Down to Earth Articles about the Ocean Environment

The Truth About Sunscreen

Photo: Person on a Beach with Sunscreen in the Shape of an Exclamation Point

While you might think slathering on sunscreen before a day at the beach is a good idea, it turns out it might actually be harmful – not only to your health, but to the health of coral and marine life.

Swine Flu: Protect Your Health, Protect the Planet

Photo: Pigs in a Holding Pen

Reminders about swine flu re-emerge with flu season: Be sure to wash hands, cover sneezes, avoid contact with others, and eat a healthy diet. These measures are important and effective in preventing the spread of flu viruses. But let’s step back and take a look at what’s behind swine flu… its source, its affect on the health of our planet, and what we can do in the “big picture” to prevent its social, environmental, and ethical consequences.

Is Your Sunscreen Killing Coral?

Photo: Person Snorkeling near a Coral Reef

The hottest season of the year is arriving in the Islands, and although school is starting, it doesn’t mean that swimming and surfing have stopped!

Healthy Living = Healthy Planet

Photo Illustration: Green Earth

If we really want our world to have a cleaner, safer environment the most effective action we can take involves a simple thing we do every day: choosing what products to eat and to use. A healthy vegetarian diet based on organic, natural foods and the use of non-toxic household products work together to promote sustainability and a clean environment in a host of ways. When we make eco-friendly choices we foster clean air, water, and land, which benefit us in return by supporting our good health as individuals and communities. Healthy living and a healthy planet go hand-in-hand.

Say No to Factory Farms: A Triple-Win Solution

Photo: Pigs on a Factory Farm

Huge factory farms, known in the industry as “Confined Animal Feeding Operations” (CAFOs), raise thousands of animals under severely crowded conditions for the purpose of slaughter.

Surfing Eco-Revolution: Ride Green!

Photo: Silhouette of a man with a surf board against the setting sun

Surfing is great for health and fitness. But for the environment, Hawaii’s signature sport has two serious downsides: first, surfboards are made of highly toxic materials; second, the sport generates a vast amount of unusable waste, from production scraps to old, broken boards. The good news is that eco-surf innovators on Oahu and in California are changing all that – and they’re leading a green revolution in the surf industry!

Ocean "Dead Zone" Solution: Buy Organic!

Photo: Beach

The basic principle of organic farming is to work with the natural environment, rather than against it, employing Earth-friendly techniques that eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Watching Wildlife Responsibly

Watching wildlife is a great way for people of all ages to experience nature and learn about the flora, fauna and environment of our Hawaiian Islands. However, wildlife enthusiasts who disturb land and marine animals or who overuse sensitive areas can pose a threat to the long-term health of wildlife, native plants, and habitats.

Our Living Reefs

Coral reefs, and the waters they shelter, are closely tied to our lifestyle and cultural traditions in Hawaii – and they are home to roughly 7,000 varieties of marine life, many that exist nowhere else on Earth. Coral reefs are huge, hard, and sharp… but, amazingly, they are created by delicate life forms: tiny algae and polyps working in partnership.

Ocean-friendly Gardens

Gardening in Hawaii can be a joy and a challenge. Our perpetual growing season allows us to cultivate plants year-round, but it also puts our green thumbs to the test by allowing pests to thrive and soil to become compacted. In its Ocean Friendly Gardens program, the Surfrider Foundation points out that even if you don’t live near the ocean, your garden – and how you manage it – impacts the health of Hawaii’s marine environment.