“You and the planet: oceans” is part of a series delivered by The Royal Society. Joined by two biologists, Diva Amon and Richard Thompson; Jahawi Bertolli, a professional wildlife film-maker; and Angela Hatton, a representative from the management team at the National Oceanography Center, this discussion is held to make the public aware of the true extent of issues concerning the oceans, and to educate us on what we should and can do to help the oceans recover. Here, I summarise a few main points from the session.
The effects of climate change have escalated the need for novel technologies to manufacture biofuels, construction materials, and consumer goods. Many of these green solutions use plant material as starting products which require land for non-food crops. As the population increases, and as climate changes reduces available arable land, use of non-food crops will become infeasible (1). The potential to grow plant material in the lab would circumvent these issues and provide a useful, practical, and environmentally friendly source of starting materials in various industries. Wood is used for example in furniture production, construction work, and as a feedstock for fuels (2).