Recently we spoke with Morgan Ioffe - Founder of Tropic Labs, a cosmetic company with a brilliant mission. They believe that tanning lotions can be sun-safe, protecting our skin, and the environment. From packaging to product, every detail is focused on safety and environmental responsibility.
Tropic Lab's products are reef-safe and science-based. By educating their customers about sun-safety, Morgan's company helps protect their customers from the harmful effects of the sun, while soaking up all the best benefits. Her truly sustainable and environmentally conscious brand is making waves, so naturally, we wanted to get in touch.
"Whether or not you live by the ocean, does not mean you are unaffected by the results of its stresses. Just because the issues aren’t right in front of your face every day does not make you exempt from the consequences. "
What is your earliest memory of the ocean?
My earliest memory of the ocean was when I was visiting Florida at about 10 years old. We were on the beach and it was my first time ever swimming in the ocean. I remember standing in the water beside my mom, the water was about waist deep on her. I was apprehensive and a little intimidated by the vastness when a sting ray appeared from under the sand and swam right through my moms legs. I must have climbed all the way up on to my moms head I was so freaked out, meanwhile she was just laughing away.
What is your favorite marine creature?
I would have to say dolphins without a doubt. They’re so intelligent and playful, I’ve seen them many times from a boat where they just follow along beside you, but I would love the chance to swim with them in the wild one day.
Have you experienced a healthy coral reef ecosystem? If so where, and how did it make you feel?
My first experience with a healthy coral reef was undoubtably this past year in Fiji. There were thousands of fish and such a variety of species all around - it was an incredible feeling to swim through such a lively and diverse ecosystem.
Have you seen a badly degraded reef system? How did that make you feel?
Unfortunately I have seen many. The most saddening of which was in Jamaica, we were taken on a ‘reef quest’ only to swim over what could simply be described as a ‘graveyard’. All of the coral which was surely once brimming with life, was white and calcified, covered in algae and there wasn’t a single fish in sight. It was a deeply saddening sight.
What concerns or scares you the most about climate change?
Climate change is such an all-encompassing issue. It takes no mercy on any nation, any age, race or class… it affects each and every inhabitant of this earth. I think that’s what scares me the most about it; that climate is everywhere, and nobody is safe from the powerful changes it can bring.
Why do you, personally, care about coral reefs?
As an owner of a sunscreen company, the safety of coral reefs became increasingly important to me due to the massive impact businesses in my industry are having on our oceans. I felt that it was extremely important to not only lead by example with my own personal sunscreen choices, but also to educate and inform others so that they might make more sustainable choices going forward.
Why is protecting and restoring coral reefs relevant to your brand?
For many years, the sunscreen industry has ‘taken away’ from the world’s reef - albeit unintentionally. It was important to my brand to give back by protecting and restoring coral reefs to hopefully reverse some of the damage that my industry has caused.
Why should the average person care about coral reefs?
When considering any climate change issue I think it’s important to re-enforce the fact that climate is all-encompassing. Whether or not you live by the ocean, does not mean you are unaffected by the results of its stresses. Just because the issues aren’t right in front of your face every day does not make you exempt from the consequences.
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?
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool that almost everyone has at their disposal. As with many environmental causes, awareness is the first major obstacle. Many people are still completely unaware of the criss that our reefs are facing - and social media is an excellent tool that allows us to get a message directly into the palm of someones hand.
What do you think are some of the easiest ways that the average person can join the mission to save coral reefs from extinction?
I think that every little bit counts - and even if you are unable to contribute financially to a cause, simply sharing the message and committing to educating others is still an invaluable resource. Reach out to your network of friends, your community, just sharing the knowledge is still helping to take a step in the right direction.
Do you think there is hope for our coral reefs? Why?
I chose to always remain optimistic about the future. There are certain realties that we as humanity will undoubtedly face as a result of climate change, but I have faith that as a species we will pull together to problem solve, innovate, and instigate change for future generations.