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Indigenous knowledge at the fore of methane reduction research

CH4 Global is developing greenhouse gas mitigation solutions in an attempt to impact climate change on a global scale, and 40 Under 40 alumni and Young South Australian of the Year Tiahni Adamnson is helping it come to life.

May 20, 2024, updated May 20, 2024
CH4 is turning seaweed into cattle feed in an attempt to reduce methane production. Photo: supplied

CH4 is turning seaweed into cattle feed in an attempt to reduce methane production. Photo: supplied

CH4 has developed an animal feed supplement created with Asparagopsis seaweed, which reduces enteric methane production by up to 90 per cent.

Lead community engagement officer for CH4 Australia and a proud descendant of Kaurareg Nations, Adamson works to ensure Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are considered in CH4’s work.

“It’s really important to look after your country,” Adamson told InDaily.

“We know that human beings have had a massive negative impact on our environment since colonisation here in Australia.

“A third of the world’s methane emissions is from cow burps and farts basically…and we feed them this seaweed product that reduces their methane output by 90 per cent.”

Adamson said the biggest barrier to CH4’s solution becoming widespread at this stage was growing the seaweed fast enough.

Tiahni Adamson is working to ensure Indigenous perspectives are considered in CH4’s work. Photo: Samuel Graves

“We have really good relationships with our farmers and with the agriculture industry…to be able to make sure that we can get this technology on the line, but we need to grow seaweed as fast as we can.”

CH4 is aiming to deliver a “Gigaton-scale climate win” by 2030, hoping to see 10 per cent of cattle worldwide – equivalent to 150 million animals – eating the product.

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CH4 said this goal, if achieved, would have a more significant climate benefit than decommissioning 50-100 million fossil-fuelled cars.

“About 10 to 12 per cent of what each cow eats is lost as methane, as a gas,” Adamson said.

“So it’s a massive loss, they’re burping and farting out 10 to 12 per cent of what they eat, and all of this is warming the environment,” Adamson said.

Adamson consults with Indigenous communities through her work, leading communications such as discussions with the Narungga nation on the Yorke Peninsula regarding the growing of Asparagopsis.

“There’s a massive conversation around First Nations justice and climate justice, and what that looks like,” she said.

“So we do our best to make sure that we provide opportunities for communities on the ground to be involved in the business, and it can be from procurement and training to more lateral projects like revegetating areas.

“We know that on this journey of working in a business that is on First Nations land, traditional lands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people all over Australia, that we need to bring everybody on board.”

Tiahni Adamson is speaking at the Australia Day Council of South Australia’s 2024 Australian of the Year Luncheon on June 21. She will be joined by joint Australians of the year Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer, as well as SA Local Hero Rachael Zaltron, SA Senior Australian of the Year Sister Meredith Evans, and SA Australian of the Year Tim Jarvis.

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