HOLLYWOOD: “We don’t need advanced technology. Mother Nature has seaweeds and shellfish which sequester five times more carbon than land-based plants,” said Bren Smith, winching a glistening haul of glossy brown kelp out of the sea.
A fisherman-turned-“steward of the sea,” who runs a restorative ocean farm growing seaweed and farming shellfish, Smith is one of dozens of characters who appear in Ice on Fire, an eye-opening environmental documentary at Cannes Film Festival.
Produced by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Leila Conners, who worked together on 2007 climate documentary The 11th Hour, the film offers a fascinating look at the innovations and people working to significantly reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
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Take kelp. Not only does it soak up five times more carbon than plants on land but it is one of the fastest growing plants on earth and can be widely used for everything from food to fertiliser – even animal feed.
“If you provide a seaweed diet to cows, you get a 90% reduction in methane output,” said Smith, in what could play a key role in reducing the huge quantities of the greenhouse gas produced by livestock. Methane is 25 times more potent than CO2.