Kelp! The super-solution for a better world
At a recent event I (kayleigh here) got the joyous experience of watching Kelp! and meeting Caylon, it’s director and producer. A contagiously optimistic fellow Brightonian who moved to Cornwall to study Wildlife and Conservation Film and Photography and became obsessed with, you guessed it, Kelp.
Discovering it’s potential she set off in search of learning more about the super-solution that can help build a better future for humans and the planet…
In this journal entry you’ll learn about the benefits of sea kelp, watch the film Kelp!, meet pioneering kelp farmers and read a short interview with Caylon. You ready? Let’s dive in….
What are the benefits of kelp farming and rewilding?
- Kelp forests can sequester up to 20x more Co2 than land forests.
- They provide a sustainable source of food and bio-materials. Requiring no land, no fresh water and no fertilisers.
- It grows super fast. Up to 1 meter a day – unlike tree forests which can take decades to mature.
- Kelp forests can act as a safety net to shorelines. Smoothing swells, storm-driven tides and preventing erosion. Keeping our beaches safer.
- A hub of biodiversity, attracting tiny crustaceans to large fish and marine mammals.
Watch the film
Join Caylon and the crew on an epic visual journey aboard the good ship Gleaner through Britain’s rugged wild coastline, from beneath the waves to under the microscope, as they discover the power of Kelp to regenerate our coasts, empower communities and capture a whole load of Carbon.
Read the interview
Hey Caylon, now we’ve all watched your awe-inspiring film, I’ve got a few burning questions to ask on behalf of everyone if that’s okay! First up…
What gives you the most hope with Kelp Farming & Rewilding?
Hmm the most hope..
Probably the fact that kelp is such a fast growing, tough and versatile species. It takes decades to rewild a land based forest, whereas kelp forests can establish themselves much quicker, creating habitat for wildlife and working to balance our oceans temperatures and acidity. For farming it that’s obviously a massive plus, Kate in Rathlin told us after harvesting her Kelp grows back up to 4 metres in just a couple of months! And the fact that while its doing that is also improving the local ecosystem rather than depleting it which farming usually does, is just incredible. It agroecology of the ocean!
Basically Kelp is just an amazing example of a species that can be used for rapid regeneration; for rewilding and restoring our oceans and for replacing current destructive food and materials industries.
“Sustainability’ just wont cut it anymore, we need a truly regenerative culture and I believe kelp is such a great symbol for that.
Wow, that last statement, I couldn’t agree more. So,
What, if anything concerns you with the future of Kelp Farming?
Big corporations or business getting hold of the licensing and the market and mass-producing kelp to the extent it ends up becoming harmful to the ocean rather than healing. This is absolutely a possibility and I think its really important that proper regulations are put in place early to make sure kelp farms can only be placed in ecologically beneficial places and must be kept to a safe scale. That’s part of the work that Tim van Berkel is doing with the scientists, working out what legislation needs to be in place to make sure it safe. Really it should be kept independent and local, like the model that Francois at car y mor is pioneering.
What do you think the most exciting area of seaweed farming is and why?
Imagine if we could sustain ourselves whilst sustaining and restoring nature? The possibility that’s absolutely yes, we can, is what kelp farming encapsulates to me, and I believe that’s the most fundamentally important question of our time.
In the film you eat kelp noodles from Kates Farm, I need to know, how did they taste?
Kelp noodles actually taste pretty damn good! You know that umami flavour, like in soy sauce? Well the origin of soy sauce apparently is from a Japanese guy who tried to emulate the taste of is wife’s kelp soup using soy. Kelp is actually the OG umami Kate told us that, and its true, it tastes very umami and kinda cheesy but also crunchy and a bit meaty. It’s delicious actually.
*googles kelp noodles immediately* Okay, last question.
How do you see the world better?
I see a world where the advancement of human growth and technology supports and enhances the biosphere creating a feedback loop that improves planetary health for all species so that we can all continue to evolve together into something magnificent.
I believe to achieve that we must as a collective all try to take care of ourselves and all other life in all our thoughts and intentions, and as individuals we must follow our joy, because that will lead us to our own unique path in redesigning this society into something that can not only survive, but thrive.
Visit the people and projects harnessing the power of Kelp
- Tim Van Berkel at The Cornish Seaweed Company
- Kate Burns at Islander Rathlin Kelp
- Francois Beyers at Car y Mor Wales
- Pierre Paslier at Notpla
Lastly, if you’re as inspired by Caylon & Kelp! as I have been be sure to Follow them online and on Instagram.
And check out Caylon’s latest project The Audacious Crew screening on BBC Digital soon.