Thursday, January 09, 2014

A little bit of crazy from an ocean farmer

My friend Bren Smith farms seaweed -- kelp -- in Long Island Sound. High end restaurants in New York City have made the plant a delicacy. Here's a recipe by way of the food magazine Bon Appetit. Kelp also can serve as biofuel and the farm also raise clams and shellfish, For Smith, it all started with the oysters …

Don't miss the moment when Smith explains
"I'm not a foodie -- I eat at the gas station most nights …"
Then listen up as Smith describes his work -- also explained at the site Thimble Island Oyster Company.
For decades environmentalists have fought to save our oceans from the perils of overfishing, climate change, and pollution. All noble efforts — but what if environmentalists have it backwards? What if the question is not how to save the oceans, but how the oceans can save us?

That is what a growing network of scientists, ocean farmers, and environmentalists around the world is trying to figure out. With nearly 90 percent of large fish stocks threatened by over-fishing and 3.5 billion people dependent on the seas as their primary food source, these ocean farming advocates have concluded that aquaculture is here to stay.

But rather than monolithic factory fish farms, they see the oceans as the home of small-scale farms where complementary species are cultivated to provide food and fuel — and to clean up the environment and fight climate change. Governed by an ethic of sustainability, they are re-imagining our oceans with the hope of saving us from the grip of the ever-escalating climate, energy, and food crises.

… We face a bitter new reality: Mitigating the effects of climate change may force us to develop our seas to save them — and planet. This re-imaging of the oceans will be heart-wrenching and controversial. Our waters are revered as some of the last wild spaces on Earth — ungoverned and untouched by human hands. If we develop our oceans, farms will some day dot coastlines, mirroring our agricultural landscape. But in the face of the escalating climate crisis, we have little choice but to explore new ways of sustaining humanity while protecting the planet.
People like this give me hope our species can adapt in the Anthropocene age our activity has brought us into.

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