GreenWave Wins The 2015 Fuller Challenge

The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) is pleased to announce the Winner of the 2015 Fuller Challenge: GreenWave, a non-profit organization that has designed the world’s first multi-species 3D ocean farms. GreenWave aims to restore ocean ecosystems and create jobs in coastal communities by transforming fishers into restorative ocean farmers. The project was submitted by GreenWave Executive Director Bren Smith.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” -R. Buckminster Fuller

GreenWave’s integrated model shifts the practice of aquaculture from growing vulnerable monocultures to creating vibrant ecosystems, which produce higher yields. The infrastructure is simple: seaweed, scallops and mussels grow on floating ropes, stacked above oyster and clam cages below. From these crops ocean farmers can produce food, fertilizers, animal feeds, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biofuels and much more. The farms filter harmful pollutants out of water, sequester CO2, support biodiversity, and are thus designed to restore rather than deplete our ecosystems.

GreenWave exemplifies beautifully Fuller’s inspirational call for individuals and groups to take the initiative, identify a critical issue, and tackle it independently, creatively, responsibly, and in a comprehensive manner,” said Michael Ben-Eli, former colleague of Buckminster Fuller, Senior Advisor to the Fuller Challenge, and Founder of The Sustainability Laboratory.

We never know who will respond to the Fuller Challenge. It is exhilarating to review such extraordinary initiatives submitted by people from all over the world,” said Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Director of BFI. “The Fuller Challenge was launched in 2007, and GreenWave marks the third winner that directly addresses urgent and complex issues related to our oceans: the impending collapse of marine eco-systems, the long-term effects of climate change on our coastal communities, and the economic catastrophe these communities are experiencing right now as a result. We are thrilled with the review committee’s selection.

As a lifelong commercial fisherman, I could never have imagined being graced with the honor of being the 2015 Fuller Challenge recipient. GreenWave is proud to take Fuller’s vision of ecological design into our oceans. We hope that our model of 3D ocean farming will be a catalyst for the restoration of ocean ecosystems, mitigating of climate change and helping feed the planet. The Fuller Challenge prize enables us to continue working to lay the foundation of a new blue-green economy,” said Smith.

Further details on the winning proposal can be found here.

The GreenWave team will accept the Fuller Challenge OmniOculi award sculpture and a $100,000 prize check at the 2015 Fuller Challenge Conferring Ceremony at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, New York on the evening of November 19th, 2015. This event has been developed in partnership with the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design (CUISD).

To join BFI, GreenWave, and the five Finalists in celebration of the 2015 Fuller Challenge and the field of whole systems design, please reserve a ticket. The Conferring Ceremony is open to the public for a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds will go towards funding the Fuller Challenge and other BFI programming.

Do you know the next Fuller Challenge winner? BFI is now accepting project recommendations for the 2016 Fuller Challenge cycle. If you are aware of an initiative that may fit the Fuller Challenge criteria, please submit a recommendation here. Recommended projects will receive an invitation to apply to the 2016 Fuller Challenge.