THE NEW SARGASSO SEA - SOUTH ATLANTIC
The evidence appears to show that sargassum can spread past the North Atlantic, to the South Atlantic. Conditions may not be right just yet for spread to the Indian and Pacific oceans, but just like any invasive species, it only takes accidental transference, like the introduction or rabbits in Australia, or the grey squirrel in the UK, that has all but overtaken the red squirrel. As the population continues to grow, food production must follow, or those people will starve. But that means more fertilizer leaching into the ocean, via rivers. Pollution from which is not monitored or limited.
Kudzu - Also known as the "mile-a-minute vine" and "the vine that ate the South," the Kudzu vine is native to Japan, but was first brought to the United States in 1876 when it was featured at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition as a hardy, fast-growing vine that could help inhibit soil erosion. What they failed to mention at the Exposition was just how fast they meant when they said Kudzu was "fast growing." Since its introduction, Kudzu has been spreading across the U.S. at a rate as fast as 150,000 acres annually, due primarily to the fact that its individual vines can grow upwards of a foot per day in the right conditions.
THE NEW SARGASSO SEA
Is there a new Sargasso Sea in the making, and could sargassum spread to other oceans and seas, to threaten the world?
The answer to that and other similar worries, is that anything is possible. We grow potatoes from the Americas, all over the world. Provided that the conditions are right, sargassum seaweed could migrate to the Indian and Pacific oceans. And as the world warms and the oceans become more polluted with nutrients from effluents, it could be possible that the pestilence now a thing Caribbean Islanders have to routinely cope with, may explode onto the world stage, making our oceans into one giant toilet bowl; or septic tank.
Agreed that sounds a bit H. G. Wells: 'War of the Worlds," but then sargassum does look like a brown version of the red weed from Mars in that superb work of fiction.
As we write, the North Atlantic Ocean was the starting point for macro algae migration, contained for many years by water temperature being fairly constant, and nutrient supply being limited. But clearly, the super seaweed has already invaded the South Atlantic body of circulating water. Telling us that the situation is changeable - and the humans are driving the change.
As climate change warms the oceans, sargassum is likely to become more of a problem, without a solution at present. A modified version of the SeaVax, could be adapted to harvest the macro-algae in a giant cleanup operation, aimed at preventing the large brown seaweed from becoming a tourism disaster, by heading it off at the pass. Unfortunately, the Cleaner Ocean Foundation was forced to pull the plug on the ocean cleaning project, where funding applications failed to grasp the potential of the concept to be applied to other ocean cleaning duties, including oil spills. In 2020 the dream team comprised of 10 academic concerns and volunteer technology champions, reluctantly disbanded. In order to begin again, the costs would be around ten-twenty times that when operating on a not for profit basis. Nobody should be required to take such career risks, where the benefits are for governments and local businesses. There should be contracts for entrepreneurs who provide community solutions. Not promises.
CLEANER OCEAN FOUNDATION
Of course it only becomes an emergency to you, when the brown stinking plague is lapping at your shores. Killing your fisheries, preventing fishing boats from operating freely, and reducing income from tourism to boot. All the while it is in another Sea, or another Ocean, it is easy to make cooing noises and fund studies. But what is needed is urgent action. Something Europe and the United Nations is not renowned for, except for Food Aid, where they actually action the supply of food to starving regions. And that brings us to climate change, the root cause of our warming oceans.
Here is another example of the G20 carrying on as if nothing is wrong, and now facing an irreversible crisis, despite all the Conferences of the Parties (COPs), they are actually FLOPs. Mainly because politicians need to peddle the notion of economic growth, in spite of the fact that we are burning roughly 2.4 planets worth of natural resources, to get today's insensible politicians elected, funded by donations from fossil fuel corporations. It stinks! Just like the sargassum plague that is lurking in the wings, waiting to take advantage of global warming, where in nature, wherever there is a niche to be exploited, exploit it the natural world will.
A floating plant cannot think to itself, "I wonder if we are threatening life on land." It just does what it's DNA tells it to do. On the other hand, humans can think, but they rarely do so. Not until a problem rears up to threaten their way of life.
Politicians are behind the curve, reacting to the cock-ups they make, by not being visionaries. Visionaries are cutting edge thinkers who can visualize what may happen next, and so take precautions; thought leaders.
We only need look at the UK under the Conservatives since 2010. They have trebled their National Debt, and in 2022, Liz Truss proposes borrowing more to underpin her election as Prime Minister. This is just one very tarnished example. Because it is happening all over the world. Corruption is rife, the currency of political life, and the debt they must pay, to have a say.
Where climate change is largely irreversible in today's political arena, with G7 and G20 policies based on growth and borrowing, both unsustainable practices - where we are already using the equivalent of 2.4 planets worth of natural resources, it seems the sargassum plague will only get worse. The Group of Seven, seem think we have a Planet B. We fear that the affected countries will have to fend for themselves. They need harvesting machines that run on renewable energy, capable of treating 24 million tons a year. They need the equivalent of the SeaVax concept, converted to recover floating macro algae.
These machines should be capable of containing sargassum, such that it is less likely to spread to other oceans and seas. It is a massive containment undertaking. At the moment in 2022, just a vision for a cleaner future.
Examples of which are:
The Sargasso Sea plays a role in the migration of catadromous eel species such as the European eel, the American eel, and the American
conger eel. The larvae of these species hatch within the sea, and as they grow they travel to Europe or the East Coast of North America. Later in life, the matured eel migrates back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and lay eggs. It is also believed that after hatching, young loggerhead
turtles use currents such as the Gulf Stream to travel to the Sargasso Sea, where they use the sargassum as cover from predators until they are mature. The sargassum
fish is a species of frogfish specially adapted to blend in among the sargassum seaweed.
Historic incidents of sailing ships being trapped there are due to the often calm winds of the horse latitudes.
What is brown and stinks? G7 climate policies.
Christopher Columbus, who crossed the Sargasso sea on his initial voyage in 1492, first mentioned that it encompasses the Bermuda islands. Because the sea is very calm with little wind, sailors since the time of Columbus mistakenly thought that seaweed itself is what trapped their ship. The mysteries of abandoned floating ships are associated with Sargasso Sea. There is no foundation to the belief that the amount and thickness of the weed can hinder a ship. The famed and feared Bermuda Triangle lies within the Sargasso Sea. The mystery of the Sargasso Sea was merely transposed later through the Bermuda Triangle.
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