I never thought I would rave about seaweed. But the more I see on this, the more impressive and urgent seaweed solutions become! If this page looks like too much writing, just make sure you watch the first and third videos. Cheers! On this page:-
- Shallow seaweed farms on the coast can feed the world on shellfish and seaweed
- Vertical kelp farming, in a nutshell. First video, 4:31.
- Vertical kelp farming, more detail. Bren Smith is offering you a job!
- Truly massive seaweed farms out in the deeper oceans could save us from climate change and acid oceans, and give us almost everything else we need as well!
- Wave-powered ocean pumps can bring nutrients up to grow seaweed in nutrient-deserts
- Seaweed farming can fertilise farming on land
- Ocean conservation groups to support
1. Shallow seaweed farms on the coast can feed the world on shellfish and seaweed
A. Vertical kelp farming, in a nutshell. First video, 4:31.
B. Vertical kelp farming, more detail. Bren Smith is offering you a job!
Bren Smith pioneered vertical kelp farming with shellfish at the bottom of the kelp. It could feed the world many times over, easily feeding 10 or 11 billion people. It will also clean up our oceans by soaking up excess nutrient flows from agriculture. It will also slowly soak up excess carbon dioxide from the oceans gradually removing ocean acidity while stimulating fisheries and ocean ecosystems to grow. TED talk here. 16 minutes — fills in the details of the brief sketch above. Bren has also open-sourced his methods to encourage other kelp farmers to get out there and help feed the world in this method, the ‘permaculture of the oceans.’
2. Truly massive seaweed farms out in the deeper oceans could save us from climate change and acid oceans, and give us almost everything else we need as well!
Massive seaweed farms out in the deeper ocean require special pumps to bring the nutrient rich water up from the depths. However, the space is there. If we farmed 9% of the world’s oceans — 4 times the size of Australia! — we could achieve some amazing things. This kind of scale could grow liquid fuels that replace oil! Let that claim sink in for a moment!
They could sequester all human CO2 emissions returning us to a safe 350ppm this century! It would also de-acidify the oceans. Again, let that sink in!
It will also stimulate ocean fisheries to increase fish productivity to feed a world of 10 billion on fish. This is in addition to the shellfish in the coastal version above! (We can easily feed the world many times over.) These gigantic kelp farms could provide us with paper, building products and even seaweed concrete! So grab a coffee and watch the ABC’s special “Can seaweed save the world?” It’s well worth the 60 minutes, and again covers the maths behind sequestering all our CO2 emissions. If you’re a reader not a watcher, please check “How farming giant seaweed can feed fish and fix the climate.”
3. Wave-powered ocean pumps can bring nutrients up to grow seaweed in ocean nutrient-deserts
The deeper parts of the oceans are nutrient ‘deserts’ lacking the base of the food chain, plankton. Nutrients fall to the bottom of the ocean, and plantkon and seaweed tend to grow where currents crash into continents, bringing nutrients upwelling to the surface. Dr Antoine De Ramon N’Yeurt proposes that wave-powered pumps could bring nutrients up to increase plankton growth, but the same technology could help seaweed. The video is about 10 years old but it could prove to be economically viable in so many different markets.
4. Seaweed farming can fertilise farming on land
I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but our sewerage systems flush all our hard earned fertilisers out to sea — especially the phosphorus we currently mine. Massive kelp farms can bring back some of those nutrients. While kelp itself can be eaten in various salads and fried snacks and sushi, we can also harvest kelp to fertilise our cereal crops like corn, wheat, rice, etc. We could even biochar kelp to improve soil quality. We can use kelp to recapture nutrients flushed out to sea and return NPK to our farms, creating a sustainable supply of non-mineral phosphorus!
Coastal kelp farming requires:-“no fresh water, no deforestation, and no fertilizer – all significant downsides to land-based farming – these ocean farms promise to be more sustainable than even the most environmentally-sensitive traditional farms.” 5. Seaweed farming could improve cattle gains Some seaweeds can supplement cow diets to eliminate their methane burps! Cattle methane is not only bad for climate change, but can lose 15% of the cow’s potential growth!
5. Ocean conservation groups to support
Now, we also want people saving the whales and fighting to create marine parks and of course clean up ocean plastic. There are of course many marine conservation societies that you can support financially. I’m recommending 2 enormous organisations in particular because they also seem to accept the need for nuclear power. (Which is sadly rare in conservation groups these days.) If you love their ocean work, chances are you’ll love their forest habitat protection, wetlands work, and many other areas of environmental protection.