Climate Change And Economy: Sea Weed Farming Might Be An Answer
Seaweed farming or kelp farming is the practice of cultivating and harvesting seaweed. In its simplest form, it consists of the management of naturally found batches. In its most advanced form, it consists of fully controlling the life cycle of the algae. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seaweed_farming
Seaweed Farming can reverse climate change and restore our economies from the Covid-19 fallout. While I strongly believe there is no silver bullet to climate change because the science states we need hundreds of solutions implemented at once and over a long period of time to make a significant difference....I do think we should be prioritising some solutions over others.
For example, changing a light bulb in your house to one that is more energy efficient is kind of like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Needs to be done, but we will still sink due to the size of the hole in our ship, the water is just coming in too damn fast.
We need fast solutions that both reduce and store harmful carbon emissions that drive the rapid global warming we are now seeing...and we need to do this while restoring our currently broken economy due to COVID-19.
What if I told you the need for a fast growing economy could actually be the answer to our environmental and climate challenges?
I believe part of the answer lies in a plant that only grows in the ocean.
HOW IS IT FARMED?
To farm seaweed in the open ocean, you need to draw the nutrient rich, cool waters to the surface as it is basically a ‘marine desert’...meaning nothing grows or lives on the top.
By using tidal wave renewable energy driven ‘pumps’ that draw the nutrient rich water from the bottom to the surface, it is now possible to grow seaweed on a large percentage of our global oceans. The seaweed would then grow on large platforms made of rope and floated with boys.
WHY DOES THIS FIX CLIMATE CHANGE?
The seaweed itself absorbs large amounts of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing climate change in its own plant matter. It acts like a ‘carbon sponge’, soaking up all the gases and storing it safely in its biomass (leaf matter).
Once seaweed is dropped 1000 metres below the surface, the carbon it has stored won’t re-enter the atmosphere and climate cycle for potentially thousands of years...ultimately helping to balance the earth’s temperature long term.
* Seaweed grows 30-60 times faster than any land based plant, meaning it can help to fight the race against time to fix our climate.
* If fed to cattle and sheep, it can reduce their methane emissions up to 99%!!
* If seaweed farms lined the Great Barrier Reef, it could be the number one solution to saving coral from the bleaching events by creating a ‘buffer zone’ of cooler water during marine heat waves.
* Seaweed farming has been proven to reverse ocean acidification (which is an impact that climate change has on our oceans with the potential to end all marine life).
* Seaweed can provide an alternative source of protein and omega-3 for the human diet, ultimately reducing agricultural industry pressure on land ( such as slowing deforestation rates, reducing erosion etc).
* Seaweed farms produce more microbiological activity from the nutrients such as increased phytoplankton and algae blooms...ultimately providing habitat and food sources for fish and other marine life.
As usual, finding funding to grow and manage seaweed farms is a significant challenge. There is currently no value/price in the market on carbon or seaweed as a product, so essentially we can all pollute carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for free without having to pay for it...not giving the ‘carbon storage’ potential in seaweed any commercial or market value.
The International Paris Climate Agreement provides the framework for a price on carbon which will help to massively grow markets like seaweed. This will further promote growth and employment opportunities for entrepreneurs, business owners, restaurants and tourism.
Essentially, once we see the market value that carbon has, we can trade it...in the same way we would gold or oil.
The carbon industry is an untapped trillion dollar ‘gold mine’. All we have to do is place a value on nature and we can simultaneously regenerate our economy while restoring our oceans, forests and soils. Seaweed farming can provide a very rapid solution to counteract the impacts of climate change on a global scale.
This is one way to get ourselves out of the current economic fallout from the global pandemic while simultaneously acting on climate change...the longer term challenge that humanity faces. Win win.
Remember, there is always hope...the answers we seek lie within nature itself.
(Written by Environmental Scientist Khory Hancock, 25 April 2020)
Further reading from *) Khory Hancock:
*) Khory Hancock (known as The Environmental Cowboy) is a country boy & Environmental Scientist on a journey that aims to inspire a complete regeneration of our forests, oceans and soils. He is an Environmental Scientist with a vision to empower others to regenerate our natural world ultimately creating a more sustainable future for our world.
Climate change is by far the biggest threat the world faces and Khory (aka The Environmental Cowboy) is starting an industry wide movement to drastically reduce our carbon emissions (by using renewable energy) and capitalise on the economic and social opportunities to draw it back down out of the atmosphere and store it safely in our oceans, forests and soils (carbon farming).
Khory originally comes from a 30 000 acre cattle station on Carnarvon Gorge, central Queensland, Australia. Growing up on the land helping his family run cattle for a living taught him basic sustainability principles - about giving back and looking after the land so that it could continue to support us. Khory now works as an environmental professional across many different industries including carbon farming, land management and rehabilitation, water management, regenerative agriculture and Light Rail (public transport). He is a highly sought after public speaker and social media influencer that provides solutions to the environmental challenges we face at an individual and company level. He uses the 'cowboy' persona to communicate the messages more effectively to the public. Join The Environmental Cowboy for adventure after adventure that inspires and is full of laughs for all!