The Next Big Thing?
The key player in the future of carbon sequestration and food security.
What is Seaweed?
The term "Seaweed" refers to a variety of macroalgae (or large algae) that may be found in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.
Seaweed comes in a plethora of colours, shapes and sizes, totalling around 10,000 different species, including at least 555 species in Indonesia alone. Seaweeds are often classified by their colour: Rhodophyta (red), Chlorophyta (green) or Phaeophyta (brown). Seaweeds vary greatly in size, from only a few millimeters long, to massive kelp that grow in dense “forests” and rise like underwater trees from their seafloor roots.
The giant kelp species, Macrocystis pyrifera
can grow 60 m tall!
CarbonEthics farmer holding harvest of
Eucheuma Cotonii seaweed in Thousand Islands
Seaweeds may be found in all climate zones from the warm tropics to the cold polar regions, and in all coastal locations of the planet. They can thrive in warm conditions, and can endure harsh environments in colder polar regions.
Seaweed is to the water what forests or plants are to the land. They absorb carbon, generate oxygen and release it into the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, they also serve as a habitat for a variety of different creatures and a vital source of food for others. They also reduce the effect of ocean acidification, creating healthier habitats for other sea creatures.
Farming and Products
Seaweed is used in a diverse range of products, from biofuel, food, healthcare, cosmetics, and even fertilizers. In 2020, Indonesia was the world’s largest producer of hydrocolloid (or jelly-like) seaweeds, producing about 66% of the world’s total. Indonesian seaweed is primarily used in the production of carrageenan, a natural gelling agent largely used in food and cosmetics.
So, what does seaweed have to do with climate change?
Seaweed isn’t only turning heads due to their range of uses, but also their potential in carbon sequestration. Coastal ecosystems rich in seaweed, seagrass, and mangroves, have the potential to sequester 20 times more carbon per acre than land forests.
Seaweed grows faster than trees, and may also reduce methane emissions when added into cow feed. What more, unlike forests above ground, seaweed cannot be burnt by human activity.
What CarbonEthics is doing to help
In order to help seaweed farmers in Thousand Islands, CarbonEthics has partnered with 10 local farmers to plant seaweed seedlings. We provide them education about the climate crisis and training to improve standard operating procedures for seaweed planting.