When I see people treat each other flippantly, like e-commerce items they can customize with a swipe, I wish they could learn what I learned from Beth: Whenever I’m tempted — by what I think I want from the world — to forget someone’s humanity, or to fool myself into shying away from a real connection, I remember Beth’s blazing blue eyes, patiently locked with mine, awaiting my response.
Ocean farming isn’t just about food. It’s about transforming an entire workforce, transforming fishers into restorative ocean farmers. My job has never been to save the seas; it’s to figure out how the seas can save us. I say that because millions of years ago Mother Nature created two technologies designed to mitigate our harm: shellfish and seaweeds. Oysters filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, pulling nitrogen — the cause of our oceans’ spreading dead zones — from the water column. Our farmed kelp, called the Sequoia of the sea, soaks up five times more carbon than land based plants. Seaweeds could be a powerful source of zero-input biofuel; feasibility studies suggest we might produce 2,000 gallons of ethanol per acre — that’s a 30 times higher yield than soybeans and five times more than corn. According to the Department of Energy, if you were to take a network of our farms equaling half the size of the state of Maine, you could replace all the oil in the United States.