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:
People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>