By Céline Cousteau
World Ocean’s Day is celebrated on 8 June 2021. Our oceans are integral to life on earth, and this is a time to acknowledge that and advocate for our waters. As the ‘Planet’ Ambassador for the TreadRight Foundation, the non-profit organization founded by the Travel Corporation (TTC), the ocean is not just a critical resource to me, but a crucial source of hope for our future.
The ocean is home to some of the world’s most incredible species, which provides endless fascination to me as an environmentalist and as a mother, whose little boy is in awe of it. As an explorer, I find inspiration and adventure in its depths. Now, we’re discovering that it could be key in taking action against climate change.
Protect our Waters for the Future
It’s true that our oceans are under threat. However, rather than scaring readers with doom and gloom scenarios, I prefer to instil hope. Our oceans have the potential to undo some of the dreadful damage that we have inflicted on the environment over the past 100 years or more.
Humanity’s wellbeing fully relies on the welfare of our planet. Although the challenges we collectively face can seem endless, the potential solutions are also mounting. The answers may lie in our waters, if we protect them.
Prevention is paramount for protection of our oceans. We need to prevent eight million pieces of plastic ending up in our waters every single day. Ocean restoration can provide a natural means to decrease our huge carbon footprint and empower climate action.
According to the “Let Nature Help” report by the Wildlife Trust, climate solution could provide more than a third of the CO2 mitigation required until 2030. Our oceans can absorb 20-35% of human-made CO2 emissions every year, which is a huge help in terms of combating climate change. Recently, this has been recognized by the USA and Canada, who have committed to nature-based solutions to fight climate change. The UK have introduced measures to restore nature on the path to carbon removal.
Helping Nature Lead the Way
Each of us can be significant in bringing about a solution. We have big, bold ideas of how nature can heal supported by scientific research. Over the past decade with the TreadRight Foundation, my role has been to highlight the sustainable travel initiatives worldwide that happen with the Travel Corporation’s support.
Luxury Gold recognizes that climate change needs urgent attention. This is why the company is implementing the Travel Corporation’s Climate Action Plan. This five-point plan includes measurable goals as part of a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.
As part of fulfilling these commitments, TreadRight has partnered with two marine based carbon removal solutions. The first is GreenWave, a regenerative ocean farming organization and the other is Project Vesta, who are exploring the natural capacity of the ocean as a carbon sink.
GreenWave are TreadRight’s first carbon removal partner, and members of its organization study how kelp can be added to soil, increasing its carbon storage potential while decreasing harmful nitrous oxide emissions on regenerative land farms. Research has discovered that kelp minimizes the need for fertilizer and also reduces nitrous oxide emissions from the soil. Nitrous oxide emissions are 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide emissions so if GreenWave’s pilot project proves that kelp is effective, this will have a tremendous effect on the fight for climate change. It will also provide the opportunity for regenerative ocean and land farms to work together for the good of our planet.
Project Vesta’s plan is to utilize the natural power of the ocean and remove a trillion tonnes of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. On pilot beaches in the Caribbean, they have taken a naturally occurring rock, olivine, crushed it and redistributed it to coastal areas where it can be naturally weathered by the waves. As it breaks down, carbon dioxide is removed from the air, eventually ending up as limestone on the ocean floor. This both reduces the carbon in the air and the level of acidity in the ocean. Recent research proves that the chemistry works and as olivine can be found in abundance, it suggests that we have highly affordable, scalable solution for our seas.
Olivine has the potential to capture one gigaton (GT) of carbon dioxide per year if placed on just 0.25% of global shelf seas, which is roughly equal to the amount of carbon that 16 billion trees growing for ten years could remove from the air. Project Vesta currently has pilot beaches in the Caribbean and is studying a natural olivine sand beach in Hawaii. Project Vesta aims to establish the validity of the process, while ensuring that it is ecologically sound before it can be replicated worldwide.
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®
These projects are harnessing the remarkable power of the ocean to benefit humanity and the future of our planet. It’s incredible that nature is providing us the solutions to a problem we have created.
I would ask that the next time you see the ocean, consider the great hope it represents to our climate and future. I invite you to join me and Luxury Gold in taking the pledge to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER®. Wherever you go, travel with purpose.