The damage that humans have done to the planet has been devastating. There isn’t one part of the earth that hasn’t been polluted in some way by how we live. If we want to continue to call this world our home, we need to do something to fix the issues.
One of the areas of the planet that has seen untold devastation is the ocean, and our vibrant coral reefs are fading away; literally bleaching into oblivion by rising temperatures, depleted nutrients and human manufactured waste. Taking care of the coral reefs is essential to the health of the ocean. We all must do our part to help with coral reef preservation.
At Au Naturale Cosmetics, we created the Clean Beauty Revolution, and it doesn’t end with cosmetics. It’s a global movement with positive planetary impact. This Earth Month, we’re raising awareness and funds to support Coral Conservation. We each play a part in keeping our coral reefs colorful. Here are a few ways you can help (spread the word!):
Use Safe Sunscreen
There is some irony in the fact that the very ingredients we use to protect our skin from the sun’s scorching rays to prevent skin cancer are the same ingredients that are known to be toxic to corals, algae, sea urchins, fish and mammals. The most harmful chemical in sunscreen is oxybenzone, a synthetic molecule found in most commercial sunscreens. A single drop of this compound in more than 4 million gallons of water is enough to endanger oceanic wildlife.
Here’s how: Oxybenzone bleaches coral reefs to the point where they cannot sustain life or provide habitats for species that seek its refuge. This global phenomenon is alarming and made worse with an increase in sea temperatures. A purported 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen impact coral reefs annually.
One way we can stop this harmful chemical from contributing to coral extinction is to simply omit sunscreens containing oxybenzone from our skincare routine — in essence, by only using coral-reef-friendly sunscreen. Brands that contain this dangerous ingredient include: Banana Boat, Neutrogena, Clinique, Aveeno, DDF and the Ulta Brand.
Thankfully, there are options when it comes to coral-reef-safe sunscreen, and these safer alternatives are from brands including: CeraVe, Alba, La Roche Posey, MD Solar Sciences, Suntegrity, Honua and Drunk Elephant.
Create Less Waste
Pollution is the number one cause of coral destruction, and our waste is literally trashing the ocean. By reducing waste, you cut down on your carbon footprint, which helps the world, our oceans and oceanic wildlife (read: coral).
A deep conversation about the life cycle of waste is taking place (checkout TerraCycle!), but we need to bring it closer to home. You may not live near the ocean, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something to help.
Up for the challenge? Encourage your family and friends to move towards a zero-waste lifestyle. Here are a few ideas to spark conversation and inspiration! (I promise, it’s not so hard!):
- Buy in bulk: Costco is hectic, but try and purchase bulk items like toilet paper there.
- Shop for durable products — think quality over quantity. For instance: You can buy the cheap batteries or the rechargeable batteries. Invest in the sustainable option!
- Take on upcycling! Look for items at second-hand stores and consider programs like Rent-the-Runway for sustainable, fashion-forward clothing. I have been a member of Rent-the-Runway unlimited for over a year. This program has saved me time, money and stress, and it has helped me reduce my impact on the planet — win-win for everyone!
Offset Your Carbon Footprint
Rising sea temperature is a major culprit in the demise of coral. Calculating and offsetting your carbon footprint by investing in projects structured to reduce your imprint is not only a great way to support coral, but it also helps all life on the planet. Calculate and offset your footprint by clicking this carbon footprint calculator.
Support Coral Conservation
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) is a non-profit that serves as a voice for U.S. protected waters and works with communities to conserve and expand those special places for a healthy ocean, coasts and Great Lakes. In addition to its work at a policy level, the NMSF administers 15 designated sanctuaries where it fosters scientific research, monitoring, restoration, education and responsible tourism.
Up to 20% of U.S. coral reefs are found in NMSF sanctuaries, meaning the organization is heavily involved in helping us understand, protect and enjoy our “rainforests of the sea.”
Read more about the NMSF and how you can help with coral conversation.
We all need to do our part to protect this planet and undo as much damage as possible. Cheers to a more sustainable path forward and empowering those around you with the knowledge of Coral Conservation and Sustainable Living!
In an effort to help you help us with coral reef preservation efforts, this month, when you purchase any of the products within the Limited Edition Living Coral Collection, we’ll donate 10% to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
It would mean so much if Aunaturale would make a commitment to eliminating packaging waste. I think clean beauty includes the packaging. None of the Aunaturale packaging I received when I recently purchased products was recyclable. Even the eye pencil was made of plastic, creating tons of little bits of plastic as I sharpened it. A few years ago when I researched the company, all the packaging was recyclable, but when I finally finished my old makeup and decided to switch over to Aunaturale, I was horrified to receive tiny plastic cases of foundation, and of course the plastic eye pencil. Ashley, I think you are an amazing woman who has started an incredible company. I see the good you are trying to do. Please bring back sustainable packaging. It matters!!!!
For great info on visually seeing the corals of the world and understanding more, Netflix did have a movie offdred called Chasing Coral.
A beautiful documentary.
Great article Ashley!! And so true!! 😊 I want to learn how to compost (in my tiny yard up north) & teach my family to have a smaller carbon footprint as well!! Thanks for all your hard work protecting our planet & specifically our oceans!!