Underwater Vertical Seaweed Farm Restores Our Oceans While Providing Food and Fuel Source
Bren Smith has set up what he calls "3D ocean farms," which "utilize the entire ocean column" to grow "restorative species," including scallops, clams, oysters and kelp. Smith says this makes the oceans cleaner, healthier and more habitable, while providing jobs and food.
He hasn't always been fishing that way. His story is one of "ecological redemption," Smith said in a TEDx Talk (see below) in 2013. He dropped out of high school when he was 14 to work on fishing boats, working "at the height of the industrialization of the oceans. We were ripping up entire ecosystems with our trawls. We were using evermore efficient technology to chase fewer and fewer fish deeper and deeper into the ocean. And I've personally thrown tens of thousands of pounds of dead bycatch back into the sea," he said.
But that all changed about 15 years ago when he started growing seaweed in the Long Island Sound, where he now grows 30 to 60 tons of it per year. Seaweed has been described as a superfood, but it's also really beneficial to the ecosystem.
"Seaweed farms also help clean the water from pollution like carbon dioxide and nitrogen," explains FastCoExist. "They help with storm protection. And they provide a way for fishermen to do something other than fishing at sea: creating new forms of manmade coastal ecosystem—farms centered around seaweed."
"Globally, the potential scale of seaweed farming is 600 times greater than any other method of cultivating algae," says Quartz. "Seaweed is finding many uses beyond food, from medicine to fuels, and it may be that seaweed farms will offer refuges for marine species under threat from increasing acidification." And scientists recently worked out how to cultivate green algae for biofuel in huge quantities at $50 a barrel, which is about the cost of crude oil.
It's hard to understate the value kelp has as a food source and a fuel source, as well as the role it can play in restoring ecosystems. Smith's kelp is even being used by Yale University's farm as a fertilizer, serving as a "bridge," as Smith puts it, between "land-based farming" and "sea-based farming."
Smith's Thimble Island Ocean Farm was created out of his project GreenWave, which just received a huge endorsement because it won the prestigious $100,000 2015 Fuller Challenge Prize from the Buckminster Fuller Institute.
Buckminster Fuller Insitute explains why Smith's project is so groundbreaking:
GreenWave’s integrated model shifts the practice of aquaculture from growing vulnerable monocultures to creating vibrant ecosystems, which produce higher yields. The infrastructure is simple: seaweed, scallops and mussels grow on floating ropes, stacked above oyster and clam cages below. From these crops ocean farmers can produce food, fertilizers, animal feeds, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biofuels and much more.
This video courtesy of Patrick Mustain at Scientific American provides an excellent explanation of Smith's work:
Watch Smith's TEDx Talk here:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
By Katie O'Reilly
Two years ago—long before coal became one of the most dominant and controversial symbols of the 2016 presidential election—Bloomberg Philanthropies approached production company RadicalMedia with the idea of creating a documentary exploring the U.S. coal mining industry. Last spring, they brought on Emmy-nominated director Michael Bonfiglio, tasked with forging a compelling story out of the multitudes of facts, statistics and narratives underlying the declining industry.
The Sierra Club released a new analysis Friday that found that transitioning all 1,400+ U.S. Conference of Mayors member-cities to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity will significantly reduce electric sector carbon pollution nationwide and help the U.S. towards meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
As Trevor Noah noted during The Daily Show episode last night (starts at 2:25), the real reason Trump has these rallies is to "get back in front of his loyal crowds and feed of their energy." Noah believes that "Trump supporters are so on board with their dude he can say anything and they'll come along for the ride."
Watch above as Newsy explains that the decision comes despite serious concerns from the environmental and scientific community, and Tribal Nations about a declining, isolated grizzly bear population with diminishing food resources and record-high mortalities.
By Francine Kershaw
Seismic airguns exploding in the ocean in search for oil and gas have devastating impacts on zooplankton, which are critical food sources for marine mammals, according to a new study in Nature. The blasting decimates one of the ocean's most vital groups of organisms over huge areas and may disrupt entire ecosystems.
And this devastating news comes on the heels of the National Marine Fisheries Service's proposal to authorize more than 90,000 miles of active seismic blasting. Based on the results of this study, the affected area would be approximately 135,000 square miles.
By Jill Richardson
Is coconut oil:
- good for you
- bad for you
- neither good nor bad
- scientists don't know
The subject of this question is the source of a disagreement. Initially, the question was thought to be settled decades ago, when scientist Ancel Keys declared all saturated fats unhealthy. Coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, is a saturated fat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone region on Thursday from the Endangered Species List. The decision comes despite serious concerns in the scientific community about a declining, isolated population with diminishing food resources and record-high mortalities, as well as strong opposition from an unprecedented number of Tribal Nations.
By BJ McManama
ArborGen Corporation, a multinational conglomerate and leading supplier of seedlings for commercial forestry applications, has submitted an approval request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to deregulate and widely distribute a eucalyptus tree genetically engineered (GE) to be freeze tolerant. This modification will allow this GE variety to be grown in the U.S. Southeast. The reason this non-native and highly invasive tree has been artificially created to grow outside of its tropical environment is to greatly expand production capacity for the highly controversial woody biomass industry.