Hey besties!! Its officially summer and as your local fish nerd and environmental science major, I thought I’d drop a quick reminder to check that any sunscreen you use is reef safe!! Our coral reefs are slowly dying bc of global warming (ocean acidification, etc) and certain chemicals present in sunscreens only exacerbate the process!! Here’s a little info-graphic from Safe the Reef to help everybody out!
If you see a sunscreen you are currently using, don’t just throw it out though. Use it in a pool or while you’re sunning, just not in the ocean or freshwater around you. Plastic and toxic waste are both issues too, so just finish what you have and never buy the brand again!! Personally, I’m trying to finish all of my Sunbum stuff before switching to a safer brand like Thinksport!
Baby sunscreens are usually reef safe too, bc babies have sensitive skin so their sunscreens tend to only have zinc oxide, the best sunscreen product.
There’s also this thing called the HEL list to keep an eye out for in your sunscreens. They’re the chemicals that are pollutants and show up in sunscreens and other skin products. NEVER FEAR THO BC THIS IS NOT A CHEM CLASS, the absolutely stunning, gorgeous, and amazing Haereticus Environmental Laboratory has gotcha covered. From their website, “Products labeled with the “Protect Land + Sea” Certification Seal mean that the product has been laboratory‐tested using analytical‐forensic techniques to verify that the product is free of the chemicals that are on the “HEL LIST.””
This little symbol right here:
For all you uber nerds like me who wanna know what the HEL list is, here ya go:
- Any form of microplastic sphere or beads
- Any nanoparticles like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
- 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
- Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
- Methyl Paraben
- Ethyl Paraben
- Propyl Paraben
- Butyl Paraben
- Benzyl Paraben
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk! Have fun this summer but don’t be an ass to the environment or people!
IMAGE IDs since they may not load
Reading individual bottle labels from top to bottom, left to right
Image 1: list of sunscreens
Upper three rows
All Brands containing toxic chemicals
⁃ Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46
⁃ Equate SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen
⁃ Neutrogena Ultra-sheer dry touch SPF 50
⁃ Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch SPF 30
⁃ NO-AD Sun care SPF 45 paraben free
⁃ Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50
⁃ Panama Jack SPF 15
⁃ Naturopathica Daily UV defense Cream SPF 50
⁃ alba botanica hawaiian sunscreen green tea SPF 45, broad spectrum
⁃ Aveeno protect and hydrate sunscreen SPF 50
⁃ ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica ultralight emulsion broad spectrum SPF 50+
⁃ Banana Boat Ultra Sport SPF 30 clinically proven
Oxybenzone-Octinoxate- Homosalate-Octocrylene (containing one or more)
⁃ shiseido SPF 50
⁃ SPF 15 Australian Gold
⁃ Sunbum SPF 30
⁃ Glossier Invisible Shield daily sunscreen+ broad spectrum SPF 35
⁃ Supergoop play SPF 50 everyday sunscreen broad spectrum
⁃ Eucerin Daily protection broad spectrum SPF (not legible) 30 or 50
Bottom three rows
100% Reef Safe
⁃ Mama Kuleana Reef Safe Sunscreen oxybenzone free SPF 30 waterproof
⁃ Raw Love made with love and aloha SPF 35 Reef Safe All Natural Mineral Sunscreen Maui, HI water resistant (40 min)
⁃ Raw Elements certified natural sunscreen Face + Body Broad Spectrum SPF 30
⁃ organic Sun Paste Manda made with thanaka
All Ocean Friendly
⁃ California Baby super sensitive SPF 30+ high protection
⁃ All good sport sunscreen SPF 30
⁃ ABC Arbonne baby care Broad spectrum SPF 30
⁃ Goddess Garden organics everyday SPF 30 natural mineral sunscreen
⁃ active Badger broad Spectrum SPF 30 zinc oxide sunscreen cream
⁃ Suntegrity natural mineral sunscreen for body broad spectrum SPF 30
⁃ SPF 30 butterbean organics original healthy sunscreen
⁃ Thinksport SPF 50+ sunscreen the standard for safe sunscreen
⁃ Kimberley Sayer of London ultra light facial moisturizer SPF 30
⁃ Sea and Summit ten mineral sun barrier UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum
⁃ Hawaii SPF 30 organic Body Block medicinal
Image 2: The Protect Land + Sea Certified Logo
⁃ lettering in grey saying Protect Land + Sea Certified surrounding the logo
⁃ black colored wave heptagon with a white silhouette of a turtle inside
⁃ on the turtle’s back is a black swirl with a white dot in the middle
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Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches of 2021
For more than 30 years, Dr. Beach, aka Dr. Stephen Leatherman, has created an annual Top 10 Beach list. A professor and coastal geomorphologist at Florida International University, Dr. Beach factors in 50 different criteria including water color, sand softness, wave size, water temperature and more.
As we get ready to launch Landsat 9 this fall, we’re taking a tour of Dr. Beach’s Top 10 US beaches of 2021 as seen by Landsat 8.
10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Coast Guard Beach is located just north of the remote Nauset Inlet on Outer Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Except for the picturesque old white Coast Guard station that still sits atop the glacial bluffs, there is no development here; the best way to reach this beach is by bicycle from the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center or shuttle bus.
First mapped by Champlain in 1605, the shifting sands of this inlet are clearly visible in the Landsat image. This location is also at the point where the glacial sea cliffs transcend into a barrier beach (e.g., sand spit) that provides protection for the lagoon and development of lush salt marshes.
“In my early days as a Professor at Boston University and later at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, I spent many summer and some winter-time days conducting scientific studies along this barrier beach.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Coast Guard Beach on May 1, 2021.
9. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Beachwalker Park is a public beach located on the southern part of Kiawah Island, South Carolina. This barrier island in the Charleston area is 10-miles long and features a fine grained, hard-packed beach that can be traversed easily by bicycle.
This Landsat image shows a huge accumulation of sand as a series of shoals on the south end of the island, which can be reached from Beachwalker Park. These sandy shoals will eventually coalesce, becoming an extension of the sand spit that is the south end of Kiawah Island.
“In the early 2000s, I served as the beach consultant to the Town of Kiawah Island because their world-famous golf course on the north end was being threatened by severe erosion. It was necessary to artificially bypass some sand on the north end of the island so that the normal flow of sand along the island was reinstated, saving the outermost link of this PGA golf course.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Beachwalker Park on April 9, 2021.
8. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California
Coronado Beach in San Diego is the toast of Southern California with some of the warmest and safest water on the Pacific coast. This 100-meter-wide beach is an oasis of subtropical vegetation, unique Mediterranean climate, and fine sparkling sand.
The harbor serves as a major port for the Navy’s Pacific fleet, the home port for several aircraft carriers. The docks and the crossing airplane runways for the Naval base are visible in this Landsat image.
“I really enjoy visiting this beautiful beach as well as having lunch and drinks, taking advantage of the hotel’s beachside service.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Coronado Beach on April 23, 2020.
7. Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin Clearwater, Florida
Caladesi Island State Park is located in the small town of Dunedin on the Southwest Florida coast. The stark white undeveloped beach is composed of crystalline quartz sand which is soft and cushy at the water’s edge, inviting one to take a dip in the sparkling clear waters.
While island is still in the Park’s name, Caladesi is no longer a true island as shown on the Landsat image--it is now connected to Clearwater Beach.
“Caladesi is located in the Tampa area, but it seems like a world away on this getaway island.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Caladesi Island State Park on April 9, 2021.
6. Duke Kahanamoku Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Duke Kahanamoku Beach is named for the famous native Hawaiian who was a big-board surfer and introduced surfing as a sport to mainland Americans and indeed the world.
One of the prominent features on this Landsat image is Diamondhead with its circular shape near the coast. This large cone of an extinct volcano provides the iconic backdrop for photos of Waikiki Beach.
“This is my favorite spot at the world-famous Waikiki Beach where you can both play in the surf and swim in the calm lagoonal waters.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Duke Kahanamoku Beach on May 17, 2020.
5. Lighthouse Beach, Buxton, Outer Banks of North Carolina
Lighthouse Beach in the village of Buxton is located at Cape Hatteras, the most northern cape in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This lifeguarded beach is the number one surfing spot on the US Atlantic Coast as the large offshore sand banks, known as Diamond Shoals, cause wave refraction focusing wave energy on this beach.
The Landsat image shows the seaward growth of south flank of Cape Hatteras as evidenced by the parallel lines of beach ridges.
“It is fun to walk down the narrow sand spit, more exposed at low tide, as waves are approaching from both directions because of the bending of the waves.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Lighthouse Beach on May 3, 2020.
4. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
St. George Island State Park, located on the Florida panhandle and far from urban areas, is a favorite destination for beachgoers, anglers and bird watchers as nature abounds. Like other beaches on the panhandle, this long barrier island has a sugary fine, white sand beach.
In this Landsat image, St. George can be seen north of the bridge that links this barrier island to the mainland. The enclosed bay behind St. George Island is fairly shallow and the water much less clear as shown on the Landsat image, but it is not polluted.
“Besides swimming in the crystal-clear Gulf of Mexico waters, I enjoy beachcombing and shelling. While this island was hit hard in 2018 by Hurricane Michael, it has substantially recovered as there was little development to be impacted.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of St. George Island State Park on October 13, 2020.
3. Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach, Outer Banks of North Carolina
Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach at the southern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore was the first seashore to be incorporated into the National Park Service system.
The Landsat image shows Ocracoke to the north as separated by an inlet from Portsmouth Island. The village of Ocracoke was built at the wide area of the island where it was protected from oceanic waves during coastal storms which include both winter nor’easters and hurricanes.
“Ocracoke was once the home of the most infamous pirate Blackbeard and is still a very special place—my favorite getaway beach.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach on May 3, 2020.
2. Cooper’s Beach, Southampton, New York
Cooper’s Beach in the tony town of Southampton on the south shore of Long Island, New York is shielded from the cold Labrador current, making for a fairly long summer swimming season. The white quartz sand is medium to coarse grained with some pebbles, making the beach slope fairly steeply into the water.
This Landsat image shows the fairly large coastal pond named Mecox Bay to the east with Shinnecock Inlet and Bay also displayed to the west. Coopers Beach is hundreds of yards wide, made of grainy white quartz sand and is backed by large sand dunes covered by American beach grass.
“I spent several decades conducting scientific studies of this very interest oceanic shoreline because it is so dynamic and the beachfront real estate so expensive. Some of the most gorgeous and expensive residential houses in the United States are located in the world-famous Hamptons.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Coopers Beach on August 30, 2019.
1. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island Hawaii
Hapuna Beach State Park is a white coral sand beach that resides in a landscape dominated by dark brown lava flows on the Big Island of Hawaii. The crystal-clear water is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving during the summer months in contrast to winter big-wave days when pounding shorebreaks and rip currents make swimming impossible.
Hapuna and the other pocket beaches appear as an oasis in this otherwise fairly bleak landscape except for the areas irrigated as prominently shown on the Landsat imagery by the green vegetation.
“This volcanically active island is the only place that I know where you can snow ski at the high mountain tops and water ski in the warm ocean water on the same day.” – Dr. Beach
Landsat 8 collected this image of Hapuna State Park on January 5, 2021.
What’s your favorite beach?
View Dr. Beach’s 2021 picks and see Landsat views of these beaches over time.
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