asia during 2013, we set up Blue Temple Conservation and headed to Pulau Perhentian for the 2014 season. We saw first-hand the impact of humankind on the environment, and wanted to contribute to reducing it. Working in association with local NGOs and dive centres, we’re undertaking research to help conserve the marine environment around the beautiful Perhentian islands.
Being successful in conservation begins at home. That is why at Blue Temple we want to be good role models for others, whether it is through reducing our plastic use by carrying refillable containers and cotton bags or reducing diving impacts by behaving responsibly and continuing to provide advice and help to both new and experienced divers.
One of the key concepts for our work is our research. We love the whole idea of collecting data and reading in an attempt to find out stuff that people haven't found out before. But it is more than that, we want to take our ability to conduct research and put it towards something practical. That is why since our beginning, we have been using our research to identify problem areas and to try to implement change at stakeholder and management level.
Research is only as useful as the people reading it, as such, we have taken the knowledge gained from our work and have focused our work to target what we feel are major players in ocean problems. First is our #FreeFromPlasic campaign where we are working towards a plastic free life, starting with eliminating pesky single use plastics like bags, bottles, straws and cups. Second is our #BlueTempleDiver campaign, where we target sustainable diving practices through awareness, training and evaluation of diver behaviour and work closely with dive centres to help them improve, whether through Green Fins or through our own support.
Working with local people is an important part of the project: we promote a symbiotic relationship between locals and their environment. We encourage local people to join us in our research and help to conduct surveys. Free of charge, we’ve been training them in monitoring and scuba-diving so they can understand the importance of maintaining the reefs and environment.
It wasn't always this high-tech. When we arrived in February 2014 the house needed a huge clearout and refurb. Now it is amply equipped with shower, wif-fi, kitchen and chill out facilities. We even have our own indoor hammock!
Want to get involved, conduct your own research or generally find out more about visiting and volunteering on the islands? Don't hesitate to get in touch!