Why is Aquaponics sustainable? Debate Article

3) a. Debate article “Aquaponics”

We agree with the assumption that all of the different ways in which the environment is communicated within societies, depending on where in the world you live, affects the decisions and the way you look at the environmental problems. One important example of this is the idea that “environment” in the Western world represents material that is separated from society and humans. Our group strongly believes that this view of nature held by much of the Western world today is inherently wrong. It is this view that leads us to destroy and attempt to control nature in which ever ways we see fit.[1]

However, our group also strongly believes that something can and should be done about this. There are many solutions out there. There are projects, individuals, groups and techniques all aimed toward attacking current stereotypes and systems and replacing them with methods and working structures that are less destructive and more sustainable and holistic.[2] One such method/structure is that of Aquaponics.

Aquaponics “is the process of combining aquaculture with hydroponics for mutual benefit. The plants benefit from the nutrient-rich water supplied by the fish. The fish benefit from the nutrient breakdown and removal activity of the plants and plant beds, providing them with clean water.[3] Current agricultural practices have become extremely dependent on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, the use of fresh water for irrigation and the overuse and subsequent degradation of land for the production of crops[4].

Aquaponics fits in the solution category because it can be created as essentially a closed loop system with very few external inputs and outputs. Aquaponics is a type of biomimicracy where we use patterns found in the natural world and mimic them as to have a lesser negative impact on our surrounding natural environment and to work with it as opposed to harming it. Aquaponics is a great solution because it can be done by nearly everyone and on a variety of spatial scales. At the household level, aquaponics is a healthy, sustainable and fun activity for children and parents to do together and it is basically self maintained. It can also be taken to an educational level and be used in schools across the world as a learning tool. Additionally it could be used on an even larger scale on community farms and places of that nature to produce a greater amount of food. We believe it is extremely important to spread the word about this system because at this point in time relatively few people are aware of its existence let alone its endless opportunities. It can be cheap or expensive, big or small, complex or done in a day, and it still contributes to helping the environment. In the long run, it will also inspire others, who will inspire even more individuals to follow. Those who decide to jump on the aquaponics band wagon so to speak will in essence turn themselves into a “Change Agent” who inspires others to make positive changes in their own lives.[5] You do not have to convince people into using this system by talking about all of the scientific stuff, because many of the mainstream people will not understand, or will simply not care. But with a system that is as simple and fun as aquaponics, you can easily get a number of people interested in trying it out. Using drawing techniques to describe the system is one easy and fun way to do just that. [6]

You may think that it is still easier to just continue doing what you do in your garden. Why build something new? We can see that it seems unnecessary to build a whole new system and having to buy fishes and new plants. There is a risk that the system will not work perfectly right from the beginning, but with a little patience it will. Our argument for giving this a chance is that if you want to do something good for the environment and maybe even your family, this is one of the easiest ways to do that.

We would encourage everyone to try this system out in a small scale and then expand it. You will do something good for the environment, and we believe that all of those small actions contribute to a bigger scale change. We also believe that friends and visitors will get interested in trying the same thing. If you do already have a goldfish at home, why don’t try to plant something beside that bowl? Our question is, why not when it is really this simple? Do not miss out on something as fun as this!


AtKisson, Alan (1999), Believing Cassandra - an optimist looks at a pessimist’s world, Chelsea Green Publishing Company

Childress, VW 2002, 'Promising Alternatives in Agri-technology: Aquaponics', Technology Teacher, 62, 4, p. 17, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 April 2012

Graber, A 2009, ‘Aquaponic Systems: Nutrient recycling from fish wastewater by vegetable production’, Desalination, 246, 1, p. 147, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost,

Johnson, C 2008, ‘Aquaponics, the wave of the future’, Countryside & Small Stock Journal, 92, 2, p. 47, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost,

Littlejohn and Foss, “Encyclopedia of Communication Theory” p.345f

Roam, Dan (2009), Back of the Napkin, Marshall Cavendish



[1]  Littlejohn and Foss, p.345f

[2] Johnson, C (2008) and Graber, A (2009)

[3] Johnson, C (2008), p.47

[4] Childress, (2002), p. 17

[5] Alan AtKisson (1999) p.169f

[6] Dan Roam (2009) p. 129f


School visits – Fredrika Bremen school


Long time, no updates! We've been working hard on the aquaponics system now, and we are glad to say that it is up and running. We've overcame some obstacles that we had during the building process and now it works just fine!

We had a class (fourth graders) that visits us every wednesday, and at the time, they have been there two times, and we've got two to go. The first time they were there, we had an activity for them to learn the basic english (because they are swedish speaking, and the language can be kind of hard for them). They learned the basic words and parts on the system as well as looking at PH and learning about ecosystems in general.

Second visit, we had a scavanger hunt prepared for the kids. We made clues which they had to find in different places around the Botanical Garden. This was something that they appriciated a lot. Lucky Day! AND, for once, we remembered to take pictures! These will be published soon.

THURSDAY, AT BLÅSENHUS! Every half hour, we will have a tour down to Botaniska to see this amazing system live with your own eyes. Be there! To read more about the event, click here:!/events/185383388250207/

We’re Building… And Growing Too!

Exciting news Uppsala Aquaponics is officially under construction!

This week we finally got all the materials to build our aquaponics system, stay tuned for photos of our DIY aquaponics journey to see how simple building a sustainable food system in your backyard could be!

Despite a cold and snowy weekend our plants are doing well, in their egg carton sprouting beds. When the weather consistently stays around 10-15 degrees during the day and doesn't go below 0, or ideally 5 degrees, at night we'll know it's safe to plant them in our grow bed.

That's all for now folks!