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Earthworms

Host Jean Ponzi presents information, education and conversation with activists and experts on environmental issues and all things "green." Produced in the studios of KDHX Community Media in St. Louis, MO.
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Now displaying: 2022

Conversations in Green: host Jean Ponzi presents information, education and conversation with activists and experts on environmental issues and all things green.

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Sep 13, 2022

Elizabeth Fournier always wanted to work in funeral service. She was drawn to the service in this profession, and fascinated by its technical skills. Today she works "for a better living" - with Nature's tech - and she's proudly known far and wide as The Green Reaper.

       

Fournier is a national advocate for Green Burial, practices that are changing her profession's enviro impacts, and helping her fellow humans better connect Life to our Earthly nature, at Life's end.

She compares the importance of ecological funerals to our society's everyday efforts to decrease human impacts - by supporting renewable energy, by driving hybrid or electric cars, by eating healthy foods, by promoting sustainable agriculture, by using their own cloth bags at the grocery store, and so on. Fournier celebrates how the ideas of a green lifestyle are carrying over to how we handle the dead.

Fournier's Cornerstone Funeral Services, outside Portland OR, makes her the Undertaker of Boring (OR), her tiny rural town. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Green Burial Council, and lives on a farm with her husband, daughter, and many rescue goats. Her 2018 Green Burial Guidebook details the practical changes she champions. 

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms audio engineer, and to Jon Valley of KDHX Production.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Greenwood Cemetery: History, Community, Profound Restoration (Jan 2018, - update April 2022)

Walking Sacred Ground with Robert Fishbone, artist of Labyrinths (Sept 2019)

In the Company of Trees with Forest Bathing advocate Andrea Sarubbi Fareshteh (Jan 2018)

Earthworms Host Note: After years of learning and talking about these sustainable options, I attended a Green Burial this summer. Bellefontaine Cemetery and Arboretum, a venerable St. Louis historic site, is a national leader in advancing Green Burial. Their service for a dear friend's sister, Mary Ann, was simple and moving. Her body was wrapped in a linen shroud, so her physical form was right there with us. She was a tall woman.

Gracie, one of Bellefontaine's staff I know through Green work, led her crew in bringing Mary Ann's body to the grave site, drawn on a wooden cart with big metal wheels. A wreath of flowers lay over her heart. The open grave was shallow, maybe only three feet deep, lined with a profusion of plant matter! In the center of the mass of pine boughs, prairie grasses and all kinds of flowers was a circle of sunflower blooms. 

After the simple service, Bellefontaine staff lowered Mary Ann's body into the grave with long fabric straps. No machinery, no concrete, no elaborate box. Simply a human body, laid gently into Earth. Three huge urns of flowers and leafy branches were waiting by the grave.

Everyone joined in covering Mary Ann with these beautiful plants, and then we could take turns adding shovels from the pile of soil removed from the grave. The stuff of Earth will energize Earth's processes of decomposition, over time. No chemicals, nothing toxic. Everything formerly living, returning to Earth.

I noted the trees around the gravesite Mary Ann had chosen. Oaks, the mightiest hosts of insect life, supporting and restoring bonds in the Web of Life our species works so hard to break. Elements of Body, Mind, Feeling and Spirit - all there, in a quiet and simple way. What a gift to be there on that summer day.   - Jean Ponzi

 

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Links: Greeenwood, Forest Bathing, previous Green Burial?

Jul 15, 2022

It's a sister-rooted family scene at Fair Shares. The resourceful twist of this CCSA - Combined Community Supported Agriculture - nourishes St. Louis with produce and value-added products, a plateful of action for over 15 years.

      

As founding sister Sara Choler Hale prepares to set sail (literally) on her next life adventure, she and sibling Jamie Choler share the main course and many sides of their story with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi, with relish.

From dedicated subscribing to local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms, this thoughtful startup started asking all the local farmers if they'd be able and willing to contribute to a Combined CSA (CCSA), where subscriber-member fees are shared among many farmers and food producers. Answer: YES!

In 2008, Fair Shares boxes started sending out Veg And: eggs, jams, honey, fresh and cured meats, cheeses, sweets. Each farmer could focus on what they do best. Today, over 400 members enjoy fantastic diversity of food from over 30 local farmers and producers. Little risk and strong support, serving healthy, varied weekly shares, year-round from this Local Food hub.

Fair Shares staff spans two generations, Family And. And while the crew will dearly miss Sara and volunteer/husband Stephen, the bonds of family and food will surely weather this year's changes.

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms audio engineer, and to Jon Valley, KDHX Production maven. Thanks for the tip for this show to FOFS-FOEW, Tom Flood.  

Earthworms On The Farm Related Conversations:

Heru Urban Farming (Jan 2021)

Crystal Stevens, Flourish (Dec 2020)

Rosy Buck Farm Grows in Circles (April 2021)

Rustic Roots Sanctuary (June 2021)

Urban Buds City Grown Flowers (Nov 2021)

And more!

 

 

May 19, 2022

What does a Mom and environmental lawyer do after leading a statewide enviro-coalition into its second half-century and serving as a City of St. Louis Alderperson? This one, Heather Navarro, takes on directing climate action for the Midwest U.S. 

       

The Midwest Climate Collaborative, based at Washington University in St. Louis, envisions a carbon neutral, climate resilient, interconnected Midwest Region. This is seeing big: if the Midwest US (a dozen states) were a country, we'd be the sixth largest Carbon emitter in the world. Heather Navarro is on it!

Launched with an online summit in January, 2022, this partnership to date includes universities, cities, NGOs, companies and cultural institutions. Students are working in leadership roles: connecting formal research projects, educating educators, and asset mapping are activities so far, seeking options to work with the agriculture and industry sectors that powering Midwestern economics.

Solutions, strategies and shared actions are the focus of this Earthworms conversation!

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Sierra Club national staff and Earthworms audio engineer - and to Jon Valley, KDHX production pro.

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

OneSTL: Implementing our Regional Sustainability Plan (Feb 2021)

A World Without Us? Thoughts from Author Alan Weissman (Oct 2020)

Diversifying Power: Jennie C. Stephens Advocates Energy Democracy (Sept 2020)

Apr 12, 2022

Historic Greenwood Cemetery, terrestrial resting place of over 50,000 Black human beings, embodies the paradox of dis- and respect that our species can so profoundly bring to pass. In a heartfelt complementarity, Greenwood also offers one of our region's best opportunities for environmental and cultural service.

    

Shelley and Rafael Morris, leaders of the Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Association, first shared with KDHX Earthworms in January 2018 the significance of the oldest non-sectarian African American cemetery in the St. Louis region - and the moving story of efforts to reclaim the grounds from invasive plants and illegal dumping. Four years later, Greenwood's network of volunteers and supporters has certainly grown, yet the need persists for fiscal and work party support.

Good news is that multiple STL companies have adopted Greenwood as a reoccurring focus of service and monetary support. AmeriCorps St. Louis volunteers are regular workers. About half of Greenwood's T-shaped 31.85 acres have been freed from human and plant debris. From the Morris's deep commitment, discussions are beginning to observe the 150th anniversary of Greenwood Cemetery's founding, in 2024. With equity a priority for so many enterprises, what might be accomplished by then?

          

This year, NBC News featured Greenwood for a Black History Month story on the plight - and pluck - of those working to resurrect Black cemetery dignity and heritage. Good to get this degree of spotlight, plenty more work and outreach to come.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Meeting Greenwood Cemetery (Jan 2018) 

St. Louis Environmental Racism Report (October 2019)

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms Engineer, and to Andy Coco and Jon Valley of KDHX Production Team.

Mar 11, 2022

As climate change threatens native plant populations, freezers in a lab in Gray Summit, Missouri are helping to preserve seeds vital to potentially restoring communities of these plants.

     

Meg Englehardt, Seed Bank Manager for Missouri Botanical Garden, is guardian of these precious resources. What's involved with Seed Banking? Why is this (vitally!) important? And how does the Garden's work in this area contribute to biodiversity, overall? This Earthworms conversation digs into Seed Bank details.

Learn more! 

THANKS to Earthworms Engineer, Andy Heaslet, and to KDHX Production wizards Jon Valley and Andy Coco.

Related Earthworms Conversations: A Cinematic Ode to Seed Savers (Nov 2016)

 

 

 

Feb 3, 2022

Meditation practice can lead a person to understand causes and outcomes, prompt awareness of impacts and impulses, ground the perception that change is an only constant - and foster a commitment to act with loving kindness. Valuable for our toddler human species, busy whacking at all around us. And a tall order, that's not out of reach. 

                              

What transpires when meditation practice focuses on our human relationship with Earth?  Lisa Hoover is exploring this space.

Lisa peer-leads the weekly practice of White Oak Sangha, based in the Missouri Ozarks, grounded in the Western Insight meditation tradition. This winter, she is exploring relationships to Earth, through an intensive class hosted online by the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. 

Earthworms host Jean Ponzi took advantage of Zoom access (vs. an hour from St. Louis drive) to join this group when 2020 pandemic adaptations moved meetings online. Sharing their love of Earth, Jean shares insights with Lisa Hoover.

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms audio engineer, and to Jon Valley and Andy Coco, the KDHX Production team.

Related Earthworms Conversations:

One Health for Animals - People - Earth with Dr. Sharon Deem, DVM (April 2020)

Facing the Climate Emergency with psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon (June 2020)

Nature's Best Hope? Ecologist Doug Tallamy say WE ARE (Feb 2020)

 

Jan 6, 2022

State legislators are heading back into session. Another year of biz-as-usual - or worse? A powerful coalition of advocates recently moved Illinois lawmakers to achieve results for people, planet and economics.

           Andy Heaslet, Earthworms' own audio engineer, dug into the details of CEJA, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act enacted into Illinois law in September 2021. He shares the story from his research for Masters' level coursework at Southern Illinois University, which was one nexus of collaborative activism that make this landmark policy a law both powerful and replicable.

      

Give a listen - be inspired!

Thanks, Andy, for how Earthworms sounds - with THNX as well to Jon Valley and Andy Coco of KDHX Production.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Diversifying Power: Energy Democracy with Jennie C. Stephens (Sept 2020)

Rule of Five: the Supreme Court and CO2 (July 2020)

Leah Clyburn: Organizing to Act on Environmental Racism in St. Louis (Oct 2019)

Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (March 2018)

 

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