The world has changed dramatically and for many detrimentally in the last 2 years with tremendously little left in it to inspire hope.
A global super virus that remains prevalent havocs the present, and our incipient doom owing to a climate crisis of our own creation ensures that the future will be full of even worse discouragement and dread.
Against this perpetual gloom one inevitably questions their own purpose? Is there any point to carry on doing the work I am doing?
In the grander scheme of things will it achieve anything? And for me personally, asan oyster reef restoration officer, this means is there any point to continue my efforts inoyster reef restoration?
Oysters are a notoriously difficult animal to restore. They are extremely sensitive to environmental changes and their environment has changed so fundamentally in Galway Bay that any meaningful reef
restoration is conceivably impossible without major habitat recovery work.
At times you find yourself holding on to a fantasy, reading the old accounts of the abundance of oysters that used to exist in older days and wonder at the vastness of these marvellous reefs, but then walk the shore in discernible despair when you see that these populations are long gone. However, if you’re
lucky, this is precisely when the sea will grant you what feels like a miracle, and will look down at just the right moment and find an oyster and you will feel the excitement rise in you.
Because you have invested so much of yourself in the struggle of this animal, you understand the rarity it is to find it and this wonderful uprising happens in you where you feel genuine inspiration for this tremendously little oyster, simply hanging on. Any anxiety or turmoil you have vanishes completely in this instance of discovery. The whole world stops and instead you exist in that signal moment with the oyster.
You are manifestly different to this animal, how each of you interact with the world and how the interacts with you totally alien to each other, but the personal connection you feel to itis overwhelming, as if you are both engage against the same struggle and are allied against it together. The more times you discover the animal the more it becomes like greeting an old friend, one you have been missing desperately and to find it in good health is incredible comforting.
This voiceless, speechless, word-less oyster awakens such powerful emotion in you that it’s
value has moved beyond an animal for restoration – it provides you with assurance of not just your restoration work but also of yourself. In a time of such perceivably insurmountable gloom – the oyster inspires inme genuine hope.
This is the magic I have found in oysters, this is the excitement nature can inspire and this is the beauty which remains in the world even in these dark days, that one man can derive such joy from something so simple as an oyster.

Merry Christmas,
Alec Reid,
Oyster Reef Restoration Officer
Cuan Beo