World Oceans Day
A note from our CEO
On World Oceans Day, I think of a book written by my friend and mentor Wallace J. Nichols called Blue Mind (Nichols, 2014), which has inspired me on both a personal and professional level. It’s an amazing work. In it, he describes the value and importance of our oceans:
“Blue space gives us half of our oxygen, provides billions of people with jobs and food, holds the majority of Earth's biodiversity including species and ecosystems, drives climate and weather, regulates temperature, and is the sole source of hydration and hygiene for humanity throughout history.
Neuroscientists and psychologists add that the ocean and wild waterways are a wellspring of happiness and relaxation, sociality and romance, peace and freedom, play and creativity, learning and memory, innovation and insight, elation and nostalgia, confidence and solitude, wonder and awe, empathy and compassion, reverence and beauty — and helps manage trauma, anxiety, sleep, autism, addiction, fitness, attention/focus, stress, grief, PTSD, build personal resilience, and much more."
I love that because it captures how this grand, liquid system sustains and heals us in so many ways. The ocean distinguishes our planet as uniquely habitable, and it defines the quality of our lives. World Oceans Day is an occasion to celebrate and reflect on its essential role in all of our lives - physical and otherwise, and to also recommit ourselves to restoring and protecting it.
We have the ability to work together to take action: giving to marine conservation organizations, volunteering for beach cleanups and wildlife rescues, and pushing our government officials to improve policies. These types of activities are all critical to keeping our oceans healthy, and without them we threaten our own existence by neglecting that upon which we so utterly depend.
And as economic agents, we also have the ability to vote with our dollars to drive profound change. Money talks, as the saying goes. We can forgo using plastic, for example, or avoid products from destructive fisheries, and use renewable energy that helps slow the climate crisis and reduce ocean pollution.
Our main goal at Blue Evolution is to give you a new way to make positive changes and to gain from, and contribute to the health and abundance of the ocean. As a source of food, the seaweeds we grow offer unique nutritional benefits - many of which address our core global health issues. And when you buy our products you also have a positive impact that flows back to the farms and farmers where we grow them. Not only is our seaweed a restorative crop (that pulls carbon dioxide out of the ocean, de-acidifying its waters), but it also creates truly sustainable jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for coastal communities. Eating seaweed helps shift our food system to a lower-impact model that better balances our needs with the needs of future generations. It sends a powerful signal to the financial sector about our customers’ priorities for the future, one that they must follow. To take it one step further, buying seaweed connects you and all of the people involved in producing it (myself included) more deeply to the ocean. That’s a profound effect, with very tangible results.
In North America, we’re way behind in seaweed farming (compared to Asia). We’re growing hundreds of tons, while they’re growing millions. It’s conspicuous because we’re leaders in so many other marine industries, many of which create tremendous harm to our marine environments. But Blue Evolution is working hard to build the seaweed industry in this hemisphere, incorporating best practices and bringing them to our production system in a way that allows us to participate in all of its virtues and benefits. We can, and must, become leaders in seaweed cultivation - to grow our economy, to improve our diets, and to help restore our coastal habitat.
If we can meet the challenge of building a seaweed industry in the United States, it will bring huge opportunities for the future. Seaweeds have the potential to serve many roles beyond food. They can supply potent nutraceutical and cosmeticuetical formulas (replacing synthetic sources); they are a very effective agricultural biostimulant that can make terrestrial crops more drought and pest resistant, accelerate plant growth, and increase nutrient density (reducing our dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides); and they are one of the most promising and lowest-impact bioplastics currently available. By encouraging the expansion of seaweed farming to new parts of the world we can transform our relationship with the planet’s living systems.
My relationship with seaweed farming is a “marine” Botany of Desire (Pollan, 2002) (to tweak the title of another great book). I cherish the virtuous cycle of growing these amazing organisms to better our world and I hope you’ll join us in this noble adventure. It’s not just about growing or buying or eating seaweeds - it’s about writing a new story for how we want the world, our Blue Planet, to be.