Environment

Love the Beach? Help Save It With These Easy Lifestyle Changes

There’s nothing like a good soak in the sun. When exposed to sunlight, your body naturally produces vitamin D which promotes healthy bones and teeth, and also contributes to skin cell growth and repair. Which is why I’ll never turn down a beach party! However, beaches and oceans are not what they used to be, due to human interference. We’re killing off coral reefs, and marine animals are washing up on the shore with pounds of plastic in their stomachs.

If you love the beach, do your part to save it with these small things to help preserve the natural beauty of our oceans.

1. Buy reef-safe SPF

Up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen are estimated to wash into coral reefs around the globe each year. The chemicals in sunscreen harm the coral reefs and are causing significant damage, including coral bleaching, DNA damage, and abnormalities in their growth and skeleton. The main culprits of this are oxybenzone and octinoxate, though recent studies have found other chemicals in sunscreen that also harm corals.

While it’s important to protect ourselves from harmful UVA and UVB rays, it’s not so fun to destroy the reefs while we do so. Look for sunscreens labeled “reef-safe” or check the ingredients list to make sure there is no oxybenzone or octinoxate. Aim for products made with non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

I Use: Love Sun Body Mineral Sunscreen
This product uses non-nano zinc oxide, is EWG Verified, and vegan.

My Next Purchase: The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sunscreen
This product uses both non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, is alcohol free, Soil Certified Organic, and vegan.

2. Avoid microbeads

Microbeads are those little gritty things you find in many exfoliating face washes. These are made of plastic, and every time you wash your face, the plastic gets washed down the drain and into the ocean. Microbeads are too small to be filtered, and end up being consumed by marine animals. That in turns works up the food chain, and eventually end up in our stomachs (if you eat seafood).

To avoid microbeads, opt for exfoliating face washes made with natural ingredients! Luckily, microbeads are banned in the United States, so most products nowadays will not contain microbeads. But if you’re unsure, avoid these ingredients: Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), Nylon (PA), Polyurethane, and Acrylates Copolymer.

I used to use: Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator
This product uses jojoba beads to exfoliate, which is natural and gentle on the skin, and is vegan.

I now make my own skin exfoliator using brown sugar.

3. Avoid microfibers

Microfibers are the microscopic fibers that come off of synthetic fabrics every time we do laundry. These fibers are too small to be caught in the lint trap, and end up in the ocean. Like microbeads, microfibers are too small to be filtered, and end up being consumed by marine animals.

To avoid microfibers, opt for natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk, or wool. If you already have clothing made with synthetic fibers, try using products that will catch microfibers.

Catch microfibers: Cora Ball or Guppyfriend

4. Watch documentaries

Documentaries can make a big impact. Think of the thousands of people who went vegan after documentaries like Coswpiracy. There have been many documentaries made about the impact of plastic on our planet, and what it’s doing to marine life specifically.

I recommend: A Plastic Ocean (available on Netflix)

I want to watch: Blue (available in Australia and UK)

5. Understanding which types of fish are more vulnerable

If you eat fish, this is really important. Many of the fish that we see listed in restaurants are actually over-fished or unsustainable. In fact, 90% of the world’s fish stocks are fully or over-exploited. Learn where your fish comes from and what the impact of eating fish is.

Common seafood you should avoid: Atlantic Cod, Atlantic Salmon, Chilean Seabass, Grouper, Haddock, Monkfish, North Atlantic Halibut, Seabream, Snapper, Swordfish, Tuna

Here is a quick list of fish you should avoid published by Scuba Travel. Or check this guide to the sustainability of all seafood from the Marine Conservation Society.

6. Pick up litter

When you see litter on the streets, it’s not only unsightly, it has the potential to be blown into street grates and eventually washed out into the ocean. So be careful not to drop any litter as you’re walking, and pick up any plastic you may see on the ground.

Another great thing you can do is organize a beach cleanup! Invite your friends for a day out on the beach for some marine life-saving fun!

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