Helping Save the Reefs, One Bottle of Sunscreen at a Time

Most of you are familiar with our story. Mom and problem solver, Nova, discovered her baby daughter’s skin reacted poorly to the harsh chemicals in most body products. Instead of getting frustrated by the lack of alternatives, she just made her own products. From that solution-driven motivation, Goddess Garden was formed.

Today, that same mom runs the company, along with her husband, Paul. Together, they still work to solve problems. They do this by creating products that work well, make life a little easier or better and don’t create a whole list of new problems.

They know a problem isn’t solved if a new one takes its place. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when the bigger picture is forgotten, especially when that bigger picture is the planet. Sunscreen is the perfect example. Chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone and octinoxate are contributing to the destruction of the coral reefs, one of our largest and most important ecosystems, but many people aren’t even aware of the ways chemical sunscreens affect the reefs and their dependent marine life. Nova and Paul know people aren’t intentionally trying to wreck the reefs, so education is key!

Ask for mineral sunscreen, for reef’s sake!

Store shelves didn’t fill up with chemical sunscreens by accident. They’re cheap to make and cheap to buy. These products sell; thus, store managers keep stocking up. Demand creates supply, so imagine what would happen if more and more people requested reef-safe mineral sunscreen instead? The shelves would fill up with sunscreens that were safer for people and the planet! That’s what we’re trying to do. We provide reef-safe, biodegradable sunscreens so we can offer a solution. Then we tell people about the problem so they can make informed decisions.

Education on reef-safe sunscreens

Over the summer, we took our message on the road. We attended several events and festivals, and spoke to a large variety of people. At many of these events, we did a “sunscreen surrender,” where people could turn in a bottle of chemical sunscreen and get a bottle of ours at a hefty discount. When we attended the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Whistler, Canada, we tried something new. We gave people a full-sized bottle of our sunscreen in exchange for their surrendered product along with a $5 minimum donation to help save the coral reefs. From that single event, we managed to keep 220 bottles of chemical sunscreen out of the ocean and off the skin—that’s nearly seven gallons! Plus, we were able to raise $1,100 for our friends at the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) to help them fight the destruction of the coral reefs. These funds will directly assist REEF with their conservation work, help fund research and data collection and aid in their continuing educational efforts.

“We’re currently working to raise funds for research equipment that will help protect endangered species through the Grouper Moon Project,” said Martha Klitzkie, the Director of Operations at REEF. Using an array of acoustic receivers that tag and track Nassau Grouper, REEF has been studying the species’ habits and learning their behaviors. This knowledge played a critical role in the creation of draft legislation aimed at species conservation in the Cayman Islands. The funds raised will be used to purchase more equipment to continue and further this process.

Goddess Garden—sunscreen on a mission

REEF’s mission is to conserve marine ecosystems by educating, enlisting and enabling divers and other marine enthusiasts to become active ocean stewards and citizen scientists. One of our missions is to help by providing safe products, continuing with our own education and donating funds to help REEF make their mission happen.

Want to help the reefs?

It’s easy! Simply choose a reef-safe sunscreen like Goddess Garden’s and help us and REEF spread the word. If you’d like to do more, you can also make a donation to support conservation efforts that will aid in protecting marine life around the world. All of us at Goddess Garden and REEF, plus the millions of species that call the reefs home, thank you. We can’t do it without you!

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