‘Sea forest’ would be better name than seaweed, says UN food adviser

Seaweed could help feed the world and reduce the impact of the climate emergency, a UN adviser on food has suggested.

Speaking at the Hay festival in Wales, Vincent Doumeizel suggested that the term “sea forest”, which is how seaweed is referred to in Norway, would be more appropriate, “because we would understand that we need to protect and preserve them as we do with all the land forests”.

All of the approximately 12,000 known varieties of seaweed are edible, says Doumeizel, whose book The Seaweed Revolution is currently out in French. If we used all of these varieties of seaweed more effectively, Doumeizel believes, we could “feed the entire world” sustainably, while “repairing the climate”, “mitigating biodiversity loss” and “alleviating poverty”.

Many are so nutritious that studies have estimated that 2% of the ocean would be sufficient to feed 12 billion people, without using any animal or vegetable resources. And unlike some other plants, it retains all of its nutrients when dried.

Seaweed’s high protein content and immune-boosting properties makes it a great animal feed, and as a side benefit, feeding livestock seaweed also “cuts methane emissions”, said Doumeizel. If every cow was fed just 100 grams of seaweed a day, he said, it would suppress their wind enough that “the impact on climate change would be equivalent to stopping each and every car and truck on the planet”.

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