From food to fuel and products, seaweed provides more sustainable alternatives that benefit the planet. Dr Sophie Steinhagen of Sweden’s Tjärnö Marine Laboratory says that looking to the sea for resources is not just one recourse, but is the only way forward. “There is no other option,” she says. “Climate change is affecting most of our crop systems and we are in urgent need of new production. We cannot extend terrestrial farmland—so we need to go into the ocean.” There are currently seaweed plantations being established rapidly on the Atlantic and North Sea coasts in Europe, all harvesting “strand after strand of sea lettuce, translucent and emerald green” for alternatives for meat, soy and plastic. But most of the farms (90% of the market) are in Asia, “where entire bays in China, Indonesia and Japan are taken up by seaweed farms.” The remarkable marine plant already provides eco-friendly replacements for various products, and these farms continue to innovate—from extracting seaweed’s protein and polysaccharides to burning the remains as biofuel, and improving their crop production. Find out more at The Guardian.
Image courtesy of The Guardian