The Buckminster Fuller Institute just crowned the non-profit GreenWave winner of the 2015 Fuller Challenge for developing the world’s first multi-species 3D ocean farms – a type of sustainable aquaculture that produces high yields while restoring and improving the ocean’s ecosystems. The non-profit will receive a $100,000 grand prize towards the implementation of their work.
Our oceans are being plundered. With recent studies suggesting that humans have caused marine populations to halve, largely due to overfishing, alternative solutions like those proposed by GreenWave are a lifeline to the billions of people who depend on the oceans’ biodiversity. GreenWave’s new approach to farming the seas rejects the traditional practice of growing vulnerable monocultures for a multi-layered system akin to a vertical underwater garden.
GreenWave’s open-source strategy takes advantage of the entire ocean column, starting with seaweed, scallops, and mussels that grow on floating ropes suspended above oyster and clam cages on the ocean floor. This multi-species 3D ocean farm has the capacity of grow 10 tons of sea vegetables and 250,000 shellfish annually on one acre with zero input and no fresh water requirements. Besides food, these yields also provide fertilizers, animal feeds, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biofuels, and more. Best of all, GreenWave’s farms will restore the ocean ecosystems, rather than deplete them, and can clean the water (a single acre filters millions of gallons of ocean water a day) provide habitat, and sequester carbon. If adopted, coastal community members and harmful fisheries could be transformed into restorative ocean farmers.
“GreenWave exemplifies beautifully Fuller’s inspirational call for individuals and groups to take the initiative, identify a critical issue, and tackle it independently, creatively, responsibly, and in a comprehensive manner,” said Michael Ben-Eli, former colleague of Buckminster Fuller and Senior Advisor to the Fuller Challenge, and Founder of The Sustainability Laboratory.
Images via GreenWave