Experts estimate that the global population will reach nine billion by 2050. Our oceans are in trouble now, but by 2050 our oceans are expected to be essentially fish-free. Over 40% of the earth’s land has already been cleared for agriculture, and this agriculture uses most of the potable water on the planet for irrigation. Continuing our current approach to agriculture suggests a much worse picture by 2050. Further, if nothing substantive changes, energy will be in critically short supply by 2050 if not well before. All of this adds up to the specter of extremely stressed world-wide food resources. To overcome these macabre challenges, we will need to embrace those who are willing to explore out-of-the-box solutions to this looming crisis. The creative innovators that find the solutions we need will be the heroes of our future.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the chance to work with two educational groups in Boulder to advance the notion that aquaponics is part of the future of food: Naropa University (last week’s post – Buddhists in the Bathtub) and the subject of this week’s post: the group Earth Guardians. Perhaps some of the inspired minds we need are among the young members of these two groups.

The mission of Earth Guardians is “In recognizing the need for young people to connect with nature and to learn to care for the earth, the mission of Earth Guardians is to educate and assist youth in becoming active caretakers of our precious earth, and to empower them in becoming outspoken environmental leaders, both locally and globally.” Wow. That’s the kind of community activism we are going to need to save our earth and our species.

About 16 members of this impressive group arrived around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, accompanied by 8 adults. They ranged in age from about 4 to 16 years old. We started with a ten minute discussion about ‘What is Aquaponics‘, and then took turns going through the greenhouse and feeding the fish. They were a delightful, engaged group of kids and adults. Two of the older boys planned to spend the rest of their weekend designing an aquarium style aquaponics system. One of the fathers has a sustainable home building business and wants to talk further about integrating AquaBundance into his designs.

I encourage you to take a look at the Earth Guardian website, learn more about them, and see if such an organizational model might work in your own community. It is through the children that our world will be saved.