Green Innovations Shaping the Blue Economy

Water covers over 70% of the earth’s surface. Yet, we often focus on what’s happening on land when we talk about sustainable development. The blue economy being shaped today will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on marine environment of the future, as well as the overall environment and international economy. This list of innovators will get you up to speed on leading technology and ideas in the space. With solutions for food, agriculture, plastic alternatives, energy, policy, and more, these companies and individuals are creating a green and resilient blue economy. 

GreenWave’s Regenerative Ocean Farms

Greenwave’s regenerative ocean farming model is the world’s most sustainable way to produce food. Their polyculture farming system yields varieties of seaweeds and shellfish, which require zero inputs and sequester carbon and help reef ecosystems recover as they grow. The harvested seaweed and shellfish can then be used for food for humans and animals, fertilizer, bioplastics, and more. Beyond cultivation, Greenwave provides training to ocean farmers. The nonprofit’s goal is to facilitate the planting of one million acres over the next ten years, resulting in meaningful economic and climate impacts.

Listen: Bigger Than Us #119 with Emily Stengel, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of GreenWave

The Ocean Renewable Power Company’s Sustainable Energy Solutions

River and tidal currents are a largely untapped energy resource. For remote communities, it’s often the most reliable and sustainable source of energy. The Ocean River Power Company has several solutions to tap into this green energy. For example, their RivGen Power System has been proven as an alternative to generators that rely on fossil fuels in Igiugig, Alaska. The system, which has no detriment to life underwater, connects to existing grids, helping to offset the community’s diesel usage. It’s also designed to be easy to install and manage locally. 

Listen: Bigger Than Us #130 with Stuart Davies, CEO of the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC)

Primary Ocean’s Commercial Kelp Cultivation

Kelp has many uses, and Primary Ocean is on a mission to commercialize it while using its cultivation to reverse climate change. Their large-scale kelp farms sequester carbon and restore oxygen while creating ocean habitat. The kelp produced can be used as a sustainable solution for various products, replacing fossil fuel derived materials such as plastic. Kelp-derived plastic alternatives help to reduce the eight million tons of plastic pollution that enters the ocean each year. Other uses include fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, textiles, and biofuels.

Listen: Bigger Than Us #164 Brandon Barney, Co-Founder of Primary Ocean

Grassroots Action by the Ocean River Institute 

Environmentally-friendly solutions are important, but individuals and communities must get behind solutions for them to be effective. The Ocean River Institute operates based on the belief that grassroots efforts are the best way to address issues like wildlife conservation, ocean management, and air quality. The institute connects donors and advocates with specific community-based opportunities to practice stewardship, save wildlife and protect ecosystems with environmental education, science, and conservation. 

Listen: Bigger Than Us #158 with Dr. Rob Moir President & Executive Director of the Ocean River Institute

Tidal Vision’s Sustainable Chitosan

Chitosan is a natural biopolymer found in the shells of crustaceans. It has a diverse scope of applications such as textiles, plastic, and agricultural products. However, until Tidal Vision started tapping into the massive volume of crustacean shells from the fishing industry, chitosan was expensive, hard to work with, and unsustainable. Tidal Vision uses byproducts from sustainably managed fisheries and uses eco-friendly chemistry solutions to make chitosan that replaces synthetic materials. 

Listen: Bigger Than Us #157 with Craig Kasberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Tidal Vision

Whale Appraisals by Ralph Chami

How do you put a price on whales? And why would you want to do such a thing? As environmental economist Ralph Chami found out, appraising whales can catalyze action to protect them and the environment. His calculations and the viral paper he co-authored opened the floodgates to appraising nature for the purpose of protecting it through the carbon market. 

In case you’re curious, according to Ralph’s calculations, the world population of whales is currently worth more than $1 trillion. 

Listen: Bigger Than Us #134 with Ralph Chami, Assistant Director in the Institute for Capacity Development (ICD), International Monetary Fund

Hear interviews with leaders in the cleantech, green tech, and sustainability sectors every week on the Bigger Than Us podcast

Raj Daniels

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