Arc of real evolution,  daily-inspiration-empowerment-learnings,  Regeneration

Why Giant Kelp – Seaweed as a regenerative Climate Solution

Ever heard about Marine Permaculture? Kelp is The fastest-growing plant and superfood in the world. Also called Seaweed – Giant kelp! And 2040 is part of creating regenerative Seaweed Projects! Whats your 2040?

Its food, fertiliser, plastics, bio fuel, clothes, Lowering Methane – Feeding caddle,

Why people are choosing seaweed for climate action

12 June 2019

Picture this: off the eastern coastline of Tasmania, colossal kelp fronds sway in unison, with the gentle waves as their metronome. Beams of light trickle through breaks in the forest towards the ocean deep, guiding fur seals and mesmerised divers alike. It was only decades ago that this picturesque scene was an underwater reality. But with 95 percent of the kelp lost to the effects of climate change—warmer waters, lower nutrients, and conditions for a rise in pesky sea urchins—the marine landscape is looking much different these days.

Now, picture this: a lightweight latticed structure, a square kilometre in size, deep below the ocean’s surface. It’s nearly undetectable underneath the kelp, which attaches to create a thicket of deep green—not so different from the bygone natural forests. Its design is no accident; it is a far cry from the other man-made things strewn into our oceans. The marine permaculture arrays (MPs) are the ground-breaking (or perhaps sea-breaking) work of The Climate Foundation and the University of Tasmania. And they’re becoming a reality.

Last year, The Intrepid Foundation supported the creation of the documentary 2040. In an inspiring vision of the future, Damon Gameau looks at what the world could be if we embraced the best climate change solutions available right now. One of the featured solutions—Marine Permaculture—is one of the most promising for not only slowing but reversing the effects of climate change. The arrays serve as a marine habitat, cool surface ocean waters, and, most critically, help sink carbon dioxide. In some tropical places, the arrays can also protect coral from bleaching by providing cooler, nutrient-rich waters. As seaweed draws CO2 from the water, it allows the ocean to absorb more, thereby lowering atmospheric levels. 

By investing in the project, Intrepid Group is taking steps to become climate positive by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That means focusing on reductions, restoration, regeneration, and offsetting emission beyond our value chain.

So where have we gotten to?

In just two months, we have raised over AU $53,000 for Seaweed: The next (re)generation; with matching from Intrepid Group, we’ve topped AU $106,000. It’s one of our most widely-supported projects to date. And it’s clear to us why. 

People in Tasmania, Australia, and the rest of the world are not just concerned about severe weather and losing the Great Barrier Reef. They’re worried about what the world will look like for their children, grandchildren, and the many generations to come. What will be left if we don’t change something now?

While the seaweed may be disappearing, there is one thing that isn’t: hope for a better future. 

After a screening of 2040 at their school, a group of young students eagerly approached Damon. “We want to see a world just like that one,” they told him. “It’s us that will be living in it.” They each handed him $5 notes from their backpacks—what otherwise would have afforded a midafternoon snack—to be donated to the marine permaculture project. 

When supporting Seaweed: The (re)generation, donors are sharing their reasons for supporting the project. “I have two little boys,” one mother wrote. “This is for their future.” 

Others have a vision for what their 2040 is. “The future is in ethical living practices and trying to restore our world’s ecosystems,” said one. But most people are just looking to protect the simple joys: “I want a future where I can have a family and enjoy nature in all its beauty.” 

As far as the science behind the project goes, the work is well underway. The Climate Foundation is supporting university research for the project, including the collection of genetic material. Over 50 haploid phenotypes have been collected already and are now being propagated. In the not-so-distant future, these will become the first warm-adapted super-kelps. With even more improvements to come, there are plans for outplanting later this year. 

If there is anything we can learn from 2040, it’s that solutions to climate change are no longer about technology. They’re about everyone that calls this planet home doing their part to change the status quo.

Whether it’s your barista-made coffee or your afternoon dessert, try giving up a simple thing today and invest in the future. 

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