With summer quickly approaching and climate change becoming an increasingly important topic as we head into the dreaded hottest months of the year, it's only natural to want to go outside, hit the beaches and soak up some sun after these past interestingly prolonged winter and spring months.
But as more people begin to venture out for some fun in the sun, you can expect conversations about the weather to become the norm. Particularly, conversations about the inevitable heatwaves we will be enduring due to climate change becoming more of a pressing issue and what we can do to protect ourselves from the sun and sustaining our environment.
It's no secret that choosing to use SPF in the form of sunscreen sprays and creams is one of the best ways to protect your skin against sun damage. But, did you know that the use of many popular and non-vegan sunscreens have actually been found to be contributing to the acceleration and impact of climate change?
Along with this discovery is one of the best examples of massive changes being made to halt and reverse climate change through the removing of toxic chemicals from sunscreens and pushing the use of sustainable and natural sunscreen products on the popular and beautiful Hawaiian islands.
In May of 2018, Hawaiian Governor David Ige signed the first bill in the country that banned sunscreens containing two types of harsh chemicals after a study found them to be harmful to coral reefs and the marine life surrounding the states many islands eventually resulting in their deterioration and death.
More specifically, the study, which was conducted by a respected non-profit scientific organization discovered that the chemicals found in many sunscreens, although beneficial to reducing chances of skin cancer and sunburns or sun damage was ultimately causing "bleaching, deformities, DNA damage and ultimately death in the coral reefs when they're washed off beachgoers or discharged into wastewater treatment plants and deposited into bodies of water,".
Of course, the negative effects of these chemicals go beyond just damage to the reefs. They result in loss of marine life, as fish and other sea creatures whose home environment on the reefs and their dependence on their vitality and health is threatened. So it goes, when reefs begin to deteriorate and die along with those that inhabit them, we are the next to be effected with negative results of smaller fishing yields, overfishing becoming more common, water temperature changes, air and environment changes (Sound familiar anyone? Ahem, climate change people!) that result in massive negative effects to us and obviously, our planet.
We only have one planet and Hawaii is only one small area on our planet and it is only the first place to ban these harmful and unnatural chemicals in sunscreens. Although a seemingly simple and small change, there's no denying that it is already having a massive impact and is leading the way to encouraging others to question if making the switch to using products with naturally-derived ingredients (in this case using natural, vegan sun products) is truly important and effective.
So, as you approach the warmer months and sunnier weather I hope you do your research and I encourage you to find your new favorite natural sunscreen and ditch the other one with all the hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Not only will your skin soak up the goodness and thank you for it, but the earth will thank you for it.