As one of the very few people at the centre of the geoengineereing cyclone I find this news of the IPCC identifying “geoengineering” as important to be illuminating. It is so not because “geoengineering” is hoving into view as an option but rather because the media continues to spin the story in such a bizarre fashion.
My work of restoring mineral dust to the oceans so as to help Mother Nature restore her ocean pastures to life and abundance is classified as “geoengineering.” The project I orchestrated last summer involved taking a single fishing boat with ~100 tonnes of iron rich mineral dust to a particularly severely depleted ocean pasture deserves some attention to the details. The media has called me and my shipmates on the boat “rogues” and “cowboys”… how dare thy we are Indians many from a tiny and remote native village on an island far out to sea.
My work has been thoroughly savaged in the media around the world as not only “rogue”, but also against laws that do not exist, along with all manner of other pejorative descriptions. Only one single ultra-conservative media writer at the National Review wrote a story about the project which was not an attack.
Here’s what we did and what we saw and recorded.
We worked for about 6 years with myriad government officials developing and vetting the project plan. Eventually we gained the support of many government research ministries both with funding and in kind scientific support.
We studied the location of the ocean pasture we would restore by all means for more than a year. We collected physical samples months in advance using ships of opportunity in the area. We sent robotic ocean gliders in first to gather even more data. We lastly sailed into the area and studied what were the ecological and oceanographic characteristics before and as we began our deployment of the infinitesimal amount of restoration mineral. Our target was to raise the level of iron in the “patch” 100x100km by just tens of parts per billion.
What happened? It just worked!
Where that ocean was harbouring very low levels of plankton and other sea life before our mere dozen men and women began work after it became an oasis of life. Where before the bloom sea birds were seen and counted in ones and twos on any given day during the bloom seabirds were counted by the thousands feeding in the bloom. The cacophony of bird song at dawn was so great one could hear it over the roaring of the ships mighty engines.
Where whales were spotted in numbers of one or two per week before on some days in the bloom the greatest of all whales the big baleen whales were counted by the score. Sometimes the rarest and shyest of all the great whales were seen, in the words of captain with 50 years of sea time to his credit, “hey look at that they are coming right to us, they think they are sneaking up on us, see see look they are turning their great heads to get a better look at us.”
We observed salmon and tuna and other fish arriving in the bloom in abundance. The old captain again with most of his life as a tuna boat captain was regularly scampering off the bridge of the boat to personally haul in the albacore tuna we were catching in waters far too cold for those tuna but yet they were there.
All of ocean life thrived and flourished in this restored ocean pasture. And today and for many weeks now from Alaska to Oregon the largest runs of salmon have returned in all of history. Was our restored ocean pasture, chosen by me to be in the heart of the salmon ocean rearing grounds the cause of this years miraculous runs of salmon… we are still studying that but no phenomenon other than our restored pasture has been reported. Certainly far more than 100 million extra salmon have been caught in SE Alaska alone this year. Double the previous historic high.
So if we’ve fed sea birds, whales, tuna, and salmon what is it that we fed them? We’ll we are all carbon based life on this planet and that is what plankton blooms are the very best at of all plant ecosystems, converting deadly life threatening ocean acidfying CO2 into life itself. The helping hand our band of a dozen Indians gave to Mother Nature what she needed to grow and sustain her vital ocean pasture. That pasture converted scores or millions of tonnes of CO2 into life and into fish. Instead of eating canned tuna for the next year you might enjoy the taste of the bloom by choosing canned Alaska Pink Salmon instead… 100 million salmon can’t be wrong.
And the cost? In designing and making this ocean pasture restoration project happen I had to scrounge for money to do great science. Some few millions were raised in cash and in kind largely targeted at doing great science. We gathered more than 168 million discrete measurements of the ocean and its environment and ecology by working 24 hours a day at sea and using state of the art ocean robotic gliders and drifters.
Is this “geoengineering”?
Our tiny 100 tonnes of mineral dust pales in comparison to the 50 million tonnes of similar rock dust being poured into the Pacific Ocean starting in January of this year out of the National Park lands of the the Olympic penninsula of Washington State. But that $350 million dam removal project gathers nothing but praise for potentially restoring one small river system. In our work we might rise to match the load of minerals dumped into our common Pacific Ocean by doing our work over and over again for 500,000 years! But our Native village project is declared by the media in their quest to fabricate a fight story cast us me a rogue “geoengineer” while simultaneously casting our neighbour tribe the Elwha people living beside the Elwha River are heros, So be it.
The happy coincidence of our work to bring back the fish is that scores of millions of tonnes of CO2 becomes life. The cost to actually deploy the minerals and restore the ocean blooms was much less than $500,000! The cost of converting planet killing CO2 into ocean life… just a penny per tonne!
What’s required to restore the ocean pastures of 100 villages around the world where the fish have all but disappeared? This effort had the potential to feed billions of people with healthy fish. It will bring life back to the oceans everwhere. It doesn’t require 100 nations it just requires 100 tiny villages. And it will convert the lions share of our collective deadly CO2 into life at a cost of mere millions not the hundreds of billions, even trillions the true geoengineers want the world to spend.
The New Scientist magazine says the IPCC call for “geoengineering” is a call to create the largest industry in human history. The proof is at hand that what we need to create is a one of the smaller industries in human history.
Au contraire New Scientist, we just need 100 tiny villages working on a common summer “dream” job. More like the smallest industry in human history!
To read more I have a blog at russgeorge.net
Join me and 100 villages who choose to bring forth life not death as our response to the crisis facing our Blue Planet.
Here’s a link to a blog post that makes it very easy to understand how bringing the fish back will save the world!