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OceanForesters' Path Forward

While many mitigation approaches have been proposed, only scientifically optimized ocean afforestation can have really large scale climate change reversal impact in a relatively short space of time. Seaweed forests lay an eco-foundation for all plans to reverse global warming and ocean acidification, while providing food, energy, and jobs.


Kelp seaweed harvest on rope.

Humans can restore oceans and climate by expanding and managing natural ocean seaweed ecosystems:

·       Yielding renewable energy, bio-CH4 for less than US$4 per thousand cubic feet, and more easily transported bio-crude oil.

·       Growing food while reducing demand for fresh water.

·       Creating jobs, living space, and havens for people independent of sea level rise.

·       Promoting ocean biodiversity with havens for sea life while removing plastic debris.

·       Removing CO2 from air to reverse ocean acidification and global warming.

Humanity needs hope, in the face of hope-killing news that our current 400 ppm of CO2 in air dooms us to acidic oceans and 10 to 20 meters of sea level rise.  In contrast, Ocean Seaweed Forests offer hope for returning the concentration of CO2 in air to 1960s levels by 2200.


The Ocean Forestry Global Plan has low environmental or political risk because it builds a restorative and sustainable ecosystem in many steps, each with its own hope-sustaining result.  For example, one of the first steps would be to increase ocean farming (marine agronomy) to provide jobs for those most threatened by climate change and food for all humanity, reducing demand on terrestrial systems.


After several such steps, our ecosystem would: grow seaweed; harvest seaweed into a digester; bacteria separate the carbon from the nutrients; return nutrients to the ocean surface to grow seaweed.  The cycle is powered by the sun.  The carbon extracted from the digester is a combination of biomethane (natural gas) and ready-to-store biocarbon dioxide.  A relatively small amount of nutrients in the form of seaweed and fish are diverted to become food for people.


The bacterial digester may be replaced with hydrothermal processes which produce more convenient nutrient /energy separation; nearly twice the total energy recovery (half as easily transported crude oil and half as methane); about the same capture-ready carbon dioxide; and they convert plastic debris to oil.


SO WHAT IS OUR WAY FORWARD?


1. Fund Ocean Foresters Businesses to global scale.


“The challenge is global and requires a coordinated global response, by governments, corporations and citizens”

A team at the University of the South Pacific has developed a comprehensive plan for Fiji to eliminate use of imported fossil fuels..  The first small step updates an Ocean Foresters’ 2013 proposal to include residential cooking gas in the member countries of the USP, plus installing an engine-generator at the Kinoya Sewage Treatment Plant (KSTP), Suva, Fiji.  Once the engine-generator is installed, we can increase the biomass supply to generate more electricity by growing local freshwater algae in floating ponds on Laucala Bay, then develop sustainable seaweed grow-harvest-digest methods for larger scale production.  The algae would go to the most beneficial use (people food, animal food, fertilizer, or biogas) up to the limit of demand for that use.


Seaweed harvesting in the South Pacific


The next steps move through:

Expand to Small Island Developing States and other coasts (remediating existing nutrients)

·       Increase growing seaweed for multiple products in both fresh and salt water using the excess nutrients from terrestrial runoff.  (Restoring coastal ocean dead zones.)

·       Increase growing seaweed, crustaceans, and other sea life for food.

·       Develop techniques and recipes to increase demand for and reduce costs of foods produced with marine agronomy.

·       Develop sheltered water techniques for nutrient distribution favoring biodiverse seaweed forests.

·       As the demand for food is satisfied, increase nutrient recycling and seaweed growth for energy.

Open ocean (imitating the Sargasso Sea in the ocean’s nutrient deserts 2013 Ag&Forestry entry) - See our paperand calculations.

·       Develop open ocean nutrient distribution techniques favoring seaweed (over microalgae).

·       Develop open ocean techniques to grow and harvest seaweed.

·       Refine energy-nutrient separation systems that provide better economics with increased biodiversity.  (Terrestrial farming and forestry are generally more economic with un-ecological mono-cultures.)

·       Refine techniques for inexpensive, permanent safe CO2 storage – See our paper and calculations.


To read more, click here.


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