NEADC General Meeting Remote Lecture

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August 17th, 2022, 6:30 pm.
Greg Stone - Ocean Renaissance

Greg is originally a Boston boy, and worked at the NEAQ for many years. He has also been diving all over the world.

Learn about Greg's many years doing expeditionary work, including some 7-8 National Geographic expeditions (including diving in Antarctica) and creating big marine protected areas in the South Pacific. Greg will also will cover work he did as chief scientist for Conservation International and his specialty, the Pacific Islands.

In addition, he will talk about his current project that in many ways brings together a lot of his previous expeditionary, deep sea and practicle conservation, “new realism." Now, the need to transition to a renewable energy world is essential for our civilization but it will require 600-1000% increase in demand for many metals. The negative impact of mining for those materials on land is not being considered by many, but there are some possible alternatives. One option is to gather rocks from a small portion of the seabed that can supply enough metal to meet those needs over the course of several decades. Many possible sites for terrestrial mines are beneath tropical rainforests in developing countries and where mining will cause catastrophic damage to the forests and the wildlife that inhabits them. While there are many types of mining, collecting these high grade loose lying nodules from a small part of the sea floor may offer a less damaging alternative.

Dr. Greg Stone is the Chief Ocean Scientist for The Metals Company (TMC) and cofounder and chair of the non-profit organization Pole to Pole Conservation. At TMC he works to find the least environmentally harmful way — in a planetary context — to provide minerals needed for the global transition to renewable energy. His work to date indicates that collecting loose lying potato-sized polymetallic nodules from the bottom of the seafloor in a relatively small portion of the deep sea about 1,000 miles offshore produces less CO2, has near -zero waste and is potentially less harmful to people and biodiversity than extraction from land sources. Society stands at an existential moment history due to rapid climate change. The decisions we make today will have implications for thousands of years on the habitability of earth for humans. While we have come to accept that climate change is happening and is caused by industrial activity, we have yet to incorporate the environmental costs of transitioning to renewable energy in the form of massive batteries to power electric vehicles, homes and cities; construct wind turbines, solar collectors and more. The cost is an increase in demand (estimated 600-1,000%) for key base metals like nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese for the next several decades until we have enough in circulation to create a closed loop metal economy/life cycle. Metallic atoms can be recycled an infinite number of times. The decision before us is where and how, from a planetary point of view, we should obtain these metals. One can argue we are leaving the age of oil and entering the age of metals. We know with certainty, from thousands of years of emphatical data (history) what the impact on the earth and people will be if we dig these metals out of the earth’s continental crusts. Greg works with leading scientists from all over the world to understand and narrow the impacts of collecting polymetallic nodules, which appear to be part of the material solution to construct the infrastructure for a world powered by non-polluting renewable energy.

September 21th, 2022, 6:30 pm.


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