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The complex ecosystems beneath the waves remind me of the parallels with the terrestrial world and the responsibility we have as humans to find ways to nurture and work with nature, and not against it, by destroying it. 

Like our terrestrial forests, the oceans' kelp forests play a critical role in the well-being of our planet. However, as these aquatic forests are submerged just below the surface, most people have been oblivious to the vital role they play in keeping our planet cool and stocked full of fish. The resilience of our kelp forests is under strain in many parts of the world due to the release of unprecedented amounts of carbon into our air and sea, the cumulative impact of global warming, ocean acidification, combined with overfishing. All these factors have created the perfect conditions for the humble sea urchin to reproduce unhindered, to overgraze on the kelp forests and transforming this habitat into a near lifeless, empty, barren desert void of shelter and breeding grounds for fish.  No kelp means no fish, no carbon sequestration, no jobs.

At Urchinomics, we are passionate about harnessing the power of the natural world to help reverse some of the negative ecological and economic impacts  we are seeing today. This has driven us to develop a system to help the kelp forest ecosystems heal, which had previously collapsed due to overgrazing sea urchins.  By understanding and developing new economic incentives, we can remove overgrazing sea urchins and turn them into a luxury gourmet seafood product, help restore kelp forests, encourage fish and marine biodiversity, sequester CO2 and create meaningful full-time jobs in rural communities, whilst providing profitable opportunities for those communities and partners.

A final thought: I believe many of our global challenges we face today are caused by poor incentives. My goal with Urchinomics is to prove that, when incentives are properly aligned, and the spirit of human innovation is unleashed, ecological restoration, social development and company profits can be achieved hand-in-hand.

 

 
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Brian Tsuyoshi Takeda