Note to Readers


The Azolla Story begins with ‘Imagine’ to tell you a little bit about a unique plant called azolla and how it can help all of us. The story is then split into the Past, the Present and the Future as you join a father and daughter on their quest to learn about azolla and its amazing potential.


The Azolla Story begins with ‘Imagine’ to tell you a little bit about a unique plant called azolla and how it can help all of us. The story is then split into the Past, the Present and the Future

The Past transports you back in time to an amazing event that occurred 49 million years ago when azolla covered large areas of a warm Arctic Ocean and moved the climate from a greenhouse world towards today’s icehouse planet with its frozen poles. azolla was able to do that because it represents the third major evolution jump since life began on our planet  a unique superorganism that can reduce today’s threat of climate change and overcome many of the problems faced by the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). It shows us how we can use the past to understand the present and use that knowledge to shape our future.

It’s a rollercoaster ride as we travel backwards and forwards in time, sometimes with a lot of detail, but we needed to document the science behind the words, so skip those parts if you like and maybe re-visit them later. It’s your book to read any way you like, in any order, or just read those bits that interest you.


The Present describes a Perfect Storm that we all face as our population increases by more than a million people every three days – a multifaceted threat at this pivotal moment in our human journey. Will we weather the Storm and realize our amazing potential, and how can we do that? This is one of the most important moments in human history because the decisions we make today will affect future generations of our children and those of many other species that share our beautiful world.

The Present then shows the many ways in which azolla can help us weather the Storm and reconnect with the natural world, turning a problem into an opportunity as we see the dark cloud’s silver lining. It describes how azolla can mitigate each of the Storm’s threats, then takes us to different parts of the world including India where azolla is revered as a wonder plant, transforming the lives of smallholder farmers for less than 70 rupees (one US dollar) a year, and to Ecuador where it can save the country more than a billion dollars a year and protect the country’s precious ecosystems.

We then travel to Sierra Leone where azolla’s use as a biofertilizer in rice paddies doubles the yield of rice, prevents deforestation and provides the country’s Ebola Orphans with a sustainable source of food, money to build their schools and a future filled with hope. We see how azolla can slow the move into cities across Africa and the world, letting people stay in their communities so that people can maintain a connection with their roots instead of migrating thousands of miles, or eking out a bleak existence in shanty towns, favelas or Nigeria’s Makoko – the world’s largest floating slum.

The story then takes us into space where azolla can be used in closed-loop life support systems (CLLS), providing food, recycled oxygen and purified water that are essential as we travel from our home planet to explore other worlds.

Back on Earth, the Azolla Biosystem, which is described in the book, grows azolla anywhere in the world. The highly flexible, modular biosystem sequesters CO2 for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or converts the greenhouse gas into a local source of renewable food, livestock feed, biofertilizer, biofuel and high-value pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

But azolla can do more. Azolla Hubs that house the Biosystem increase urban agriculture in the world’s growing megacities and help connect their inhabitants with nature through living, green arteries – a wonder plant that can do so much.


The Future finally transports you a hundred years from now as you look back at events of the past century – a future that is bright with optimism and one that we can all attain with azolla’s help.

If you like, you can jump straight to the Present or the Future and then travel backwards and forwards in time to whatever interests you, but at some point we hope you will read a message from the future:

We are beginning an incredible journey of exploration and discovery, providing we survive the next few years and weather a Perfect Storm that threatens us all. We can do that with azolla’s help – a friend and ally at this crucial time in our human journey.

All we have to do is say yes, let’s do it together.

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All images credited to: Victor Leshyk
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