NPR’s Morning Edition recently grappled with the issue of geoengineering. The program discussed the Haida people’s 2012 attempt to bring salmon back to their waters, by using iron dust to create an algae bloom, and the scientific community’s response to it.
In the summer of 2012, a small group of the Haida people, a native community in Canada, had a problem. The salmon they rely on were disappearing. So the Haida took matters into their own hands. They partnered with an American businessman, drew up plans and then took a boat full of iron dust into the waters off their home island and put the dust in the ocean. When they spread the iron dust, it created a big algae bloom. They hoped the algae would soak up carbon dioxide and bring back the fish. The reaction to the experiment was immediate and negative, and described by some media as the “world’s first rogue geoengineering project.” While it scared a lot of people and angered a lot of scientists, this event could be a sign of what’s to come. Some very mainstream scientists are saying the climate change situation is so bad that saving life as we know it might require something radical: like shooting chemicals into the stratosphere to protect Earth from the sun. In essence, these scientists are talking about hacking the climate.
To learn more on this topic you may want to check out Matthew Watson’s blog the reluctant geoengineer.