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The Clever Girl’s Guide to Choosing Coral Reef Safe Sunscreens

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You need to choose a coral reef safe sunscreen before your next trip to the beach.

Forget that old bottle you have lurking in the back of your bathroom closet. And definitely, don’t go for the same mainstream brand you’ve been using forever.

Because if you do, you’ll be partly responsible for the death and destruction of coral and coral reefs across the world. Really.

Whilst you’ve been happily chilling out at the beach and enjoying the ocean over the years, the sunscreen you’ve been (very sensibly) wearing has been slowly washing off your skin and killing coral reefs.

Coral Reef Image

Researchers say that an astonishing 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotions end up this way, and even more shockingly, that 80% of the gorgeous coral reefs in the Caribbean have been lost because of sunscreens.

That’s why last week, Hawaiian officials passed a ground-breaking bill which banned the use of sunscreens which contain the two worst reef-bleaching chemicals; oxybenzone and octinoxate. This is their last-ditch attempt to protect their struggling coral reefs.

Which leaves us with a massive problem.

Because these nasty coral-killing ingredients aren’t just in a handful of sunscreens but in almost all the sunscreens we’ve ever used.

So, if you’re a sun-worshipper or fan of the outdoors, you want to protect yourself from skin cancer and you also want to protect the health of the world’s coral reefs, what are you supposed to do? You can’t exactly ditch sunscreen altogether, despite your principles…

But you don’t have to! There are many wonderful coral reef safe sunscreens out there which will help protect your skin and coral reefs around the world from damage. Here’s what you need to know about the chemicals and choosing a better brand of sunscreen.

sunscreen image

What’s the deal with those sunscreen chemicals?

Hawaii passed the sunscreen bill because of the toxic chemicals which almost all regular sunscreens contain. These are oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) and octinoxate, and have been proven to damage and even kill coral reefs. Here’s why:

#1: They bleach coral reefs

Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause coral reef bleaching. This happens when the algae that usually lives on its surface disappears, exposing the coral underneath and causing it to turn white. If it doesn’t immediately die, it will be more susceptible to disease and much more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

#2: They prevent coral reproducing properly

Oxybenzone damages coral DNA, leaving it unable to reproduce properly. When this happens, we get fewer coral reefs, and the ones we do have are likely to be deformed and sick.

#3: They can cause coral deformations and strange behavior

These chemicals can also cause disruptions in the coral reef hormone balance which cause strange growth patterns in adult coral.

These two are the only chemicals which have been singled out by the Hawaiian authorities so far, but they’re certainly not the only sunscreen ingredients which affect coral reefs and marine life.

Butylparaben (related to the dangerous parabens in your cosmetics), and 4-Methylbenzylidine Camphor (4MBC) are two other harmful chemicals which have also been linked to coral bleaching and are best avoided.

So, how do I choose a coral reef safe sunscreen?

There are plenty of coral reef safe sunscreens you can choose instead so your summer fun doesn’t result in coral death.

#1: Read the labels on your bottles of sunscreen

Start by getting into the habit of reading your sunscreen bottles to check whether they are coral reef safe, just like you would your food labels.

sunscreens image

First watch out for those four toxic chemicals (oxybenzone, octinoxate, Butylparaben and 4-Methylbenzylidine Camphor). Also make an effort to buy an organic, biodegradable, non-toxic, reef-friendly product which hasn’t been tested on animals.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the labels, remember the Hawaii State Department’s slogans: ‘If You Can’t Say It, Don’t Spray It.

#2: Use one of these coral reef safe sunscreens instead

Here’s my top pick of the best coral reef safe sunscreens on the market.

1. The Green People

Green People Sun Lotion Image

The Green People produce a wide range of organic and natural sunscreens and skin-care products that are free from harsh chemicals and not tested on animals. Their award-winning sunscreen range is non-toxic, coral reef-safe and available in a range of SPFs. They also have a lovely product that’s great for the kids too.

2. Stream2Sea

Stream2Sea sunscreen

The biodegradable, performance-tested sunscreens from Stream2Sea are one of the best options if you’re a big fan of diving, snorkeling or just lazing it up in the sea. They offer both regular and tinted sunscreen and their prices are very affordable too.

3. Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s of Maine Sunscreen Image

Tom’s of Maine offer the most gorgeous coral reef safe baby sunscreen which is great for grown-ups too. It’s fragrance-free and created using just five ingredients to create a SPF30 reef-friendly sunscreen which you know won’t cause nasty skin issues or worsen ocean pollution.

4. Raw Elements

Raw Elements Sunscreen Image

Raw Elements certainly gets my vote as one of the best coral reef safe sunscreens out there. Just look at their mission: ‘to create the safest, most effective sunscreen on the planet’! And what they create is impressive – water-resistant, long-lasting, nano-free, certified natural and organic and safe for everyone!

5. Badger Healthy Body Care

Badger Healthy Body Care Sunscreen Image

Badger Body Care is a family-owned, family-operated, and family-friendly company and they’re pros at what they do- creating gorgeous, planet-friendly products which don’t cost the earth. They have a great range of sunscreens for babies and kids, active sports, and daily use that you know won’t go damaging any coral reefs or killing marine life any time soon.

6. Australia Gold Botanical Sunscreen Mineral Lotions

Australia Gold Botanical Sunscreen Mineral Lotions Image

Give yourself a taste of luxury with this beautifully scented, mineral sunscreen which is free from all kinds of nasties like oxybenzone, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, PABA, SLS, dyes, and oils. Available in SPF 30 and SPF50, it’s soft, non-greasy and feels lovely on your skin.

#3: Be sensible in the sun

Don’t forget there’s also a huge benefit to just being sensible in the sun. Instead of slapping on the sunscreen, protect your skin by covering up with regular clothing like t-shirts and sunhats.

Also, avoid those hotter midday hours between 11 am and 2 pm when the sun is strongest. You’ll still get your tan, but you’ll save dollars on sunscreen and protect those coral reefs too.

So next time you’re planning a trip to the beach, think twice about what sunscreen you’re using and opt for a natural, coral reef safe brand instead. Just one switch could help a coral reef survive or recover.

Charlotte Witts is a freelance writer and editor who will show you just how effortless and stress-free caring for the environment can be. A confirmed yoga-addict, wannabe zero-waster and lover of the ocean, she currently lives in the Azores where she aims for whole-life simplicity.

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The Hollow Earth Theory: Could There Be Another Earth Inside the Earth?

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The Hollow Earth Theory Image

The concept of the Hollow Earth Theory suggests that the Earth is entirely hollow and contains a substantial interior space. Simply put, some scientists believe there is another earth inside the Earth. And even more interestingly, there are beliefs of civilizations existing inside Earth. Besides, there are speculations of spiritual advancements and even alternative paradise-like environments. 

Is There Proof Concerning The Hollow Earth?

There is a lot of work that supports the Hollow Earth Theory. These range from books to works of exploration. Below are some of the notable works that fueled this theory. 

The Works of Jules Verne

In 1864, Jules Verne published a novel called The Journey to the Center of the Earth.

This novel was initially published in French but later translated to many other languages after receiving much attention. After the novel’s success, Jules Verne published an extended version in 1867.  

In the novel, a team of explorers heads down to inner Earth through the South Pole. After two months of exploration and adventure, the explorers finally get to the center of the Earth. While there, they discover a whole new civilization. They find out that they even have their own sun!

Jules Verne emphasized the civilization being as advanced as our 19th-century civilization. He puts a significant focus on the advanced infrastructure they have.

The Medialization of “The Journey to the Center of the Earth”

Jules Verne maintained that his book was entirely a work of fiction. However, the issues started when people took this book as non-fiction. People in the 1870s considered it a discovery. Interestingly, many scientists were attracted to this work of fiction and started speculating on how true it could be.

“The Coming Race”

If the hollow Earth theory is starting to pique your interest, you should definitely read the novel “The Coming Race” by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. This book was published anonymously in 1871.

This novel is the tale of a man who discovers a race of advanced beings that live in the inner Earth. These beings are the masters of Vril – a powerful energy that can both destroy and heal. The book describes the unique structure of their society as well as their powerful mental abilities.

This novel has been seen by many as a theory based on occult truth. The list of supporters of the theory described in this book includes Rudolf Steiner, William Scott-Elliot, Helena Blavatsky, Louis Jacolliot, and Adolf Hitler.

The Exploration Through the North and South Pole

Inner Earth Portals Image

In 1926, Admiral Richard E. Byrd of the United States Navy flew to the North Pole. Three years later, he made the same journey to the South Pole. After his exploration, he referred to the North Pole as the Center of the Great Unknown.  

He described his experiences in his diary, where he allegedly entered the hollow interior of the Earth, which allegedly had mountains, lakes, rivers, vegetation, and even animals. He also reported having found civilizations, cities, and emissaries called Agartha.

In his excursions, Byrd also found Neuschwabenland, which featured underground caverns flowing with warm water and signs of vegetation. However, he and his crew did not stay long enough to keep exploring due to an aircraft bombardment.

Exploration of the Inner Earth by the Third Reich

North Pole Image

According to the documents obtained by the Soviets at the close of World War II, Germans had some detailed information about the location of the inner Earth. Among these documents, there was a complete map of Agartha – a legendary kingdom of the inner Earth.

According to these documents, Nazi Germans had found the entrance to the inner Earth in Antarctica. Many scientists believe that after the fall of the Third Reich, a big group of the Nazis escaped through that entrance to the so-called New Swabia, located in Antarctica.

Other Individuals Who Have Also Explored the Hollow Interior of the Earth

There are many writers whose works involve popularizing this theory. However, some scientists believe this could be a bizarre case of misinformation.

One example of the dismissive texts was first published in the late 19th century in a book called Physical Geography. In this book, Arnoldo de Azevedo writes about the existence of a mysterious world existing beneath us. He argues that scientists knew nothing about what was 5 miles below their feet then.

Arnoldo de Azevedo explains that such scientists spread theories and hypotheses for entertainment purposes because they have no tangible evidence to back their speculations. What do you think?

The Father of the Hollow Earth Theory

The idea that the Earth could have a hollow interior is often tied to Sir Edmond Halley, a mathematician and a colleague of Isaac Newton.

Sir Edmond Halley calculated the periodicity of the comet named after him, the Halley’s Comet. From these credentials and calculations, everyone believed that he was trying to propose that the Earth contained several concentric shells, each with its atmosphere and magnetic poles separating it from the other.

Halley proposed that each of these shells had its light source and was possibly inhabited by living beings. Halley also believed that the gas escaping from the north and south poles resulted in Aurora Borealis and other similar phenomena.

In this modern world, Hollow Earth Theorists stand by Halley’s speculations of the potential existence of life on Earth. Some call this hollow interior the Agartha, while others call it the legendary Shambhala.

How Convincing is the Hollow Earth Theory?

Hollow Earth Image

One of the most interesting hollow earth arguments is that of the rotating water droplet. In these water droplets, you can see bubbles gravitate more towards the center of the droplet, then condensing into a core.

Scientists suggest that this shows the distribution of matter is influenced by rotation as a function of time. They suggest that the Earth has been spinning for over a billion years, making it expand like a balloon. This has created a hollow crust, putting aside from the dense crust. It is between the separated shells where the scientists believe there could be life and civilizations.

Yes, the Earth may have expanded, creating hollowed-out regions between the brittle crust and more solid layers of the core and the mantle. Also, recently, Hollow Earth theorists have pointed out that those seismic waves detecting the bigger mountain ranges than the Rockies in the Earth’s mantle could be strong evidence of the theory.

Final Thoughts

These proofs make the Hollow Earth theory very convincing. However, for most people, this information seems so unbelievable that they would rather blindly deny it rather than looking into the facts. However, if we consider that so far the deepest manmade hole on Earth – Kola Superdeep Borehole (Russia) – is only 12 kilometers (40,230 ft) deep, then why do we have such confidence that there is nothing below?

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Cities Of The Future & Sustainable Building 

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There have been serious alarms raised over global warming. Different world Leaders have been attending global summits and signing low carbon footprint agreements to reduce the effects of pollution. The construction industry is no exception. They have taken a center seat and are now developing the cities of the future. 

Think of it this way, 40 to 50 years from now, the population will have skyrocketed, yet the land proportions will remain the same. To accommodate these masses, cities must redesign sustainable buildings to accommodate more people yet co-exist peacefully with nature. And not only buildings but also the future cars. The idea is that they will need to be faster and maneuver in the air since the land will be limited. 

Let’s have a detailed look at these cities, shall we?

What Will the Cities of the Future Look Like?

There are some notable key elements present in the cities of the future. These include: 

#1: The Water

Rainwater Harvesting and Recycling

As of 2022, the statistics on natural rivers and water sources are alarming. They are drying by the day, and rainfall is becoming unpredictable. The cities of the future are to be designed in such a way that they can harvest rainwater without the use of gutters since we can no longer accommodate massive roofs. Instead, these sustainable buildings will use absorbent rain gardens, bioswales, and pools to collect the rainwater. And then divert this water for filtration and recycling before channeling it into your water dispensers. 

A Sponge city

Besides rainwater, the cities are also to be built in such a way that they protect upland water systems. As a result, they will revive natural habitats while protecting the city against floods ad tsunamis. 

#2: Ecology

Sustainable Building Image

A thriving relationship between humans and nature will be a major consideration. Sustainable building technologies will ensure the cities are compact and dense with minimal impact on the ecosystem. Moreover, these buildings are designed to protect our natural resources such as water bodies, soil, and air. 

#3: The Transportation network

Well, in as much as a view of flying cars doesn’t look like a distant dream today, the cities of the future have a different school of thought. The idea is to keep a comprehensive transportation network that prioritizes pedestrian space. So we are looking into a future city that encourages people to walk and cycle more instead of using cars. 

This way, we become a healthy nation while reducing pollution generated by the automobile industry. Think of the noise from the hooting, screeching brake pads, over-speeding cars, and speed bikes to the smoke pollution common in city setups high-speed addition, commuting in the city will be more affordable and safer.

And if you don’t fancy cycling, you will have a fully automated high-speed rail network traversing different regions within the city. See, we are slowly advancing into a high-speed commute. With electric trains and alternative fuel cars already developed, we are looking into a future with high-speed rail stations.

#4: Energy

Electricity is good but not sustainable, and so is gas energy. The cities of the future are looking into harnessing power from natural sources, especially solar and wind. The sustainable buildings will have solar windows and walls instead of the current bulky independent solar panels. That way, you don’t need extra space to tap your energy. Similarly, you don’t need to heat your home during the cold seasons because, first, the buildings are self-heating, and secondly, such an ecosystem cannot experience extreme temperatures.  

#5: Recreation

Have you experienced virtual reality? Brace yourself for the future of recreation. And not just for the entertainment but as a more advanced way of reconnecting with humanity globally. Today we can comfortably tour a museum in France in the comfort of our homes. We will experience these and more in the near future because then, arts, entertainment, culture, and recreation will be shared worldwide via virtual and augmented reality.

#6: The Community

We have had our share of how dangerous a stressed community can be. The cities of the future will be addressing this problem by ensuring community integration through the use of shared spaces and social amenities. This way, the residents feel a sense of belonging and enjoy social equality.

In addition, since automation and artificial intelligence are projected to advance soon, people will not be required to work as hard as they do now. Our economy will be flexible enough to accommodate flexible working hours.

A Look at Some of the Cities of the Future

Given the above features, we already have these cities built and thriving. 

Forest City Liuzhou, China

Designed by architect Stefano Boeri and constructed in 2017.

They have designed this city to accommodate massive forests and green vegetation, as the name suggests. Different species of trees and plants almost entirely surround the houses, schools, offices, hospitals, and hotels. The 175 hectares of land stretching along the Liujiang River can accommodate 30,000 residents, 40,000 trees, and 1 million diverse plant species. Amazing, right? 

This city is estimated to absorb 10,000 tons of CO2 annually and over 57 tons of fine dust. The result is a clean city free from atmospheric pollution.

Net City, China

Designed by NBBJ, “Net City” is a product of Tencent, the internet goliath, also located in China Shenzhen province. Sitting on 320 acres of land, “Net City” mainly targets employees with offices for work, homes, and recreational centers.

It fits in the “Sponge City” feature since they plan to manage flooding and runoff as their primary water source.

Oceanix City, South Korea

Introducing the world’s pioneer floating city in Busan, South Korea. The key feature will be the infrastructure that rises with the sea. In other words, a flood-proof city. Talk of a sustainable building beyond expectations. Now, they will achieve this effect by using Biorock, a material that is not only buoyant but also self-healing. The older it grows, the stronger it becomes. According to the engineers behind this city, this material is three times stronger than ordinary cement concrete. Let’s wait and see what the beautiful city Oceanix will look like. 

The Bottom Line

No matter what your feelings may be about global warming and sustainability, the cities of the future are being developed in an effort to create a more symbiotic relationship between nature and people. If pollution is indeed reduced through sustainable development, then the dream of a zero carbon footprint may only be a few years away from now. Do you think this is possible? 

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Planetary Intelligence: the Evolution, the Present, and the Future 

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Planetary Intelligence Image

When an individual human brain thinks, the entire planet world thinks. With that, our planet is slowly becoming a global brain. Planetary intelligence is the most critical development in the history of our planet, an evolution that goes back up to four and a half billion years. And, what we humans do in the next decade or so could be the determining factor between the extinction of humankind in the worst case, or a brilliant new age of prosperity for all humans, if we do things right. 

Evolution of Planetary Intelligence: Interconnectedness of Life-forms and Planets

Looking at the scientific theory of creation, in the beginning, individual atoms came together to form molecules and ultimately developed cellular intelligence. In this intelligent interconnectivity, molecules clumped into multi-cellular intelligence, collective intelligence for cells. Then, they evolved multiple times until the Homo sapiens came into being.

Next, the human beings began working together using collective human intelligence at the tribal level, then at the city level. Ultimately, the growth of the internet makes it possible for collective human intelligence to work at a planetary level; hence, planetary intelligence.

Human beings are only a section of the biosphere. The other creatures making up the biosphere include plants and microbes. Eventually, the biosphere discovered how to host life. It created self-sustaining systems that helped the Earth exist for billions of years. As a result, the interconnectedness of life and planets continues to deepen throughout the billions of years.

Scientific Studies of Planetary Intelligence

Adam Frank, an astrophysicist from the University of Rochester, carried out a “thought experiment” that used scientific theory and philosophical questions on how life on Earth can alter a planet. In his presentations, Adam claims that cognitive activities of living things like plants, animals, and microbes operate on a planetary level to transform the earth. 

He gives examples of how plants ‘invented’ a way of making their food for survival. Hence, through photosynthesis, plants release oxygen and alter how the entire planet functions.

Another notable study on planetary intelligence is by British scientist James Lovelock and American evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, who built upon the principle of the Gaia hypothesis. Gaia’s theory claims that as life on Earth changes, it also affects how the planetary system evolves. Hence, the evolution of the biosphere alters the nature of the atmosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and hydrosphere. 

The back-and-forth effect has been in motion since the beginning of time. And the recent human activities that have led to deforestation, pollution, and climate change might be considered proof that the Gaia hypothesis is at work. 

Relevance of Computers & Artificial Intelligence in Advancing Planetary Intelligence

artificial intelligence image

We now have new forms of information processing that include computers and the field of artificial intelligence. Today, billions of human brains are simultaneously working on the internet. Through computing, humanity applies technology to influence the environment. We use such technologies as geo-engineering, terraforming, and seeding.

Next, there is a simultaneous rapid development of trillions of artificial intelligence that supplement and augment those human brains. Examples of how we use artificial intelligence in transportation, media, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and customer service are as follows: 

  • Development of autonomous vehicles with minimal carbon footprint;
  • AI-powered robots working on assembly lines to automate manufacturing processes;
  • Using AI to speed up pharmaceutical research, improve disease diagnosis, and facilitate virtual nursing services for a personalized patient experience;
  • Digitalization of education systems, use of virtual classes and tutors, and facial recognition systems that analyze student participation in the virtual learning sessions;
  • Use of AI in analyzing complex financial reports, extrapolating data, and making accurate projections;
  • Implementing AI assistance in customer service.

Hence, the advancement of computers and artificial intelligence networks form the basis for which the architecture of global cognition evolves. We are moving from individual human brains augmented by technology to a global brain that is trillions of times smarter and more powerful than the human brain. 

Domains of Planetary Intelligence

Scientists believe that there are four main domains of planetary intelligence as follows: 

  • Immature biosphere – Early life on the planet
  • Mature biosphere – Life forms evolving to form sufficient feedback loops between them and geophysical processes
  • Immature technosphere –Technological activities like computers and AI are developing on the planet but are not yet sufficient to sustain interconnectedness with the physical environment or other systems.
  • Mature technosphere – The ultimate goal of planetary intelligence

Today, technology, computers, and artificial intelligence revolve around degrading the planet’s ecosystems. Hence, the Earth is still in an immature technosphere state. Unless we shift to the mature technosphere phase, the planet could suffer severe catastrophes.

By steering planetary intelligence towards the mature technosphere, scientists believe it can be the key to addressing global challenges like climate change, population growth, environmental degradation, the dominance of ultra-processed foods, and biodiversity losses. 

Planetary Intelligence and Value Systems

Amidst all these advancements in computers and artificial intelligence, there is still a need for human input in setting the correct value systems that guarantee the survival of planet Earth for another billion years. 

Moreover, a typical intelligence can run logical calculations faster than the human brain. Yet, it cannot come up with a right or wrong answer better than human beings can. Yet, the most important thing is not the technology that enables this global brain. Instead, it is how planetary intelligence amplifies value systems.

So, how does the human brain derive its value systems? 

planetary evolution image

The basis of world thinking is love. And, it needs to be the core value going into the global brain. Indeed, no intelligence can create rational value systems like the human brain. Hence, whenever the human brain feeds value systems into this global brain, our planet evolves for the better. For this, love needs to be the fundamental basis for planetary intelligence. 

Conclusion

The Earth’s intelligence is in the interconnectedness of life forms and the planet itself. We are now in an eruption of this power, referred to as planetary intelligence, on a technological level. It amounts to a transformation of the evolutionary process itself. And, just like the biosphere figured out how to exist on its own, the planetary mind should develop self-maintaining characteristics that address global challenges in this technosphere.

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