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Swimming — Well, Bathing — with Sharks Thanks To Lush’s Vegan Shark Fin Soap!

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As a child, I was completely traumatized by the Jaws film series. We lived in Puerto Rico, and my dad was an avid sailor who’d take his family on voyages into the wide open sea, during which it wasn’t unusual to spot shark fins 30 or so feet away from our boat, causing a minor panic among those of us with skittish inclinations (mainly me!). Having watched Jaws — okay, admittedly, I had my tiny hands covering my eyes through most of the scary parts but, like all curious kids, I’d peek through my fingers — the sight of those fins petrified me! Needless to say, it took years for me to comprehend why sharks are so important within the ocean ecosystem. But there’s no doubt that, if we want to preserve our oceans, we need to save the shark population. As the apex predators of the ocean, the creatures at the top of their particular food chain, sharks keep the fish population from exploding in quantity, thereby maintaining a balanced eco-system. A shrinking shark population triggers an adverse domino effect. Without sharks to eat larger fish, these multiply and proceed to pounce on the the population of smaller ocean creatures that feed on algae and sea plants (among them shrimp, nerite snails, sheep crabs, surgeonfish, blenny, sea urchins, and krill). Without these plant-eating sea creatures, algae can grow out of control, obfuscating coral reefs (which, in turn, are necessary to control the amount of carbon dioxide in the ocean water). See how everything is, in fact, connected?

Well, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics certainly does — which is why it’s partnered up with Discovery Channel’s Shark Week (taking place from July 5-12) to help raise awareness about the need to conserve the ocean’s shark population. For the second year in a row, then, Lush is offering is Shark Fin Soap ($5.99 at LushUSA.com), made from skin-softening seaweed, purifying sea salt, invigorating and brightening lime, and soothing lavender. Each teal-colored soap features a triangular “fin” poking out from its top surface, making it a fun addition to any bathroom. With every purchase of a Shark Fin Soap (available from July 5-19), Lush will donate 100% of the sale price to the United Conservationists‘ Fin Free campaign, a movement that hopes to raise a global awareness about the dangers of shark finning, the practice of hacking off a shark’s fins, then tossing the moribund creature back into the ocean to face certain death — all in order to make such culinary “delicacies” as shark fin soup. Largely due to the shark finning trade, close to a 100 million sharks are killed each year, posing an enormous threat to the stability and balance of marine eco-systems.

Through this campaign, then, Lush and United Conversationists hope to kickstart a greater dialogue about the need for shark conservation and to raise funds for future campaigns and educational outreach programs. By buying a Lush Shark Fin Soap, you can help join the movement and, if you want to go the extra mile, sign this Lush-endorsed petition to ban the trade and possession of shark fin products: www.finfree.com/petitions

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