Oceans of opportunity: How seaweed can help fight climate change

It’s a nutritional food source, an alternative to plastic, has medicinal properties and can help to limit global heating: Marine algae might just be the next weapon in the fight against climate change.

From February 9 to 11, the French town of Brest is hosting the One Ocean Summit, the first international summit dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans. NGOs, scientists, business leaders and heads of state will meet in the Breton town to discuss how to protect marine ecosystems and promote sustainability.  

According to Philippe Potin, a marine biologist and researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, seaweed and marine algae "play a vital role for our planet”. Seaweed is to marine environments what forests are to the land. “They’re also the lungs of the planet. Thanks to their photosynthesizing, they absorb CO2 and emit oxygen,” he explains. “Alone, they are responsible for half of all of Earth’s renewal of oxygen. They are hugely helpful for the climate.” 

On top of the role seaweed plays for the climate and biodiversity, it can also be useful across a number of other sectors, like food, industry and even medicine. It’s already a daily foodstuff in Asia and is recommended by dieticians, who say it’s packed full of fibre, protein and vitamins and is low in fat. According to a study carried out by Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, devoting just two percent of the world’s oceans to farming algae could produce enough protein to fulfil the needs of everyone on the planet.  

Read more about the One Ocean Summit, and the power of seaweed in this article from France24: Oceans of opportunity: How seaweed can help fight climate change