Wholesalers

Here’s how Intrepid is using seaweed to become climate-positive

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

At Intrepid’s Adventure Travel Summit in Buenos Aires last week, the topic du jour was climate-positive action.

You’ve no doubt heard of companies going climate neutral, well, having achieved that goal in 2010, Intrepid recently decided to go one better and set a goal to become climate positive by 2020.

How do they hope to do this? Seaweed. Yes, seaweed. The stuff that holds together your sushi can actually be used to draw down carbon from the atmosphere and significantly reduce methane emissions in livestock when it’s used as feed.

Climate change is a really tricky subject for us to talk about in the travel industry, or own up to perhaps. But what is life without travel?” Gibson told the 75 travel agents selected to attend the summit. 

“That’s why in 2017 the Intrepid Foundation decided to donate $100,000 to get the film 2040 off the ground.”

2040 is a documentary, directed by and starring Aussie actor Damon Gameau, that focuses on 6 solutions to climate change that already have been invented and if implemented on a large scale, could turn the future of the planet around. 

It strays from the doom and gloom tactics usually present when we talk about climate change to present practical changes and a message of hope.

“Intrepid Travel has been carbon neutral since 2010. What we’ve done over those years is spend $1.6 million purchasing renewable energy carbon offsets and guess what? Our business hasn’t gone under. We’re still a very profitable business and we chose to do this voluntarily,” Gibson said.

“We want to have a positive influence on the travel industry, so we’ve made a commitment to become climate positive by 2020.”

According to Gibson, research has suggested that even if every company became carbon neutral, it would be too little too late, so the climate-positive movement is about taking responsibility for extra carbon and drawing it out of the atmosphere.

In April, the Intrepid Foundation partnered with the Climate Foundation to fund research through the University of Tasmania for Australia’s first marine permaculture platform, reaching their fundraising goal of $350,000 in just four months.

With those funds, scientists collected spores from the surviving giant kelp populations to identify individuals that are more tolerant of warming waters. Now, they are breeding those kelp in the lab to prepare for planting into the field.

To continue the project, Intrepid need to raise an additional $250,000 to scale the project and trial marine permaculture systems offshore in Tasmania’s Storm Bay.

It’s not just a step for the climate; it’s a step for sustainable, environmentally-positive aquaculture, local livelihoods and tourism. The project also supports kelp forest restoration efforts by planting warm-tolerant giant kelp on natural rocky reefs.

The best part? Intrepid will match every dollar donated. You can make a contribution to the (re) generation project here.

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