I have always said that being born in the millennial generation has some particular qualities attached to it. I can’t speak for all of us millennials, but what I can say is that I have been imbued with dates and deadlines about things like the end of cheap oil or clean water and other such necessities for years now. It’s not so much the impending sense of doom that bothers me but rather how we respond to such information. Many times, when I find myself in conversation with my peers about climate change or the future of our planet, people will say “someone needs to…” or “the government should…” While thinking about what should be done isn’t wrong, I feel that it’s misguided to react like that. Instead I have begun to ask myself “what can I do?”

Speaking with Dr. Dorband about what the potential is for a pond, or a small plot of land has begun to open my mind to the potentials and possibilities of how technology can adjust our way of utilizing these natural assets that would otherwise go unused or worse, used unsustainably. Working with aquaponics in all its iterations and styles has been a good exercise in understanding how I can start connecting the technological assets of the 21st century, the assets of the natural world, and hopefully the mechanism of capitalism in producing greens for restaurants. While the aquaponic gardens I have set up now are small and fundamentally demonstrative, I see them as the beginnings of my contribution to a more sustainable world.

So even though I am still learning and have yet to make any sort of considerable impact on the future I have the fortune of working with these new and interesting systems as well as watching people like Ben and Sarah operate Raisin’ Roots Farm and The Pick of the Coop. I can’t help but feel like I am joining one of the most important movements of the century. Watching these two young entrepreneurs starting businesses predicated upon connecting people, planet, and profit has been very inspirational and pushes me to consider how aquaponics can continue to grow into being a profitable but still sustainable industry. In some places aquaponics has been proven to be a sustainable business, but in the coming decades it could prove to be a necessary solution for drought stricken areas and food deserts.

But until then I will continue to glue pipes together, check water levels, monitor nutrient concentrations, and carefully tend to healthy and productive growth. I also want to encourage the readers of this blog to consider not what “someone should do…” but rather “what can you do?”

Something to keep in mind…

Aquaculture and aquaponics is just good plumbing.

Steve Chang 

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