World Oceans Day 2022: This kelp needs help, and the first cigarette surfboard made in Canada


Some call kelp the underwater rainforests of our coast, but with climate change contributing to an increase in marine heat waves, these kelp forests need help.

“The water just warms up a couple degrees more than it would normally and that can really stress out our ocean life,” says Dr. Julia Baum, a marine biology professor at the University of Victoria.

Kelp provides important habitat for hundreds of thousands of species of invertebrates, fish and other algae. And, with die-off we also lose all the biodiversity that lives in it.

Baum and a team of scientists are working on restoration efforts and ensuring that restored populations are “future-proofed”-that is, capable of surviving an increasingly warming ocean.

They are also trying to understand how these forests can possibly serve as a climate change solution, because kelp actually absorbs carbon dioxide.

“They could potentially be an important source of carbon drawdown themselves,” says Baum.

There’s another local group making big waves on World Oceans Day, and that’s with a whole lot of cigarette butts.

Surfrider Foundation: Pacific Rim has been running the ‘Hold On To Your Butt’ campaign since 2017. Since then, 1.2 million cigarette butts have been recycled through Terracycle, which recycle this material into plastic, lumber and pallets.

In collaboration with local surfboard shaper and owner of Someseaco, Jesse Jones they created a board covered in hundreds of cellulose acetate plastic cigarette butts.

It’s the first board like it in Canada and to grace the waters of the Pacific Rim.

“Some of our sister chapters had done it in the states and so basically we thought let’s do it, let’s really blow this up and let people know how big of an issue it is,” says Laurie Hannah, with Surfrider Pacific Rim.

Surfrider is calling for a federal ban on cellulose acetate cigarette butt filters, saying they harm our waters and erode overall climate and environmental health.

“Canada came up with World Oceans Day back in ’92, we proposed it, so I really love us to be charging the way, leading the way,” adds Hannah.

Hannah LepineHannah Lepine

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