Climate Champ–Farwiza Farhan, The Oxygen Project, Youth Climate Champ Vasser Seydel, Youth4climate Web Series

by | Oct 7, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Meet climate champion, Farwiza Farhan, plus the Oxygen Project protects O2-makers In the Most unlikely place. It’s youth climate champion Vasser Seydel, and the Youth4climate web series.



Now that the extractive industries (mining) are out of favor terrestrially (on land), they’re trying to take mining technology down a level—the seabed level that is. Their argument is there may be precious and rare minerals under the seabed necessary for the manufacture of today’s electronics. After all, in Cold War 2.0, you can’t put all your eggs into the Chinese basket, can you?

Seabed mining is purposely not on most people’s radar. In fact, without having attended the WECAN Global Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice last week, and listening to a powerful presentation by Vasser Seydel, The Climate Daily might not have ever heard of it.

Vasser Seydel is Deep-Sea Mining Campaign Manager for The Oxygen Project. It was founded in 2017 to raise awareness and defend the ecosystems that produce the planet’s oxygen. And what are those ecosystems, and where do they exist? Phytoplankton.

According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Phytoplankton are microscopic marine algae. What’s more, phytoplankton is the base of several aquatic food webs. … Phytoplankton, also known as microalgae, are similar to terrestrial plants in that they contain chlorophyll and require sunlight in order to live and grow.

So why does preserving phytoplankton matter to us? Through photosynthesis, phytoplankton use sunlight, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and water to produce oxygen and nutrients for other organisms. With 71% of the Earth covered by the ocean, phytoplankton are responsible for producing up to 50% of the oxygen we breathe. 50%.

A UN body called the International Seabed Authority is responsible for governing and protecting the deep seabed on behalf of all humans. However, since 2001, the ISA has granted 30 exploration licenses for contractors to explore mineral wealth byond national jurisdictions in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Seabed mining disrupts and potentially kills phytoplankton at a phenomenal rate. The Oxygen Project’s Stop Seabed Mining campaign is simple. Slide on over to their website and sign the petition. #defendthedeep

DEEPER DIVE: O2Project, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition,Mongabay



The Climate Daily first met Vasser Seydel last week at the WECAN virtual Global Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice. There she gave a forceful presentation arguing against deep seabed mining. Currently, Seydel is the Deep Seabed Mining Campaign Director for the Oxygen Project, but this is not her first climate rodeo. In fact, for Vasser, you could say saving the climate is a family business.

She’s the daughter of Rutherford Seydel, who was a director and chairman of The Conservation Fund. He and his wife, Laura Turner Seydel co-founded the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Fund. He’s also a member of the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University, and on the Advisory Board of the National Parks and Conservation Association.

But enough about him. Let’s put the spotlight back on Vasser. Prior to her role at the Oxygen Project, she was the Grants and Engagement Director at the University of Georgia’s Office of Sustainability where she managed both the Odum Sustainability and Campus Sustainability grants programs. She was also a Sustainability Intern at Ted’s Montana Grill where she worked on that company’s corporate sustainability project.

If that weren’t enough, Vasser Seydel is also a Turner Foundation Trustee. The Turner Foundation is dedicated to protecting and restoring the natural world, safeguarding natural habitats, promoting sustainable living and advocating for a healthy world.

DEEPER DIVE: 02Project, #DeepSeaMining, LinkedIn, Mongabay



One of the powerful woman on the Daughters for Earth Advisory Board is Farwiza Farhan. She’s an Indonesian scientist who is catalyzing change to fight for the protect the Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh, Indonesia. It’s a unique region in that it’s the last place on Earth where iconic species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants, and rhinoceros still coexist in the wild. 

After receiving her PhD in Cultural Anthropology and Development, Farwiza founded HAkA, an NGO dedicated to strengthening the voice of local leaders and local organizations, but mostly to protect the Leuser Ecosystem. HAkA stands for Hutan, Alam dam Lingkungan Aceh (in English: “Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh).

Currently, the primary threats to biodiversity hotspot that is the Leuser Ecosystem are large-scale infrastructure projects, and exploitative policies that lead to deforestation. All of this to meet the global demand for commodities like timber and palm oil.

HAkA focuses in policy making, providing long-term health to the Aceh Province in three fronts: social, financial and environmental. One of the HAkA’s more recent achievements for the Leuser Ecosystem and its people was the legal victory it scored against a concessionaire for palm oil plantation. Farwiza and her team at HAkA secured $26 million USD in damage to repair the forest. 

Farhan and HAkA are a 2017 “Future for Nature” award winner.

DEEPER DIVE: Daughters for Earth, HAkA, Future for Nature