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“Until the late 1950’s, agriculture constituted Puerto Rico’s main economic sector. Sugarcane, mostly for export to the American market, was the main crop, followed by coffee and tobacco.”(1) In the late 1940’s Puerto Rico’s economy started to shift from agriculture to manufacturing and tourism. “In 1993, President Clinton aimed to cut the Section 936 of the U.S. tax code. It is estimated that 100,000 Puerto Ricans were employed by companies operating under Section 936.” (1) This slowly led to present day Puerto Rico having an unemployment rate of 10.1%, which is over 1 million people, whereas the U.S. mainland has an unemployment rate of 4.1%. With the high unemployment rate,  Puerto Rico debt kept increasing to what is now over 73 billion dollars. This is only a fraction of the over 20 trillion dollars of U.S. debt.In present day, “Hurricane Maria wiped out about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico.”(2) Even though the people of Puerto Rico grow crops, they import about 85% of their food. This is because of all of the hurricanes and thunderstorms constantly changing the soil. Puerto Rico has an average soil ph level of 5.5. The ph scale lists “7” as neutral, while everything below is acidic and everything above is alkaline/basic. This means that Puerto Rico has acidic ph levels. Having acidic soil can seem hard to grow crops, but in reality, there are so many options of crops that thrive in acidic ph levels. In addition to this, there are even more possibilities if the Puerto Rican people can choose what type of soil they want. So, how is this possible?  “Rain leaches alkaline elements including calcium, magnesium and potassium from the soil into runoff water, leaving acidic elements like hydrogen, aluminum and manganese to replace the bases. This means that areas with high annual rainfall amounts, such as parts of New England, generally have more acidic soil than the arid deserts of Arizona.”(11) With that, New England’s annual rainfall is 400.05mm/15.75 inches. “Puerto Rico is an island that enjoys a warm and humid tropical climate. It has an average annual temperature of 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) and with rain well distributed throughout the year. The wet season takes place from May to October and the wettest month is August. On the northern coast you will find the most rain of the island with over 1550 mm per year, while the south coast has an annual average rainfall of 910 mm. The mountains receive a lot more rainfall, between 3000 and 4000 mm annually. Hurricanes can arrive on the island between August and November.”(12) “Acidic soils cause significant losses in production. In pastures grown on acidic soils, production will be reduced.”(14) With Puerto Rico having acidic soil, it would seem that there would be no way for them to grow crops. On the contrary, there are many different options of crops for acidic soil. The selection then becomes slimmer as you consider the needed ph level of the soil, climate, and any special condition needed to grow the crops. Some crops that could grow with the soil and climate conditions of Puerto Rico include: corn, cucumbers, peanuts, peppers, and tomatoes.Puerto Rico can go in so many different directions with their acidic soil, and if they were able to raise soil ph levels it would only increase the amount of different options. Also, it would create so many new job opportunities for their people.   So the question is, how can we control the soil ph levels?  The answer includes turtles and chickens. In other words, calcium hydroxide. Commonwealth Natural Resources monitors beaches all across Puerto Rico. “They documented a record 2,013 turtle nests in 2014 and expect 2016 to be very active because nesting activity surges every other year”. (5) There are many turtle nesting sites in Puerto Rico. With that, there are many different types of sea turtles. Looking at only one species of turtle, the Leatherback Sea Turtle,  it has an average clutch that contains 110 eggs, and has an average of 2 – 8 nests in one season. The average size of a sea turtle egg shell is 5.74 grams. About 60% of a sea turtle egg is calcium carbonate. This means that one individual egg shell contains 3.444 grams of calcium carbonate, whereas an average chicken egg shell is 6.27 grams. About 95% of a chicken egg shell contains calcium carbonate. This means that one individual chicken egg shell contains 5.9565 grams of calcium carbonate. Two hundred chicken egg shells equal about two pounds of calcium carbonate. After converting the calcium carbonate into calcium oxide it would be converted to calcium hydroxide. Many gardeners use limestone for their soil to help raise ph levels and help plants thrive. There are some problems with this:  limestone is expensive and often is a hit or miss for gardening. What is it though, that makes limestone raise ph levels? Limestone contains a molecule compound called calcium hydroxide that helps raise ph levels. To get calcium hydroxide is very easy. You just need some chemicals and calcium oxide. So, how do we get calcium oxide? Calcium carbonate in a powder state with chemicals can create calcium oxide. Now, where to get calcium carbonate? Large quantities of calcium carbonate can be found in chicken and sea turtle egg shells. Puerto Rico has many sea turtle sites and they raise many chickens. All of those leftover egg shells are just tossed away as trash, but they can save Puerto Rico. They would need people to collect all of the egg shells, manage machines, and convert the calcium carbonate to calcium hydroxide. There would need to be a lot of people to work, which means there would be a lot of new jobs for the people of Puerto Rico. Also, with the soil being able to grow much more food, there would be more jobs in the agricultural job field. With the sudden growth of home grown crops, Puerto Rico could reduce the amount of food they import, saving them lots of money to start reducing their debt and help their people in their time of need.

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