In this week’s newsletter, we turn our gaze to our oceans. The big blue force from which all life on Earth was born. Through recent news, we explore how regenerative farming methods are being applied to our coastlines. We also look at what the future of sustainability look like for our seas.
Another “ocean” we would like to spotlight this week is Ocean Vuong, a Vietnamese American poet, essayist and novelist. In a 2021 episode of On Being with Krista Tippett, Vuong tenderly explores language, living, memory, and embodied practice. The result is profoundly beautiful.
You can listen to the episode via Spotify or click here to listen via your browser. If you have 90 minutes available, we highly, highly recommend pressing play on the uneditedepisode and taking a nice, long walk wherever you are. (We may have listened to it not once, not twice, but thrice this week… and as familiar as Voung’s words have become, they continue to leave us breathless).
The Rē Team
Updates from Rē:
Blossom Into Spring: A Revitalizing Retreat
POSTPONED to May 13-15, 2022 in Fayetteville, Tennessee
Thana Nu of Nourish Me Wellness, Caitlin Smith of Within Wellness, and Ashlei Laing of Rē : The Regenerative School will be facilitating an incredible weekend, holding space, and helping us bloom. We will use Ayurvedic dietary and herbal techniques to clear and open physiological and psychological channels in the body and mind. Consider our invitation and lean into a beautiful, practice to clear the accumulated energies that no longer serve us.
All are welcome! No experience needed, only open minds. Join us!
In Other News:
From Fish Waste to Community Wealth
A large population, an increasing demand for fish, a warm (and warming) climate, and the lack of action by local pollution control boards has led to an overflow of fish debris along India’s 7,500-kilometer-long coastline. To tackle the problem, the country’s Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has teamed up with local people to turn this waste into wealth [specifically value-added products for use in aquaculture and agriculture].
Click here to read more on the grassroots project turning fish guts that once polluted Indian beaches into PlanktonPlus (used in aquaculture to boost healthy plankton) and HortiPlus (an organic manure for horticulture).
Seaweed Farming Has Vast Potential—But Good Luck Getting a Permit
“The economics are wonderful,” [Joth Davis, a Washington state ocean farmer] said. “Kelp isn’t difficult to grow, and it doesn’t use freshwater or added nutrients. The value proposition is really there.”
Many others want to grow kelp in Washington’s waters, but Davis’ farm for now is the only one operating. The reason is simple: The state’s permitting process involves nine different agencies, and the paperwork is so burdensome and time-consuming that few people bother.
To learn more about America’s growing aquaculture industry, the turbid permitting process, and the vast areas of unclaimed waters with robust growing potential, click here.
As a National Seafood Council Takes Shape, Whose Interests Will It Serve?
Almost 90 percent of the fish and shellfish we eat in this country is imported, despite the fact that the U.S. controls more ocean than any nation on Earth. This is partly because seafood caught in the U.S. is often processed overseas, where it becomes indistinguishable from imported seafood. And imported seafood—sometimes caught in ways that violate human rights or deplete wild populations, or raised on polluting fish farms—is usually far cheaper than what we catch in the U.S., where fish populations are stringently managed and slave ships can’t operate.
To help encourage consumers to buy more American seafood, NOAA has been pressed to create a National Seafood Council, financed with government funds, to pay for research, education, and marketing to benefit U.S. seafood. Click here to read about the murky waters NOAA has to wade to benefit small domestic fisheries.
What Does Building Back Better Look Like?
Last November, the US House of Representatives passed a US $2.2-trillion social and climate policy bill nicknamed the Build Back Better Act. Included in the bill was $6-billion over five years specifically earmarked to be shuttled through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “for the conservation, restoration, and protection of coastal and marine habitats and resources, including fisheries, to enable coastal communities to prepare for extreme storms and other changing climate conditions, and for projects that support natural resources that sustain coastal and marine resource dependent communities.” It’s a broad mandate, and a massive sum of money. NOAA’s budget request for coastal restoration and resilience for this year, by comparison, is just $259-million.
Hakai Magazine asked a range of experts how all that money should be spent. Click here to read what they had to say.
Regeneration.org is a response to the urgency of the climate crisis.
Regeneration is not only about bringing the world back to life; it is about bringing each of us back to life. It has meaning and scope; it expresses hope and kindness; it involves imagination and creativity. It is inclusive, engaging, and generous. And everyone can do it.
Regeneration’s Nexus provides a determined “what-to-do manual for all levels of society, from individuals, classrooms, CEOs, national governments and everything and everyone in between.” Entries include resources (like what to watch, read, and consider), initiatives, people, and organizations that teach, engage, influence and transform. Their team is updating entries weekly, building out their database from A of Agroecology all the way to W of Women and Food. We recommend checking out their entries on Seaforestation, Marine Protected Areas, and Ocean Farming for an extensive list of resources on coastal conservation, protection, and productivity.
Kelp Gets on the Carbon-Credit Bandwagon
Most carbon credits purchased to offset emissions are for land-based initiatives, such as forest protection, but there is an increasing market for ocean-based projects. “Blue-carbon” credits might soon include projects that conserve, restore, or enhance seaweeds.
While land-based-forestry carbon credits can go for less than US $1 per credit, blue-carbon credits have been known to fetch $15 or more… Seaweed is a good candidate for these blue credits, advocates say. Fast-growing seaweed is an efficient carbon soaker-upper, gobbling up to 20 times more carbon than a terrestrial plant of the same volume.
To learn more about the scientists and nine First Nations in British Columbia are getting involved in exploring how carbon credits can help holistically protect the land and sea, click here.
A Shellfish Company Gets into the Weeds: The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Shows How Eelgrass and Aquaculture Can Coexist in Puget Sound.
[Eelgrass] grows in or near many of the same places that shellfish do, and conservation measures to protect it have fallen short, according to a lawsuit the Swinomish brought against the federal government in 2018. Food security, both now and in the future, shouldn’t be sacrificed for economic gain, the tribe argues; the two can coexist. The Swinomish Shellfish Company is determined to prove that other vital species can thrive alongside an industry that brings in $150 million a year to the state.
Click here to read a fascinating piece on how an Indigenous-owned aquaculture company is showing how to balance ecosystems and economic growth, while (literally) growing access to “first foods,” such as salmon and shellfish.
How Marine Protected Areas Can Pay for Their Own Protection
Overfishing is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the ocean, and according to a recent United Nations report a third of global fish stocks are overfished. One answer to the problem of overfishing is to implement marine protected areas (MPAs)—parcels of ocean where fishing is banned or severely restricted… These no-take zones, however, are vulnerable to poaching [and expensive to monitor]…
A new report… proposes a counterintuitive way to make MPAs financially self-sufficient: charge a limited number of fishermen for premium access for the right to fish just outside these particularly bountiful no-take zones.
The area right next to a marine protected area is a prime fishing spot—and researchers think fishermen will pay to access it. Click here to read more about how this innovative market-based solution could protect and fund MPAs!
Scooping Plastic Out of the Ocean Is a Losing Game
A garbage truck turns off the road, engine rumbling, brakes wheezing, and the smell of rot trailing in its wake. The truck stops short and starts to reverse—beep, beep, beeping down a boat launch. With salt water lapping at its rear tires it stops, opens its tailgate, and dumps its load of cups, straws, bottles, shopping bags, fishing buoys, and nets… [polluting] the ocean and [poisoning] the food chain…
It doesn’t happen like this, of course, but eight million tonnes of plastic does end up in the ocean every year—the equivalent of a garbage truck’s–worth every minute. And the rate is increasing. If nothing changes, the amount of plastic sloshing around the ocean could double in 10 years.
Open ocean cleanups won’t solve the marine plastics crisis. What will? Continue reading this fantastic feature article here to learn what we can do to really make a difference.
Facing Warming Waters, Fishermen Are Taking Up Ocean Farming
“Alaska has always been based on extraction. We’re a natural resource extraction state,” says [Dune Lankard, a member of the Athabaskan Eyak community, an Indigenous group from the Alaskan Copper River Delta]. “What regenerative ocean farming does is create a new regenerative economy that’s based on conservation, restoration and mitigation, as opposed to more extraction of resources.”
Click here to continue reading about regenerative ocean farming, a mariculture model in which shellfish and kelp are grown in underwater gardens.
That’s all for this week!
Have you listened to any podcast episodes that made your heart skip a beat? Have you read any articles that have piqued your interest? We would love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we at Rē are grateful for your attention and support. If you liked this newsletter, consider donating at https://regenerativeschool.org/redonate/
Thank you and see you soon!