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A story we’re lichen.

With a Little Kelp from our Friends is a beautifully illustrated exploration of the planet’s most amazing algae: seaweed

Apr 27, 2021


Words: The Don

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I’ve just read a book!

What’s more, it’s a very good book. Once I had started I couldn’t stop until I had read the most fantastic and thorough story of the sea and its weeds. Now I know so much more about something — seaweed — that covers more than 70% of our planet!

Through With a Little Kelp from our Friends, talented writer and pal of Gippslandia (you can read his piece on FLOAT in #12) Mathew Bate explains the contribution of seaweed to making Earth habitable, how it functions, what it can provide us and, importantly, how we endanger this amazing resource and how we can assist it.

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The sea is vital to our lives and this wonderful volume explains the complexity and vitality of the sea in a very friendly and beautifully illustrated manner that enables the reader to absorb all the layers of information.

For instance, did you know that seaborne cyanobacteria created the oxygen that we all depend on, and that these bacteria evolved into seaweed, with over 10,000 different types adapting to different conditions depending on the temperature and light of their environment?!

In Australia, we’re aware of the dire problems our coral populations are facing, be they chemicals in run-off or the warming of the sea. But human-induced climate change has almost entirely destroyed Tasmania’s giant kelp forests too.

After depicting the many ways cultures around the world utilise seaweed, Mathew deftly shifts to illuminating a range of ways we could collectively help our continued life on this fragile ‘Blue Marble’. It’s a fantastic guide to positive habitation and building a ‘seaweed world’, which shines light on a better future for us all! The stunning illustrations really bring this vision to life.

This wonderful book is endorsed by renowned environmentalist Tim Flannery and provides a very accessible introduction to systems thinking and interrelated dependence that we can all enjoy reading.

With a Little Kelp From Our Friends is an excellent purchase for every parent looking to give their children a positive attitude to our environment. It will also inspire us older readers to believe there is a long-term future through positive action, such as the exemplary ideas provided here.

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Check out With a Little Kelp From Our Friends by Mathew Bate and illustrated by Liz Rowland.

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Gippslandia - Issue No. 18

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