By CHARLOTTE MORTON
An Australian film that features a global search for climate change solutions has helped raise $350,000 to build the country's first floating seaweed platform off Tasmania’s southeast coast.
Researchers have estimated if 9 per cent of the world’s ocean surfaces were used for seaweed farming, 53 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide would be removed from our atmosphere each year.
The floating seaweed platform to be built off Tasmania will involve pumping nutrients from the cooler, deep waters to the ocean’s surface, creating a healthier ecosystem and habitat for fish, as well as dissolving carbon from the atmosphere.
Director Damon Gameau’s 2019 documentary titled 2040 aimed to raise the money during a crowdfunding campaign, and reached its goal on Wednesday.
Kelp also has the potential to act as a food source for billions of people.
According to the 2040 campaign, “kelp contains more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more fibre than brown rice”.
Chief Purpose Officer of the Intrepid Group, Leigh Barnes, said The Intrepid Foundation wanted to help get the pilot program off the ground.
“We set up a crowd source page through The Intrepid Foundation and asked people to donate to the project, and then we matched every donation dollar-for-dollar,” Mr Barnes said.
“We’ve raised $175,000 and then matched that with another $175,000," he said.
“I’d like to see all businesses create value beyond just value for their shareholders, that means creating value for the planet and creating value for the community. I think that’s incredibly important."
Senior lecturer at Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment, Dr Ruth Reef, said our oceans were suffering from climate change so a seaweed platform could help combat coastal degradation.
“Climate change is endangering that cooler environment that [kelp] require. I know that they are an important habitat for fish and for urchins,” Dr Reef said.
But the 2040 campaign’s crowdfunded seaweed platform is a pilot program, so it is unknown how successful it will be.
"It will be interesting to see how that can be scaled up to something a bit more substantial because as it stands it is in a very small area that requires quite a lot of maintenance," Dr Reef said
To learn more, watch Damon Gameau’s 2040 documentary here.