Seaweed could help feed the world and reduce the impact of the climate emergency, Vincent Doumeizel, a UN adviser on food has suggested.
All of the approximately 12,000 known varieties of seaweed are edible, says Doumeizel. Many are so nutritious that studies have estimated that 2% of the ocean would be sufficient to feed 12 billion people, without using any animal or vegetable resources. And unlike some other plants, it retains all of its nutrients when dried. Seaweed also releases much less carbon than land plants, and it was possible for the carbon it does produce to be sedimented and put “back where it used to be before we started to take it out of the soil”
If we used all of these varieties of seaweed more effectively, Doumeizel believes, we could “feed the entire world” sustainably, while “repairing the climate”, “mitigating biodiversity loss” and “alleviating poverty”.
There would always be people who say “I want my T-bone steak!” he said. “So let’s feed our livestock with seaweed.”
Seaweed’s high protein content and immune-boosting properties makes it a great animal feed, and as a side benefit, feeding livestock seaweed also “cuts methane emissions”, said Doumeizel. If every cow was fed just 100 grams of seaweed a day, he said, it would suppress their wind enough that “the impact on climate change would be equivalent to stopping each and every car and truck on the planet”.