One Farmer's Seaweed Discovery Could Help Slow Methane Emissions And Change The World

Posted: Dec 31, 1969

As the effects of climate change accelerate, the U.N. says the strongest lever we have to reduce global warming is to curb the emissions of the greenhouse gas: methane. But emissions continue to accelerate.

There may, however, be a game-changing method to slow methane emissions. On Prince Edward Island in Canada, farmer Joe Dorgan's unlikely discovery has the potential to change the world.

Dorgan, who founded North Atlantics Organics, which produces and distributes organic seaweed, stumbled upon what is nothing short of a climate miracle — the seeds of which were planted through five generations of family farming along the shores of Prince Edward Island. Back then, farmers harvested seaweed for feed and fertilizer.

So while beachgoers may consider seaweed nuisance, Dorgan knew from experience it was teeming with potential, CBS News meteorologist and climate specialist Jeff Berardelli reported for "CBS Saturday Morning." He sent samples of it to Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia to test for organic certification. Through that, it was discovered that the high uptake of natural vitamins and minerals in seaweed drove up reproduction and milk production in cows.

Dorgan knew instinctively that seaweed would be healthy for cows, but research revealed an unintended consequence: seaweed made cows less gassy.

Globally, methane is responsible for 30% of global warming. Of that, livestock, such as cattle, account for about one-third of all methane emissions.

Date: December 19, 2021
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