The strong potential of seaweed as a climate change solution caught the attention of people all over the world.
Seaweed might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about reducing CO2 emissions, but this unlikely hero does a lot more than give Nemo and his friends a place to play hide and seek. Because seaweed ‘breathes’ underwater, it helps draw carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the ocean and therefore out of the world’s atmosphere, slowing the rate of climate change by absorbing large amounts of CO2. The good news is that there are now more seaweeds ‘doing their bit’ than ever before thanks to an innovative climate change solution.
In 2019, The Intrepid Foundation partnered with ‘2040’ and the Climate Foundation and the University of Tasmania to launch a public crowdfunding campaign for ‘Seaweed: The Regeneration’. The campaign raised A$600,000 which helped support the research needed to implement the first marine permaculture platform in Australian waters, creating healthy kelp forests that help regenerate marine life. A cold storage technique that enables long-term storage of seaweed in its microscopic stages has also produced a ‘seed bank’ which is being used to continue cultivating seaweed offshore and build on the initiative’s success.
After populating the breeding lines with laboratory-reared seaweed, the baby seaweed was grown from spores collected from ‘wild’ specimens in remnant populations. Now a mighty 10 meters in length, this tong has laid the foundation for expanding the scale and scope of the work. After experiencing some challenges with the initial planting method, the project has gone from strength to strength with further prototype testing being carried out in the Philippines. In 2021, the project group is planning a research proposal to collaborate with the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Center to take the next steps towards cultivating seaweed offshore for commercial and environmental benefit.
But the climate crisis continues, so what’s next? Another unlikely hero – mangroves – along with their superhero sidekicks, tidal marshes and seagrasses.
Blue carbon provides a breath of fresh air
This amazing trio is stepping in to do their part as part of Intrepid’s ongoing commitment to removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Following the success of ‘Seaweed: The Regeneration’, the foundation’s focus has shifted to coastal wetlands. Natural coastal wetlands – mangroves, tidal flats and sea grasses – are collectively known as ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems, sequestering carbon 30-50 times faster than trees. These ecosystems also provide other benefits, including protecting our homes and coastal settlements from flooding and storm damage, providing natural recreational spaces, and nurturing key fisheries.
The Foundation has partnered with Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab to restore the coastal wetlands vital to our planet’s survival. Think of it as a breath of fresh air for a planet in the grip of a climate emergency. This climate-active project is supported by Intrepid’s seven-point commitment plan. This aims to remove additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and decarbonise our business by reducing emissions from travel and global activities.
Along with donating to the Blue Carbon Lab project, Blue Carbon Lab’s upcoming coastal restoration projects in Victoria will involve collaboration with local communities, citizen scientists and volunteers. If you want to do your part for the planet in a practical way, this new project may be just what you’re looking for. Find out more about this exciting climate change solution and discover how it is helping to restore coastal wetlands.