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Southampton's North Sea Beach goes “carbon negative”

Olivine sand.
Corwin Hee
Wikipedia Commons
Olivine sand is being used to fight ocean acidification and climate change at Southampton’s North Sea Beach.

On Long Island, Southampton’s North Sea Beach is the world's newest “carbon negative” beach.

Olivine sand was added to the shoreline to remove carbon dioxide from the air. If successful, this could help fight ocean acidification and greenhouse gas emissions.

Vesta is the company paying for the olivine sand. Its CEO, Tom Green, said the process — called coastal carbon capture — could be replicated worldwide due to an abundance of the ingredients.

“The mineral that we use is called olivine,” Green said. “It’s a natural mineral. And it’s actually one of the most abundant minerals on the planet. It makes up 50% of the Earth’s upper mantle and it’s found in deposits all over the world.”

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he’s glad Southampton is able to play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ocean acidification.

“We’re doing what we can on a local level," he said, "and to be part of a project that could have international possibilities in terms of scalability, it’s exciting.”

Researchers from Stony Brook University and Cornell University will collect and analyze data from North Sea Beach over the next two years. They said the olivine sand would not impact beach use or wildlife.

The project was made possible by a partnership between First Coastal Corporation, Vesta and the North Sea Beach Colony.

Molly is a reporter covering Fairfield County. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.