Did you know that oceans are the world’s largest store of carbon? That’s right, oceans hold up to fifty times more carbon than the atmosphere!
Our oceans have been absorbing an extraordinary amount of the carbon dioxide that we have been pumping into our atmosphere (up to 90%) and this has led to ocean warming and acidification which threatens marine ecosystems and is the cause of mass coral bleaching. In the same way that desertification happens on land, there are now huge areas of ocean desert where ecosystems and marine forests once thrived and existed.
But there are reasons to be hopeful! Wide scale marine reforestation - the planting and farming of seaweed kelp forests - can help the pendulum swing the other way to bring back lost ecosystems and regenerate the ocean.
Why is this important?
It turns out that seaweed and kelp are nature’s climate warriors! Growing up to half a metre a day, seaweed forests grow quickly and can safely store enormous amounts of carbon while restoring the alkaline balance of the ocean and revive marine habitats.
Cultivating them at scale can also help protect global food security as kelp is a fantastic food source in itself, filled with vitamins, Omega-3s and 46 minerals, kelp contains more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more fibre than brown rice! Seaweed can also be harvested to create biofuel, bioplastics, sustainable fabrics, and feed for cattle.
According to ReGeneration, “The core insight of ocean reforestation is that a 0.5 percent change in the amount of carbon contained in the oceans would solve the climate crisis while delivering a wealth of benefits to people and ocean life.”
How are others attempting to reforest rivers and oceans?
There are many ways that people around the world are working to reforest the ocean and rivers. Below is a small sample. If you have any further examples that you think should be on this list, please get in touch.
We believe every one of us has a role to play in Regeneration. If you are interested in helping to reforest the ocean, here are some actions we have identified that you could take on in your life.
Want a personalised list of regenerative actions you can take on? Start our action planning quiz.