In this piece from late 2020, Stefan Milne explores the incredible potential of kelp as “a tool to fight ocean acidification, feed the world, and restore Native food sovereignty.”

One study estimated a “marine garden” the size of Washington state could provide enough protein to feed earth’s population, all while cleaning pollutants.

He dove into seaweeds’ dizzying range of applications: Foods. Fertilizer. Anti-wrinkle creams. Biochemicals, like the carrageenan that thickens ice creams and shampoos. A promising biofuel or bioplastic.

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.