Marine Permaculture

ORGANIZATION NAME: The Climate Foundation


SUMMARY: Warming ocean surface waters present an increasing energy barrier to natural overturning circulation, threatening seaweed-dependent ecosystems and the economic survival of coastal communities. Climate Foundation envisions Marine Permaculture (MP): semi-submerged foundations supporting marine ecosystems using renewable energy to restore overturning circulation, seaweed, and fisheries while fixing carbon and regenerating economies.

PROBLEM SPACE: “Marine Permaculture addresses critical needs comprising increased food security, biodiversity, ecosystem restoration, and carbon fixation. By re-creating conditions that foster marine plant growth over large regions of open ocean, we can restore ecosystem production.

Currently 93% of global warming is being absorbed by the oceanic surface mixed layer. This warming is slowing natural overturning circulation, which in turn slows the upwelling of nutrients that provide the first link in a food chain that is the basis of life on Earth; these nutrients feed the marine plants and plankton that both produce most of the oxygen we breathe, and provide the first level of food for fish. Warming is also compromising other foundational marine ecosystems such as coral reefs and kelp forests. Kelp forests occupy 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface, yet provide habitat for thousands of marine species as well as fix carbon and reduce ocean acidification. Unfortunately, kelp mortality has reached 90% in some regions.

Marine Permaculture holds the promise of regenerating areas that are presently ocean deserts; applying renewable energy to restore overturning circulation can create the thriving ecosystems that ensure species survival and food for a growing population.”

SOLUTION: “In order to increase food security and restore marine ecosystems, Climate Foundation has developed a system that can moderate ocean surface temperature by restoring overturning circulation. This restores the conditions that support seaweed forests and thereby builds resilience into fisheries that provide food for burgeoning populations.
Marine permaculture uses renewable energy – such as wave-driven pumps – to restore nutrient circulation by bringing cooler water up to where it is needed to create the favorable conditions required for growth. The system also provides a submerged substrate onto which seaweed attaches. The upwelled nutrients enable growth without external inputs. Marine Permaculture thereby creates an oasis in an ocean desert with habitat and food for forage fish.
Restoring overturning circulation results in cooler waters, even in tropical climates, anticipating the need for food cultivation to be climate resilient. Multiple Permaculture enables larger open-ocean cultivation to take place. We are planning self-guided arrays using shear from mesoscale eddies. Wave and other renewable energy provides power needed for seaweed irrigation and navigational guidance. This will enable cultivation across vast regions of pelagic zones, eliminating limitations of nearshore cultivation.”

CONTACT: info@climate foundation