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The Miracle Autotroph

on February 15, 2012

We’ve all heard the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Now, there are two types of people that are going to have two very different responses to this statement. Type 1: They don’t like change and when they find something that works, they stick with it until it doesn’t—and sometimes they stick with it even after its broken. Type 2: They look for new solutions to old problems. And then they anticipate problems and find solutions for them. The second types forge ahead with new innovations and are the movers and shakers of this world.

Unfortunately, the folks with the money *cough, cough, politicians, cough, cough* are like the first type.

So where am I going with this? I’ll tell you: Algae.

It turns out that while these Type 1 people have been creating policies and entire industries that pour billions of dollars into a soon-to-be-extinct oil industry, there is a miracle organism just waiting to be utilized! Ok, so developing algae was a pet project for a little while as an alternative energy source and fizzled out. BUT researchers have found another way to utilize this miracle autotroph: FOOD!

Apparently, algae contains omega-3 fatty acids and is an immense source of protein, both of which are essential for human survival. With today’s growing trends of vegetarian and vegan eating, algae could supply the demand for environmentally friendly [and animal friendly] protein. Right now, soy is a popular vegetarian alternative, but algae is actually 70% higher in protein content. It also doesn’t require nearly as many resources. In fact, algae is “about 30 times more productive than soy (and 50 times more productive than corn), but requires only 1 percent as much fresh water.” If we’re worried about the production impact that this new energy could have, it really seems like it would be essentially carbon-neutral to produce, since algae feeds on carbon. So this algae business actually seems pretty legit!

Here’s the kicker: as with any new innovation, it’s going to take millions of dollars [THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING PUMPED INTO THE OIL INDUSTRY] to get the public on board and get production up to a level that it can actually become a viable alternative.

But as far as I’m concerned, this whole algae thing is worth a shot!




One response to “The Miracle Autotroph

  1. Sheri Snyder says:

    Um… does it come in red?

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