How Seaweed can Help Save the World

Every year it becomes more and more apparent how much influence humanity has on the climate. While there are a few holdouts, most people are in agreement that we are the direct cause of the increase in global temperature. Everyone knows the cause, right? It’s all the CO2 we are putting into the air, from the cars on the road to the factories spewing out greenhouse gases.

However, there is another contributor to global warming that people rarely talk about, and it actually comes from livestock. You see, when livestock pass gas, they release methane into the air, which is also a large contributor to global warming.

Every year humanity is raising more and more livestock to meet our protein consumption needs, and if you’ve seen the documentary Cowspiracy, you know how devastating that can be to the environment. Not only does raising livestock play a role in damaging the world’s forests or oceans, the methane it produces is responsible for forty-four percent of all human-caused methane. This is a huge problem because methane is extremely good at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

In fact, methane is up to thirty-six times more efficient at trapping radiation than CO2. While methane doesn’t last in the atmosphere nearly as long as CO2, it is much more dangerous. There is two hundred percent more CO2 in our atmosphere than methane, yet methane contributes twenty-eight percent of the warming that CO2 contributes. All-in-all, twenty-five percent of the manmade global warming we are experiencing is caused by methane emissions.

Luckily, researchers in Australia may have found a possible solution to the amount of methane released by livestock. When a type of seaweed named Asparagopsis Taxiformis is added to livestock feed, it can reduce the amount of methane produced by up to seventy percent. In fact, only two percent of livestock feed needs to be made up of the seaweed in order to see a reduction in methane emissions.

By simply using this seaweed in livestock feed, we could cut up to seventy percent of the 3.1 gigatonnes of methane released into the atmosphere every year, which is roughly the same amount of emissions released by India, the fourth largest emissions emitter in the world, every year.

While this sounds like a simple fix, the reality is slightly more complicated. To produce enough of the seaweed to feed all of the livestock in the world it would take an area roughly 6,000 hectares in size. For comparison, a hectare is slightly larger than an international rugby field. It would take a huge amount of land to produce the required amount of seaweed, but the benefits would be immense and invaluable to the future of the earth.

While the best solution to our methane problem would be for mankind to stop eating meat and go vegan, let’s face it, that’s simply never going to happen. We love meat and we are going to keep eating it as a species. Asparagopsis Taxiformis could be a real solution to this problem that could make a huge difference in the fight against global warming.

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5 thoughts on “How Seaweed can Help Save the World

  1. I have a hard time believing the 6,000 hectares figure in this article. By my calculations, 6,000 hectares is an area 7.75 km x 7.75 km. If that’s correct, we should be jumping all over this concept, but I suspect the required area is much larger to feed all the livestock on the planet.

  2. Why would you grow seaweed on land? 6000, or even 60,000 hectares would not be noticeable on the ocean surface.

  3. Lots of seaweeds are great for livestock; I’m glad to see there is potential for it beyond its nutrition. I agree with the previous comments that 6000 hectares is a small amount of land to produce 2% of the feed of the world’s cows or livestock. 6000 hectares of ocean area is but a drop.

    Also, many people would disagree that everyone should “go vegan,” and many would even disagree that anyone should go vegan, considering that there is no record of a vegan society ever existing except the Janes, who do not reproduce. Human nutrition requires animal products, or at the very least lots of bugs. It always has and it probably always will. A change of livestock-production-systems is what we need, not to stop eating meat altogether.

  4. Instead of saying things like, everyone going vegan is “simply never going to happen,” why not feed its possibility with desire? A cynical or nihilistic belief system is a powerless choice, coming from a lack of desire in a person who is passive and disengaged from their own power to change and learn.

    Millions of people on the planet right now live long, healthy lives free from illness, thriving on a vegan diet. Believing that it’s not possible, when there is a mountain of evidence that it is, comes from an individual’s own distorted belief system. Obviously we surround ourselves with others who believe as we do, if we are not open to our own emotions being challenged, and so begin to develop belief systems that there is no other way outside of our own bubble.

    It would be like a drug addict who has heard that sobriety exists, but doesn’t yet want it for himself, saying, “Let’s just face it, no one wants to be sober,” when many millions of people are, don’t even know any drug addicts, and would never dream of putting intoxicants into their body, much less derive pleasure from it. Eating meat is an addiction based on emotional error, and has been inherited from the actions of our ancestors.

    In order to thrive on a vegan diet, two things must occur: 1) a soul-based emotional shift about love – as opposed to just doing it intellectually, and 2) working through fear about survival and pathological self-reliance. The natural world is not a dangerous place that needs to be dominated.

    When a person engages this process, the true nature of life begins to reveal itself, that there is a loving and intelligent design. We naturally want to align ourselves with it, the more we know it, rather than killing it or seeking to control it for our own addictive purposes. Animal products are non-foods to those who have gone through this emotional process, and plants make sense as all the nourishment we need.

    Those who have not yet gone through this emotional shift often become triggered into shame when they hear about it, because it challenges their sense of themselves as a “good person.” Then this self-judgment becomes anger that is projected at the one speaking of veganism. But if you allow yourself to humbly just feel about it, to experiment emotionally, to be okay to be mistaken, rather than just denying, defending and attacking, it will be a very soft process, where grief and remorse are felt and the body will naturally respond well to a plant-based diet. The solutions other than using animals will all be apparent.

    Let’s use our words to create what’s possible, instead of just looking at what is, based on collective human error.

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