Intern: Love a little Eco-Friendliness

Tayla Beddoes
Photography By
Sean Scott
Kia Orana everybody, it's Tayla here! Warmest greetings from a little paradise. I'm a little late to the party, but word has reached my ears about different forms of sunscreen being particularly harmful to coral and various other marine life. As you can guess, it's prompted me to write about our beloved environment as well as some quick eco-friendly practices to keep in mind for this weeks post.

You see, the truth about climate change is that it’s really easy to be overwhelmed by the scale of the problem and believe that it will never affect you in your lifetime. This jostles many people out of helping protect and care for our environment as they believe it would require mass amounts of work. But that’s the thing; your contribution doesn’t have to be a huge one in order to make an impact, it just has to be consistent. You don’t need to race around picking up every single piece of rubbish on the island, or fish out all of the plastic bags in the sea to ‘do your part’ - though you certainly can if you want to. Nothing’s holding you back - in reality it’s the small, everyday things done by all of us, that will stick overtime. So here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to helping our little paradise remain a little paradise.

  • Use Coral-Safe Sunblock

Sunblock that contains the chemical oxybenzone is particularly harmful to coral. What happens when we go swimming in the lagoon after using these products, is that it eventually peels off our skin and shifts onto nearby coral. Sunblock then does what it continues to do and coats the coral; blocking the sun from reaching it, eventually causing the coral to fold up within itself and crumble. We don’t want this happening to our beautiful lagoon, so please be mindful of the sunblocks you’re using. If you’re confused as to what sunblock to use and what not to use, check with your local pharmacy. Otherwise CITC Pharmacy in Avarua also has a range of coral-safe sunblocks available to purchase if you’re already on holiday in the Cook Islands.

  • Proper Coral-Care

People often forget that coral are living organisms that actually play a very vital role in our lagoons ecosystem. I’m sure you’re told by lagoon cruise operators or other water-based operators to take extra care when swimming about our coral, but this is just to serve as a wee reminder: If you don’t remember anything else when it comes to coral care, remember this as these two points are the most important (and most obvious).

1. Don’t stand on the coral

2. Don’t break the coral into smaller pieces to take home as a souvenir - that’s what a gift shop is called. 

If there’s one phrase to live by it’s this; take pictures, not coral. Think of the lagoon as the world’s most prestigious museum - and you get front row seats to the show! You have the freedom to look all you want, just not touch.

  • Plastics

When it comes to dealing with plastics, recycling isn’t the only way to dispose of it. You also have the option to ‘donate’ your trash so that it can be reused and remade into an array of products like handbags, purses, wallets, satchels and even laptop cases. If you have throwaway wrappings like biscuit, chips, chocolate packets or anything with a ‘shiny side’ visit Sabine at the Dive Centre who will gladly take it off your hands and create into something new.

Well that’s it from me for this week. Be sure to tune back in next week as we’ll be back in the office after our much anticipated intern expedition to Aitutaki and Atiu where we’ll be revealing all of the goss, sharing all of the excitement, as well as plenty of tips, tricks, advice, and various other ‘hacks’ to keep in mind when planning a trip to the beloved outer islands.

Ka kite for now,