As part of a series highlighting the work of young people in addressing the climate crisis, writer Patricia Lane interviews Kennedy Nikel, a marine biologist working at Cascadia Seaweed.
Kennedy Nikel’s work helping to save the world’s oceans ended her climate grief. This 24-year-old marine biologist is using seaweed to design critical solutions to problems caused by climate breakdown.
Tell us about your work.
I work at Cascadia Seaweed, which, although it only launched in 2019, is now Canada’s largest ocean seaweed farming company. We strive to be a beacon of hope for others because we can see such potential. I also volunteer with the Pacific Seaweed Growers Association as director of development.
What is so exciting about seaweed?
Seaweed is a nutritious, delicious food, a cleaning agent for human-introduced ocean toxins, a repair agent for ecosystem damage caused by fin and shellfish farming, and excellent salmonid habitat. Oceans 2050 has noted its potentially transformative role in de-acidifying the oceans and acting as a seriously effective carbon sink. It also helps buffer coastlines from wave damage caused by extreme weather events. It is used for medicine, cosmetics and biofuel. It is showing great promise as a substitute for plastics. Fed in small amounts to cattle, it radically reduces their methane production, lowers feed costs and improves their health. It is easy and regenerative to grow. There are hundreds of species of seaweed, and we only know a few of them. I am excited every day to discover more ways to grow it and to harvest for more uses.