When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, it showed just how powerless waterfront cities are against the elements. In the years since, NYC has investigated how to protect its coasts for a future when storms are only expected to get worse. Strategies include raising shorelines , restoring wetlands , lowering emissions that contribute to climate change, and…introducing more oysters? Yep, beyond being a decadent appetizer, the almighty oyster can help coastal areas negate the effects of climate change. The Billion Oyster Project , a nonprofit based on Governors Island, just south of Manhattan, is on a mission to strengthen and repair New York’s notoriously dirty waterways by introducing 1 billion live oysters back into the ecosystem by 2035. Over 75 NYC restaurants have agreed to donate their empty oyster shells to the nonprofit instead of just tossing them out after service. The Billion Oyster Project now brings about 8,000 pounds of discarded shells to their island home base every week. "We just had a big shell dump earlier this morning," Helene Hetrick, the team’s communications manager, tells me over the phone. Before being returned to the ocean, this mountain of shells has to stay on land for […]

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