If a Kelp Falls in the Forest and No One Hears…

The Climate Foundation is on a campaign to spread marine permaculture to all the waters of the world.

Albert Bates

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A wonder of nature, perhaps a metaphor for its magic, is that the planet’s most majestic forest grandeur is hidden from our view. Though this forest’s “trees” are taller than sequoias, they are invisible to us. They grow down, not up. Unburdened by having to fight gravity or thirst for fickle rain, they grow thirty times faster than their leafy cousins on land. You just need a snorkle, scuba, or a submersible to visit them.

From the warm shallows of Borneo to the icy waters off Greenland are unseen, underwater, vast forests of green. They are doing what forests do best — sheltering lifeforms large and small, providing food and fodder, sequestering carbon. Their nesting “birds” are manatees, whale sharks, dolphins and sea turtles.

Sadly, these forests are as much under attack by the hand of man as are their landed brethren. These giants tumble not by ax or chain but from heat, acid tides, microplastics, toxic runoff, abuse and neglect. But all the while, growing conditions are getting consistently better. According to a report this year in Nature, our blue planet is greening, and that is not a metaphor.

Green shading represents areas where ocean surface color has significantly changed. Black dots represent areas with a change in chlorophyll levels. NASA

Analyzing 20 years from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite, NASA researchers watched 56 percent of the global ocean, mainly equatorward of 40°, undergo a color shift from blue to green. Fertilized by exceptional surpluses of carbon and nitrogen, photosynthesizing microscopic organisms make chlorophyll. Greening is changing the surface-ocean ecosystem at a scale and speed never before witnessed.

The good parts: dead plants will fall like snow to the ocean floor, entombing that small part of the carbon cycle; marine food chains, which begin as microscopic organisms, will prosper; and color-coding…

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Albert Bates

Emergency Planetary Technician and Climate Science Wonk — using naturopathic remedies to recover the Holocene without geoengineering or ponzinomics.