Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Leaf Shave set out to make a better razor and it turns out a better razor is also better for coral reefs; reducing the incredible amount of plastic waste from disposable razors that enter our oceans each year. Now they are increasing their impact for the planet, donating $5 from every razor sold in April to Coral Restoration Foundation™!
We interviewed Brooke Foley, a Marketing Associate for Leaf Shave, to share her excitement for ocean conservation and dedication to increasing education and awareness for coral reef restoration!
What is your earliest memory of the ocean?
My first memory of the ocean was when I was about 5 years old. I grew up going to a family beach home on Long Island Sound every summer. There, I learned how to swim alongside siblings and cousins and fell in love with being in the water and under the sun.
Have you experienced a healthy coral reef ecosystem?
Yes, while snorkeling in Hanauma Bay in Oahu, Hawaii. I did not get to see much of the healthy coral reef, as much of it is protected from tourists now and you have to swim far out from shore to see it. I do remember seeing some damaged areas of the reef that I now know to be coral bleaching.
Hanauma Bay takes extra steps to educate tourists about being cautious near the coral reef and I believe that these steps have helped protect the reef in that area. This experience was so exciting for me because it was my first time seeing a coral reef, yet it did make me feel disappointed that the area was overused by tourists. It is such a beautiful place and I wanted to see more!
It does make me happy to know that they have drastically improved the health of the coral reef in the area by giving the reef the space it needs to thrive. For this reason, it made me feel better about snorkeling in the Hanauma Bay, knowing that many efforts were made to protect the beautiful and vibrant marine life.
Have you seen a badly degraded reef system? How did that make you feel?
Yes in some areas of Hanauma Bay there are dying coral reef areas due to coral bleaching. I was surprised when I swam out to the coral reef to see few fish and coral skeletons. I got to see some parts of the coral reef, but in 2014 and 2015 much of the corals at Hanauma Bay suffered from coral bleaching. This made me feel like we are letting down our planet, and allowing severe damage to our marine ecosystems. At the time of my visit, I was in college and I wanted to help, I just didn't know where to start.
What concerns or scares you the most about climate change?
The increase in sea surface temperatures. This has numerous effects on our overall climate pattern along with marine life cycles and ecosystems. Rise in sea temperatures is a direct result of increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This concerns me because although there are people and groups advocating for a greener earth, we still have a long way to go to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Leaf Shave is Climate Neutral Certified, which means we are investing dollars into offsetting our inevitable carbon emissions. We purchase Carbon Credits to drive finance into climate change solutions with the help of the Carbon Neutral organization who provides verification and oversight of these programs.
Why do you, personally, care about coral reefs?
I care about coral reefs because it is our responsibility as humans on the earth to protect and repair the damage already done to coral reefs. We have already lost 50% of the world’s coral reefs, and they are essential in the function of marine ecosystems. I am living in a time where my children or grandchildren may not be able to experience a world with coral reefs. So, I want to care for the world I live in in order to make it last and keep our planet healthy. I also care about coral reefs because they are so unique and beautiful, and they provide shelter and food to thousands of marine species.
Why is protecting and restoring coral reefs relevant to your brand?
You can see this in our ethos: care for the places you care about. At Leaf Shave, we build personal care products that help people take care of themselves sustainably. We try to lead by example, providing 100% plastic free products and shipping and becoming 3rd party certified Carbon Neutral. We believe in being good environmental stewards and that industry needs to take leadership in this area.
Coral reefs are heavily affected by elevated greenhouse gas emissions and ocean plastic, two areas of impact Leaf pays particular attention. We need to protect and take care of the places we care about.
Why should the average person care about coral reefs?
The average person should care about coral reefs because they are one the many valuable ecosystems in the world. They protect shorelines from erosion and floods, provide almost half of the Earth’s oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. Also, coral reefs provide medicine, food and jobs! Whether people know it or not, the health of coral reefs affects them and their actions affect coral reefs even if they don’t live near them.
In your opinion, what are some of the most powerful tools at our disposal that we
can apply to the mission to save coral reefs?
We're not experts at managing support for coral reefs, so we're supporting Coral Restoration Foundation™ because you folks truly are experts. That's something that anybody can do: connect with experts, educate themselves and support the mission.
We're excited to be able to use our platform at Leaf Shave to share what we're learning, and to provide an avenue for our customers to support coral reefs financially as well. Knowledge and education are often the single-most-powerful and illuminating tools at anyone's disposal, and we're proud to support the work done here.
What do you think are some of the easiest ways that the average person can join the
mission to save coral reefs from extinction?
The average person can make changes in their everyday life to join the mission to save coral reefs from extinction. Some of the easiest changes a person can make are using sustainable items/supporting sustainable brands, limiting transportation, saving energy, being conscious of water waste and fertilizer use, reducing runoff, and educating those around them! Furthermore, people can find ways to support organizations that help heal coral reefs with donations or volunteering!
Do you think there is hope for our coral reefs?
I believe that there is hope for coral reefs because of organizations like Coral Restoration Foundation™ where anyone is able to donate, support, or volunteer to make a positive impact on ocean biodiversity. I believe that through education we can prevent further damage to our environment and ocean ecosystems. The more awareness brought to the environmental impact of greenhouse gasses, climate change, and overall sustainable living, can change the way people think and live.
Thanks so much to Brooke and Leaf Shave for caring for the places we care about!
Madalen Howard is CRF's Marketing Associate. Madalen comes to CRF™ via a winding road from the Tennessee hills, to the South Carolina low country, ending here in Florida’s Coral Reef. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology and a Minor in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston in 2016. Her experience ranges from field research to education, and communications.
Madalen spent the last 4 years as a Field Instructor and Social Media Strategist for MarineLab Environmental Education Center. Here she was able to study and teach marine ecology, while snorkeling through mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs every day. While at MarineLab she combined her education and research background, entered the world of communications, and developed MarineLab’s social media department from the ground up.
Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature. With CRF™, she is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration, creating inclusive pathways to scientific discovery.