Image by Francesco Ungaro

Seaweeds - The Next Big Thing?

The key player in the future of carbon sequestration and food security. 

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What is Seaweed?

The term "Seaweed" refers to a variety of macroalgae (or large algae) that may be found in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. 

Types

Seaweed comes in a plethora of colours, shapes and sizes, totalling around 10,000 different species, including at least 555 species in Indonesia alone. Seaweeds are often classified by their colour: Rhodophyta (red), Chlorophyta (green) or Phaeophyta (brown). Seaweeds vary greatly in size, from only a few millimeters long, to massive kelp that grow in dense “forests” and rise like underwater trees from their seafloor roots. 

Giant Kelp
Seaweed

The giant kelp species, Macrocystis pyrifera

can grow 60 m tall!

CarbonEthics farmer holding harvest of

Eucheuma Cotonii seaweed in Thousand Islands

Image by Silas Baisch
Habitat 

Seaweeds may be found in all climate zones from the warm tropics to the cold polar regions, and in all coastal locations of the planet. They can thrive in warm conditions, and can endure harsh environments in colder polar regions. 

Seaweed and baby turtle
Ecological Functions

Seaweed is to the water what forests or plants are to the land. They absorb carbon, generate oxygen and release it into the atmosphere.

 

Meanwhile, they also serve as a habitat for a variety of different creatures and a vital source of food for others. They also reduce the effect of ocean acidification, creating healthier habitats for other sea creatures.

Farming and Products

Seaweed is used in a diverse range of products, from biofuel, food, healthcare, cosmetics, and even fertilizers. In 2020, Indonesia was the world’s largest producer of hydrocolloid (or jelly-like) seaweeds, producing about 66% of the world’s total. Indonesian seaweed is primarily used in the production of carrageenan, a natural gelling agent largely used in food and cosmetics. 

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Image by Önder Örtel
Algae oil
So, what does seaweed have to do with climate change?
Image by Benjamin Patin

Seaweed isn’t only turning heads due to their range of uses, but also their potential in carbon sequestration. Coastal ecosystems rich in seaweed, seagrass, and mangroves, have the potential to sequester 20 times more carbon per acre than land forests.

 

Seaweed grows faster than trees, and may also reduce methane emissions when added into cow feed. What more, unlike forests above ground, seaweed cannot be burnt by human activity. 

What CarbonEthics is doing to help
Seaweed training

In order to help seaweed farmers in Thousand Islands, CarbonEthics has partnered with 10 local farmers to plant seaweed seedlings. We provide them education about the climate crisis and training to improve standard operating procedures for seaweed planting. 

What You can do to help

Spread awareness by sharing this page with others.

Purchase a Blue Carbon Package!

Did you know that CarbonEthics has planted more than 3,330 seedlings of seaweed as part of our Blue Carbon initiative? You can support seaweed cultivation as well as other sources of blue carbon by purchasing a Blue Carbon Package. 

Pick up a bar of our Seaweed Soap

 

Pick up a bar of CarbonEthics’ Seaweed Soap, the seaweed cultivated by our farmers in Thousand Islands.  

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