A new phrase that commonly follows climate change is ocean acidification. As more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, the ocean absorbs it, causing chemical reactions to alter the pH of the water.
Seawater is naturally slightly basic, so the acidification of the oceans threatens the life of all marine organisms and everything depending on it.
As the carbon dioxide and water molecules break apart, hydrogen bonds with a compound naturally found in seawater, carbonate, which normally bonds with calcium to make coral.
The reaction of hydrogen and carbonate is much faster and therefore lessens the availability of carbonate for coral reefs, thus making them weaker and unable to sustain the life of all the organisms depending on it.
The weaker the coral gets, the less life it holds causing it to “bleach” as the colorful algae and vibrant sea creatures leave.
There is still hope to fix it however! Though many coral reefs are facing coral bleaching, they are not dead. This means that there is still time for coral reefs to restore the life in its beautiful ecosystem.
An important way we can help save the coral reefs is by using “reef safe” sunscreen. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are two chemicals found in sunscreen that contribute to coral bleaching.
By purchasing all natural and organic sunscreens, we reduce the amount of toxic chemicals that gets washed into the ocean. Supporting reef safe sunscreen brands brings us one step closer to restoring healthy marine life.