Ocean Pasture Restoration

Ocean Pasture Restoration

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I’d like to thank you for watching another Scientists Warning program. I’m the host Stuart Scott. We’re coming to you from the UN climate negotiations COP-25 in Madrid, Spain. I’ll give you a contact address in case you have questions or comments for the panelists , the two that are here and the one that could not be with us today. But today’s guests: first Peter Fiekowski Who’s an MIT graduate and physics? chairman of the foundation for climate restoration also with us Alex Carlin is a foreign correspondent on environment for the Center for Media and democracy And the guest who could not be with us today, Russ George. He’s a plant ecologist specializing in eco restoration of damaged ecosystems Including both forests and ocean pastures, which may be a new concept to many watching this program. I make the exception in this case to give a web address up front partly because Russ could not be here in person and His email address which I give in the clear and you’ll see why but it may relate to your heart and encourage you to get in touch in terms of the hundred villages project which Alex will discuss at the end towards the end of the program. This is Russ George a few years back Perhaps where he’s most at home recently on the open ocean Today’s program is called simply that ocean pasture restoration This is where it starts and where it ends our water covered planet over seventy percent covered by water and Yet all of the solutions they talk about here are land based solutions We are neglecting a huge opportunity by not talking about the oceans and we want to go into some of why today Now, this is an aerial satellite view of an ocean pasture a couple of them actual those two Almost eye one winking at you and the area below it those are areas in the ocean Where there are Eddie’s that develop over tens perhaps hundreds of kilometers and Within that Eddy, there’s a little pasture. This is not a concept that many of us have and those Pastures as you see have fallen into disrepair Now here is Russ George one of the first comments. We wanted to have him join us for 10,000 years ago the human race started to take look out on the land and take care of it alright to take care of them the wild natural pastures and You know in 10,000 years we now You know lived a world where you know good Goods good land stewardship, you know being a good shepherd of the pastures and the flocks is part of human culture But you know and and the land covers only a small part of this planet, right? 72% of this Blue planet is ocean and the ocean isn’t a uniform body of water It’s actually a collection of thousands of pastures that are independently Controlled, you know created by Eddie’s in the ocean and if you imagine the ocean covered with little swirling Eddie’s that are about a hundred to two hundred kilometres across those are the natural pastures of the of the ocean and So You know we should be and that’s where the fish live from if a fish swim from pasture to pasture Right and the pastures bloom? but I not all at the same time right some of it when a pasture and when an ocean pasture blooms just like a And grow and is healthy It grows for a while and then just like a pasture on land. It has to lie fallow or a period of time So this is sort of Mother Nature’s uniform method of dealing with plant He caught with pasture ecology, which is what this world is mostly about right So again, these are ocean pastures compliments of earth null school and you’re seeing the region of the ocean between Australia and Madagascar and look at all those Eddie’s the Coloration I’m told is the speed of the water at that point, but look at all those little Eddie’s How many would you guess how many ocean pastures do we have there thousand thousands? Now within those ocean pastures there used to be a lot more Plankton, this is a an actual concentration of plankton in a drop of seawater This is some of what the phytoplankton look like So here in the climate conference this obviously is not exactly a fishing conference. It’s a climate conference and the Pasture restoration is a critical aspect for restoring the climate So we’re all here because we want to give future generations a proven safe climate We want to not wonder if our children and grandchildren will survive. We want to know for sure We want to get co2 back to levels below 300 parts per million where humans have survived For hundreds of thousands of years and we can do that to do that requires removing a trillion tons of co2 and It turns out that once you get very clear what the goal is Because climate restoration means going from the implicit goal that we’ve all believed in certainly since I was a child that we want to have a world that will continue as long as we can imagine and taking that explicit say we explicitly want humans to survive and flourish And to do that requires getting co2 below 300 parts per million anything above that is speculation. We might survive so the methods that our Foundation for climate restoration has found that actually are viable to get co2 down the best ones of which Ocean pasture restoration is one our biomimicry Because the that our planet has dealt with this problem before of getting co2 back down from high levels that are very difficult for life to survive and One place that the Nature has put carbon is in limestone limestone is 99% of the Earth’s to carbon so if you take a look at these tiny plankton here this particular variety stores carbon dioxide in its shells and That is what built up the White Cliffs of Dover eons of time ago over untold millennia and finally by uplift plate tectonics Whatever we see that that layer of that that former life Which has sequestered carbon in those cliffs. It’s a great symbol of sequestration right there It’s beautiful its icon of sequestration of co2. I want to emphasize. This is a time for action this is the action cop meeting this we’re here to empower people who are actually restoring the climate and Photosynthesis is nature’s way to restore the climate it manages that excess co2 by pulling it out of the atmosphere and converting it into life and Into the cliffs of Dover eventually but 50 years ago 90% of the photosynthesis on earth was going on in the oceans Now just recently there was a study that showed that in the North Atlantic 75% is down of Photosynthesis in the North Atlantic, but that’s actually there’s a good news there that this we’re bringing you good news And the good news is in less than a decade with Ocean pasture restoration, which we’re going to describe this can restore the ocean pastures that will get us back to that 90% within a decade and that We’re talking about 30 Giga tons per year of Co2 coming in. Oh drawn down from the atmosphere That’s very significant and this 100 villages that Stewart mentioned this bringing back the fish of a hundred villages around The planet is a great way to do that. So and then what’s really nice about that is these are Methods that are are commercial and so we don’t have to wait for someone to budget a lot of money These are actions that can that are starting now and can grow very rapidly And of course, the reason we’re talking to this audience is to accelerate the growth They’re commercially viable take very little investment and could be enacted now We’ve been sold the concept the meme that a beautiful blue ocean is what’s desirable That’s where you want to go on vacation. This one is in Greece But a blue ocean is actually deficient in plankton now Green is the color of photosynthesis but that looks much less desirable than the blue to the human eye to the Biased human eye Plankton make the ocean pastures green. This is all very very simple logic. So what would you prefer that? Or that You first impulse is oh I love that beautiful blue water But if you’re talking about restoring the natural healing power of the ocean Then what you want is green water in these Doesn’t necessarily need to be near shore where you’re going to vacation But it needs to be in these Eddie’s these ocean pastures These are again ocean pastures natural blooms occurring off of the British Isles and The the blue green areas right off shore is a different thing going on its minerals better washing back Into the ocean but these ocean pastures out there in the middle of the ocean are what we’re focused on here now this is a photograph of a essentially a dust storm being blown off of Australia into the ocean and there are probably hundreds of thousands of tons maybe over a million tons of Iron, rich dust. That’s the red color iron Rich dusts that are blowing into the ocean in that natural phenomenon In the land the world of land and farms that you’re used to seeing the good farmer is looking for rainfall Obviously, well the ocean forests that are underwater and you know There’s – there’s maybe 20 or 30 Amazon equivalent oceans under the water. These forests are not waiting for rainfall They have plenty of water. They’re waiting for dust fall like and that’s and Russ is about to talk about the drought of dust fall and why we need the dust to fill classic yin and yang Relationship be in the pastures of the land and the pastures of the sea, you know, though the ocean gives up water It drifts in the wind it falls as rain on the land and the in the land is made abundant And in return the land has to give up dust that blows in the wind and the dust fall that lands in the ocean pastures makes those pastures abundant Here you have one of those blowing in the wind dust clouds coming off of North Africa For orientation there. We are in Madrid This is a natural phenomenon occurred for eons of time But we’re creating problems with it There’s less dust now so areas that Were giving up dust readily On land are not doing it They’re drying out the weather patterns are changing and the dust is not getting where it should be in the amounts that it should be we simply have to replenish the dust that we’ve denied these ocean plants and a famous oceanographer from California who was the head of the California State Marine Laboratory 30 years ago had spent most of his life unraveling the Gordian knot mystery of uh of dust in the ocean and He showed through studies of sediment cores going back several ice ages That before every ice age there was a sudden rise of dust in the world followed by a super abundance Of plankton growth that was shown in the sedimentary record and immediately the planet went into an ice age And that was John Martin from Monterey from Moss Landing marine laboratory in California But that’s the reason that we have a problem of dust fall drought. The reason is that as human beings in the industrial revolution started adding co2 to the atmosphere that actually made those dry land masses that were giving so much dust in the wind made those dry land masses just moister enough began as you know co2 makes the dry grassy lands a little more wet and When they’re a little more wet there’s less dust in the wind and there’s less dust falling in the oceans That’s the reason everything is connected to everything so the increased moisture in the air that we know is in the atmosphere now over the last 40 or 50 years from the increasing temperature the air holds more water and it’s Evaporates more that increased rainfall which we’re seeing as floods also Comes down more subtly not as floods necessarily, but it creates grasslands where there used to be dust blowing right and So what happened was there was a tribe of Indians that had been working with rust for 10 years on reforestation and there the name of that we’re gonna show on the slide is the People of the salmon and those people at all of a sudden had Nomura salmon and they heard that Russ Was involved in ocean pasture restoration to bring back the fish They had a ten-year record of success and and the honesty and integrity of this man who I’m really sorry couldn’t be here With us today, and so they asked him. Can you help us restore the ocean the the abundance in the ocean? this was the Boat that they obtained to do what they their work. Yeah, they spent years planning this with scientific Stations and hiring scientists and very carefully made sure they had every step of the way Approved by the government and by the tribe and they all and finally they went out and they did it remember these The this dust cloud the crew here. You see loading. What was it ten thousand pounds? well they they went with 100 tons of bags of iron rich dust that you can just pick up at a Construction site and sweep it up It’s no no money involved there hardly a little bit it cost a little more for the fuel for the but for the boat But this is not a trillion dollar solution that you keep hearing about. This is very reasonable Okay, and they went out and they did it there. They are there they are and they seem to be enjoying themselves late at night after hours hard day’s work and It’s very hard to see but there’s a slight pinkness to the water out behind and that’s the iron dust But what that resulted in within a couple of days was a blooming from this to this Now those are not the shots taken from the boat. That’s my recreation of what they experienced Two days is amazing two days. Russ says it takes two days for that fertilization to take root and the result they did their work in 2012 yike Ora and in 2013 they had the biggest salmon harvest ever in that area of the world now It wasn’t just the salmon that came back. It was biodiversity Russ tells this beautiful story Peter. Would you repeat that story for us? Cuz we couldn’t get it in there So Russ. Tell the story about going on deck of his ship just before dawn After the spreading of the iron and the plankton is blooming and this is 200 miles offshore The birds are beginning to come in. Normally there’s one or two birds just flying around now he comes up on deck Normally, he hears the big generators the big diesel 90 decibel generators and he couldn’t hear them because there were tens of thousands of Sea birds the birds very quickly Figured out that the ocean pasture was back and one of the mates climbed up the mast and said Russ you got to come up And see this as hundreds of whales is usually only one and his friends were calling him on the phone Russ Is that where the way of my whales you know the whales we used to watch? Are they over it by your boat right now? I mean it was the word Quote/unquote the word got out. Yeah Nature realized the ocean life realized here was a restored post. So in 2013 the federal fisheries Managers and state fisheries managers in Alaska said they were going to have a good pink salmon catch They thought they would catch between 50 and 52 million fish in The fall catch when the fish came close came back to shore When the fish came back to shore it was the largest catch in all of history And they finally had to stop catching fish after they caught 226 million instead of 50 million Because they no longer had any facility on shore that could receive another fish every fish warehouse cannery freezer every place you could put a salmon was filled to overflowing and The and then in and that so the fish came back Right. That’s right. Hey Russ gave me a statement to read should I read it now? Oh, please. Yeah, Russ. Yeah He’s up there in London and he’s once say something. He says my 100 villages project This is 100 villages all around, you know, the planet this hundred villages Project is restoring the ocean pastures of villages around the world first and foremost to bring back the fish But as the Haida village project proved when we do that Billions of tons of co2 will be repurposed into that restored ocean life Now sequestered repurposed. Yeah, but this is real action. This is not talk that’s action This is a the ultimate Win-win-win when I found out about this. I got so behind it and here one of the villagers from one of the First Nation villagers from the Haida People holding one of the many fish. It wasn’t just the salmon that came back. It was all of the life I’m not sure that that’s a sound looks more like a variety of tuna to me But I’m not sure of the species but life had come back so this is really the benefit for our planet where there are many methods to get carbon out of the atmosphere and The one that’s the most beautiful which is restoring the the ocean restoring village life with the people who are who have made their livings through fishing for Thousands of years and they can restore that at the same time We actually can get all the co2 back out of the air and think about what do we need from big corporations? What do we need from big governments for the hundred villages to restore their ocean pastures? What would you say? What do we need from them? just support, you know, the amount of investment required is a few million dollars and There are people who will come up provide that but the main thing is support that the the the UN and the IPCC is shifting and they’re Acknowledging that we had to get the carbon out of the atmosphere This project was tested in 2012 and in a sense it failed at the time because the climate community said this is not reducing emissions This is the only getting carbon out and now the tithe has changed and the whole climate community knows We have to get the carbon out and now is the time for us to do that at the same time that we’re feeding Our population and restoring these villages but isn’t it accurate to say that this is the investment level is so low and that the return when you the fish come back is so high that Normal business investment would be enough for each village to do that. And so we don’t need Huge taxpayer burdens and huge amounts of money, but let me ask you this about the United Nations itself talking about it more and like you say Is that the support you mean just sort of verbal support? That that’s the that’s the the verbal support and then there needs to be the kind of governance so that everyone is comfortable the people worried about Changing our planet or what I call Well restoring the planet to the way it used to be Actively doing that takes a certain amount of guts I think that’s also just people don’t know people don’t know the about this They’ve only heard about the things that are extremely dangerous and risky so they conflate everything like, you know That might be a solution into something like that. Perhaps I don’t know. What do you see? well A lot of scientists have studied this and a lot of writers both fiction and nonfiction have written about restoring the ocean But they’ve never they’d haven’t done it as ocean pastures. They’ve done it as basin-wide Restoration and that cannot work the no one’s really Proposed that seriously and so it’s very important when people think about ocean restoration it’s not it’s ocean pasture restoration what Russ is very excited about is that he’s already Of course He did it once in Haida and because of that Actually, a lot of these hundred villages have already started to contact Russ saying what will Russell you did it there? Why don’t you just come to us and do it with us? And and it’s one by one It’s already starting to happen and and this you know We’ve talked about Greta Thrun Berg and the people are saying why are you guys talking? Why don’t you do something? Well, people are doing that. That’s what’s happening So I’d like to thank the International Society for ecological economics that su Chi Buddhist Aid Foundation and the Interfaith Center for sustainable development who all Helped make this program these programs possible I’ve been your host Stuart Scott contact address Have you come to you live from the UN climate negotiations in the hood Spain? Thank you very much James

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