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NEWS > Alumnae News > The Seaweed Diet That Can Save the World

The Seaweed Diet That Can Save the World

Sustainability entrepreneur Vivienne Hay, Class of 2010, is passionate about combating climate change. Last week in a Senior Café Talk she told pupils about an exciting breakthrough she's working on.

Vivienne, who currently lives in San Francisco, took Physics, Maths and Chemistry A levels at LEH. After graduating from LEH 12 years ago, she studied astrophysics and bio physics at Yale University and undertook a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford. Having spent time as a management consultant at McKinsey in New York, she returned to a more hands-on role two years ago, as Vice President of Product at Blue Ocean Barns.

Blue Ocean Barns has come up with an innovative natural solution to drastically reduce the amount of methane produced by cattle. Methane is a green-house gas that is 25-75 times as powerful as carbon dioxide and is the biggest unsolved mystery to combating climate change.

In a rare win-win-win for the planet, Blue Ocean Barns has developed the most effective burp suppressant for cows made from Brominata, a special seaweed supplement that allows cows to retain more energy from their feed instead of burping it into the atmosphere.

Vivienne explains: “Adding just a handful of this seaweed to cows usual feed can have a massive impact, cutting their methane emissions by up to 80%.  That’s the equivalent to three tons of carbon dioxide a year, which is the same as taking a car off the road.  When you think that there are 100 million cattle in the US, that’s a huge impact.”

With responsibility for the formulation of the product and for working with partners to develop on-farm demos to feed the seaweed to cows, Vivienne is fulfilling a childhood dream.  “When I was a growing up, I always wanted to be an inventor, but I never imagined that I would one day by an inventor of a proprietary method of growing seaweed!”

Early on in her career, Vivienne felt drawn to working in agriculture.  She says: “There are a billion people who go to bed hungry every night. Most of those are farmers and most of them are the very people who are going to be hardest hit by climate change.  So, I felt passionately that I wanted to help that group out.”

Vivienne gave pupils a fascinating insight into how she had ended up with her perfect job and finished by telling them: “So much has happened and so much has changed since I left LEH, and there’s still loads to learn.  I’m really glad to share some of my experiences with you. I hope that it inspires you to create the career of your dreams too.”

Blue Ocean Barns is offering a 2-4 week summer internship to LEH girls and alumnae.  Reach out to Vivienne at viv@blueoceanbarns.com with any questions or to apply.  Click on these links to read more about Blue Ocean Barns, their product and their customer partnerships

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