Coral Reefs: Earth’s subaqueous treasure, a dazzling display of colors and textures that has earned the nickname “rainforest of the sea” for its hugely diverse and vibrant ecosystem.
It lures us to tropical destinations, to experience white sand beaches, clear, turquoise waters and the stunning underwater populations of fish. But are we harming the very thing that inspires us? Scientists will tell you yes. If you are slathering on chemical sun blocks and jumping in the ocean, you are contributing to the shocking and steady decline of coral reef populations. Scientists estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers a year and up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by chemical sunscreens.
The combination of chemicals used in many sunscreens: parabens, cinnamate, benzophenone, and camphor derivatives, cause viral reactions that results in coral bleaching (or death). When introduced into the ocean, even at low levels, these chemicals can activate viral reactions in zooxathellae, which is the bright, colorful symbiotic algae that provides energy and food for the coral. These viruses can cause the algae to explode and die within four days of exposure.
Luckily, there is a very simple solution: use physical, mineral-based sunscreens. Free from harmful chemicals, these sun blocks are made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and have not been found to be harmful to coral. During your next trip to paradise, try Soleil’s Zinc Based Sunscreen Continuous Mist. It’s just as easy to apply and leaves a stunning, sheer radiance that is better for your body and the environment. It has never been so easy to protect yourself and the earth as well.
When planning your vacation, support resorts with this similar eco-friendly philosophy. Soleil partners with several destinations committed to preserving their environment and protecting the beautiful reefs that their guests enjoy.
Below are some of our favorites: