In our world today, conservation of limited resources is very important. It is crucial to assure we produce and put products back into the world at the same rate.


In our world today, conservation of limited resources is very important. It is crucial to
assure we produce and put products back into the world at the same rate. Oysters are one
resource that we are using much faster than we can produce. The mollusks are most commonly
found in ocean water and bays. Another heavily used resource is limestone, which is commonly
found in ocean areas, often covered by sedimentary rock. Limestone is commonly used for
homes, as it is a very sturdy stone. When limestone is removed from its location, it creates huge
amounts of dust that negatively impacts surrounding habitats. This affects Goal 12 of responsible
consumption and production because if we consume each of these products at an extremely rapid
rate, it will negatively impact habitats and the organisms living there. Despite these resources
being over-consumed, they both are heavily relied upon in the environment. If we can find a way
to produce and consume oysters and limestone at a consistent rate, it would benefit the
environment.
Oysters are the keystone species of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. They filter water and
keep pollutants at a manageable level without them the whole ecosystem declines. People have
been overfishing oysters and as a result, the bay is now incredibly unstable. In particular,
nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment levels have increased, which has led to the decline in the
population of many other species. There is no clear solution for substitutes for market demand,
so we must try to find more sustainable production methods, along with ways of restoring the
bay. One production method that is restorable is oyster farming. In this, all oysters harvested
were placed there by the farmers, so there is no negative consequence to the environment.
Farming oysters in the bay will only increase populations. Another way the environment is being
returned to its original state is artificial oyster reefs with cement oyster reef balls. These are
concrete balls that are placed in the water to provide habitats for other living organisms.
Artificial reefs can also be created with discarded oyster shells, which tend to go to waste
currently. These reefs, while not natural, provide habitat to spat, or baby oysters, and help return
the bay to homeostasis. The overharvesting of oysters has negatively impacted the environment,
as has the overproduction of limestone.
Over mining limestone is a huge issue in the Serra de Aire and Candeeiros. These
mountains occupy two-thirds of the limestone in Portugal. Limestone is essential to the
environment because they act as aquifers, which helps lead groundwater to the nearest body of
water. The rocks are also made up of mostly calcium carbonate, that enters the groundwater as
runoff. The high amount of calcium carbonate motivates people to mine limestone for concrete
cement, not only for its precious gemstones. The excavation of limestone in Serra de Aire and
Candeeiros is important at an economic level as well, because it provides lots of jobs to the
population of the region. However, the over mining of limestone leads to environmental impacts
such as the degradation of the air quality since it creates large amounts of carbon dioxide, dust,
and noise due to drilling, which causes public health issues like respiratory problems, ophthalmic
problems, and allergies. In turn , dust contributes to the destruction of many natural habitats for
local species and prevents the development of flora, while noise causes migration of some
species of the fauna. Quarrying limestone can also cause many other disruptions in the
environment such as polluting the area with contaminants by introducing toxic chemicals.
Because there is a limited amount of limestone, removing large amounts during frequent
quarrying and mining operations is irresponsible consumption. Since groundwater can easily get
polluted, miners need to be more aware during operations and careful to not contaminate the area
by using the least toxic products, fixing leaks immediately, and storing wastes separately to reuse
later. Mining must be moderate to prevent limestone drain. Considering our goal, Goal 12, which
is to ensure sustainable consumption and production, limestone needs to be quarried responsibly
because it is limited, it benefits the ecosystem, and can have negative impacts if quarried too
frequent.
Oysters are a great example of how we use Goal 12 to sustain consumption and
production responsibly. ‘ Oyster shells can supplant limestone as a source of calcium carbonate,
which is a common ingredient in cement and can be used to treat wastewater. Most of the
world’s calcium carbonate comes from limestone mining, which the researchers describe as
“ecologically harmful and unsustainable.”’ (Cimons M., July 19, 2017) We can use oysters
efficiently by building oyster reefs, making new cement, spreading it on farmers’ fields to
control soil acidity, and even feeding hens crushed shells as a calcium supplement. An oyster
farmer, Kevin Boyle, from Shorething LLC found a method on his farm to build new oyster reefs
by recycling shells. ‘ We reuse oyster shells to grow new spat “baby oysters”. So by us reusing
oyster shells and putting them back in the water, instead of the trash, gives new baby oysters a
place to attach and grow.’ (Boyle, K., Feb 21, 2018, personal interview) If we can recycle oyster
shells, then the consumption and production will be equally sustainable.
Limestone and oysters are both influential factors in their respective ecosystems. Oysters
purify the water in the Chesapeake Bay. Limestone makes oyster shells rich with calcium
carbonate. Both of these resources are heavily relied on, but both are being over consumed. In
order to prevent this, we need to create a sustainable consumption and production method to save
these resources. To help the overproduction of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.
Overall, we need to protect and restore oysters and limestones or ecosystems will get
demolished.

 

Alunos envolvidos no projeto: Allison Chan; Alison Miller; Hanshika Biswas; Julia O’Beirne; Matt Miller,; Miguel Pedro; Renata Silva

Escola: Externato Cooperativo da Benedita

Data: 06.04.2018

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