Today Shareable.net published my article about an inspiring summer jobs program that taught a group of young people how to build green infrastructure and ended up transforming one participant’s life.
The article starts:
John Williams calls himself an aquarium fanatic. “I have six tanks right now – a 125 gallon, a 55 gallon, a 30, a 16, a 29…. The 125 gallon is ridiculously huge, especially because it’s all glass,” Williams says. “I stick with fresh water. Something like 75% of the world is covered in salt water, so I find fresh water more exotic.”
Williams is 22. He lives in an apartment in Cottage Grove, Oregon, a small town about twenty miles south of Eugene. Last spring he was working as a bartender when he heard about summer jobs designing and building an aquaponics greenhouse at Aprovecho, a 40-acre center outside of Cottage Grove dedicated to researching and teaching sustainable living practices and green skills.
Aquaponics is the cultivation of fish and plants in a recirculating environment. The fish waste flows to the plants and fertilizes them, and in turn the plants clean the water, which returns to the fish. Aquaponics is gaining in popularity in green circles in the United States, because it makes it possible to grow a lot of food – both fish and vegetables – quickly.
In a recent New York Times article, Micheal Tortorello wrote, “There is something about aquaponics that seems to inspire this quirky blend of entrepreneurialism, environmentalism and survivalism.”
That certainly seems to describe Williams, who fears that climate change will devestate the water supply. He immediately signed on for the Aprovecho summer jobs program. “It was right up my alley,” he says of the opportunity to help build an aquaponics greenhouse just a few miles from his home.
You can read the rest of the article here.