Millions clueless about 'blue carbon' - which could aid battle against global warming

It could be a major weapon in the ongoing battle against global warming – but most people have never heard of ‘blue carbon’, according to research. More carbon is stored in coastal and marine marshes and seagrass meadows than in the world’s rainforests. But 92 per cent of UK seagrass meadows, which provide habitats for endangered species, promote flood resilience and help fight coastal erosion, have vanished over the last century. Seagrass beds, found in sheltered areas such as harbours and lagoons, are home to fish, snails, periwinkles, seahorses and jellyfish. The study of 1,000 parents with primary school children, carried out by Zurich Municipal, found almost seven in 10 (69 per cent) had never heard of the term ‘blue carbon’ and 55 per cent don’t know what seagrass is. The OnePoll research also reveals 58 per cent of primary school parents want to see sustainability on the national curriculum. They believe children need to learn more about climate change. Although it is currently in the curriculum, it features across a range of subjects - not in its entirety. Now insurers Zurich have teamed up with TV presenter, Paralympic medallist and climate champion Ade Adepitan to launch the children’s book ‘The Secret Garden Under The Sea’ [] to raise awareness about seagrass and sustainability, and help parents and their children to learn about climate change and marine eco-systems. The book, which is available to download for free as an ebook or audio, tells the story of Seanna the Seahorse and her friends living in the sea. It brings to life the importance of seagrass, using characters such as ‘the murky monster’ to depict pollution, and the ‘emerald sea queen. Ade said: “Primary school is a really important time to educate children about all aspects of our planet and sustainability in a positive way.” “Sustainability wasn’t something I had the privilege to learn about at school, so I feel passionately that we must take the opportunity to educate this generation to truly understand the topic." Marine Conservation Society CEO Sandy Luk said: “For the health of our planet, and to tackle the effects of a changing climate, ocean recovery is vital. “Seagrass is one example of an ocean habitat with incredible power, but few people are aware of this ocean superhero. “Education is key to ensuring the next generation understand the importance of our seas and how we can all make a difference. "We hope Seanna’s adventures in the secret garden under the sea inspire a whole new generation of ocean enthusiasts.” Zurich Municipal MD Amy Brettell said: “I’m thrilled that we can now offer such positive materials to help primary school children understand the importance and benefits of seagrass to biodiversity and our own world.” Labour MP and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Florence Eshalomi said: “It’s great to see public figures like Ade and businesses like Zurich working with schools to provide valuable resources that positively raise awareness with children of our marine habitats and their role in protecting the environment.”