Your Sunscreen Is Destroying The Planet

Your Sunscreen Is Destroying The Planet

What are you going to do about it?

Nobody likes to get sunburned, that’s a fact. We all hate it when we go to the beach and get a little to cocky on the first day, saying things like, “I’m dark enough not to get sunburnt.” Or, “I want to get tanned so I don’t need sunscreen.” And then we kick ourselves for the rest of the week, walking around in the weirdest clothes because they were easy to get on without touching the angry, red consequences of our arrogance.

And of course, everyone knows that sunburn is bad for you, beyond the burning and itching as the dead cells slough off (ew). The UV light your skin absorbs could cause skin cancer and damage to your skin-cells. All of this is a good reason to wear sunscreen when out in the sun for long periods of time, but here’s the catch. Your sunscreen-wearing habits are destroying our planet.

Hear me out, this isn’t going to be a global warming article so don’t leave yet. When you get in the water, 25% of your sunscreen washes off within the first 20 minutes or so. That’s why your mom always reminded you to reapply after playing in the water too long, right? And every time you do, you release 25% more Oxybenzone into the water.

Oxybenzone is an ingredient found in most sunscreens, and is responsible for absorbing the UVB and UVA radiation that would normally enter your skin cells. It is also responsible for coral bleaching and mass reef death. It causes the coral to reject the symbiotic organisms they need to survive, killing the coral and turning them into stiff white skeletons littering the sea floor. Just a few drops of this stuff is deadly to reefs. Imagine what happens when you dump over 5000 tons of it into the ocean every year.

There is good news, though. You don’t have to stop wearing sunscreen, in fact most scientists frown upon not wearing it, as it does offer important protection. Instead, you should be more aware of what kind of sunscreen you use. There are many sunscreens out there whose active ingredient is zinc oxide or titanium oxide, which are harmless to reef systems.

Studies have shown that zinc and titanium oxide sunscreens can actually be better for your skin than oxybenzone-based ones, too. However, if you don’t want to change your sunscreen, then consider wearing something like a wetsuit top to the beach, or any other long-sleeved beachwear that will cover and protect your skin from the sun.

The health of our coral reefs is directly indicative of the health of our world, so go and be a responsible beach-goer this summer. Your skin, and the planet, will thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Alexia Darnell

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.

It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.


Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.

Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.

Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

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