A nonprofit company called Project Vesta an experiment will begin shortly on a Caribbean beach. It is a new way to combat climate change.
The method involves spreading olivine, a cheap green mineral, over the sand. There the ocean waves will pass over the mineral, which in turn will capture CO2 from the air. In summary: green sand beaches.
"Our vision is to help reverse climate change by turning one trillion tons of carbon dioxide into rock." He states it Tom Green, executive director of Project Vesta.
The idea is to accelerate a natural process that normally takes place very slowly, in geological times. “When rain falls on volcanic rocks, those rocks dissolve a bit and a chemical reaction is triggered that pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into the water,” says Green.
Grinding olivine and then spreading it to beaches where ocean waves can further break it down triggers the same chemical reaction that extracts CO2 from the air.
Green beaches with geohacking: not without risk
Previous theoretical studies have concluded that the process would work, but so far no one has attempted to actually do it on the beaches. And it is not without risk. There are many unknowns that could derive from the spread of a rock on beaches where it does not exist naturally.
Some critics raise the possibility that olivine may release heavy metals such as nickel, for one thing.
Even though Green states that nickel released into the water is not bioavailable (meaning it shouldn't impact marine species), the doubts remain intact.
The pilot project is (also) for this. It will closely monitor the metal concentrations in the water, sand and tissues of local organisms, to fully understand all the impacts this intervention could cause.
If it works, one of the things we never thought we would see around was a green sand beach.