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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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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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Mar 22, 2017

"It's how we used to learn," says Scott McClintock, science teacher and board member of the Experiential Education Exchange of St. Louis. "You experience something, reflect on it - learn from it - and incorporate it into your life skills."

Scott expands this modest summary in an Earthworms conversation that covers outdoor trips, building school gardens, digging up the cow that died on the school farm last year - and how real-life experiences (and topics like climate change or tolerance) are growing human minds and hearts while also teaching necessary math and reading. Not your straight-line test-score old-school blues song.

                    

Leaders and partners of the EEE have collaborated since 2013 to help teachers, students, parents and school administrators get access to Experiential know-how, grounding St. Louis in an international education movement. A free Spring Event on March 29 and the annual conference on April 29 of the Experiential Education Exchange are opportunities to build skills and relationships in a learning mode where connecting to nature and becoming fully human headline the curriculum.

Learn (a lot!) more at www.eeestl.org 

Music: Magic 9, performed at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: The Big Book of Nature Activities (June 28, 2016)

Mar 14, 2017

They may nest in a tree stump, or holes in the ground, or pull nest fibers from the stalks of your dried-up native plants. Wherever they can make a home, you will find them fascinating, useful guests. Earthworms guest Heather Holm - a landscape designer, author and native plant expert - LOVES to introduce humans to them!

                           

They are Native Bees - species of insects that pollinate many kinds of plants. They are very different from familiar honeybees (introduced here from Europe) which live in huge colonies of thousands of bees. Our native bees are usually solitary, visible only during their brief adult lives, when their determined purpose is to build an out-of-the-way nest, provision it with "bee bread" made from flower pollen, lay eggs, seal their nest up - and die. Next year, new native bees will hatch from those obscure places and re-start the cycle of reproduction and pollination.

Heather Holm now works, researches, writes and speaks from her Minnesota home in the Twin Cities. She hails from the University of Ontario, Guelph, where another recent Earthworms guest brought us intel about honeybees. She visited St. Louis in early March, as keynote speaker for the Partners for Native Landscaping workshop, where she kindled many fires of interest in gardening to attract and observe native bees - including with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi!

Music: Divertimento K 131, performed by Kevin McLeod

Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Bees and People (January 2017)

Prairie Plants: Growing a Joint Venture with Nature (February 2017)

Mar 8, 2017

In Earthworms' experience, when people want to do something Green they think recycling - or solar panels! But what makes solar tick? What are your options? How is solar evolving, in efficiency, affordability, and influence in the "energy space?"

                         
Paul McKnight, owner of St. Louis-based EFS Energy, has made solar his business since 2011. He's weathered solar's ups/downs - and continues to be excited by innovations in power storage, renewable energy financing - and more.


                    

Music: Giant Steps, Dave Stone

THANKS to Andy Heaslet, intrepid engineer

Related Earthworms' Conversations: PACE Financing (January 2017)

Energy: Efficiency, Policy, Financing (September 2016)

All-Electric America> (August 2016)

Mar 1, 2017

How can you not love a tiny, gorgeous creature that flies from Mexico to Canada to keep its species on the Earth? Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are one of our most iconic nature-kin. They need our help - and we can give it to them, beautifully.

                    

Dr. Orly R. "Chip" Taylor has championed Monarchs since the early 1990s.  His studies through University of Kansas-Lawrence have documented a drastic decline (over 90%) of Monarch populations along their  North American migratory flyway, and his advocacy - as founder of Monarch Watch, Monarch Waystation and Milkweed Market - continues to mobilize citizen science and gardening support to restore habitat needed to preserve this species.

Chip Taylor will  keynote the second annual Grow Native! workshop in Edwardsville, IL on Friday, March 10. This is an opportunity to hear one of nature's Green Giants, learn how YOU can contribute to the health of Monarch and other native critter populations through Native Plant landscaping - and you can GET PLANTS!

Don't let this spring pass without digging into the Native Plant movement. Opportunities abound! You - and Monarchs - will benefit, beautifully.

Music: Artifact, Kevin MacLeod

THANKS to Andy Heasley, Earthworms engineer - and to Andy Coco.

Related Earthworms Conversations: 

Native Plants: Growing a Joint Venture with Nature (February 2017) 

Prairie Power (March 2016)

Feb 15, 2017

Longest in the US, muddy-waters famous for music-inspiring - and one of the most-altered rivers on Earth. We humans have channelized, narrowed and straightened the Missouri almost (not quite) beyond recognition.   
   
                         

With enough River Issues to float a boat, we STILL have opportunities to protect and in some spots even restore health to the Mighty MO. Greg Poleski, VP of Greenway Network, works on river issues by leading paddling outings on "water trails," leading river clean-ups, and organizing public education events. Brad Walker, River Director for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, works with legal, legislative, public education and other means to protect the Missouri from further degradation.

LEARN MORE at River Soundings - a free panel discussion of Missouri River issues. Wednesday February 22, 5:30-8 p.m. Visitor Center in Forest Park. Panelists Tony Messenger, Brad Walker and Dr. Robert Criss, moderated by Jean Ponzi from KDHX.

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran, December 2003

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Mississippi River Town Mayors: Leadership in a Global Way (June, 2016)

Feb 8, 2017

Wildflowers are moving into the city - and plants with "weed" in their names are welcome even in the 'burbs. Sure and steady as Oak trees, a Native Plant revolution is changing the ways we experience our yards, our parks, our school grounds and even our corporate campuses. 

                     

Neil Diboll, President of Prairie Nursery in Westfield, Wisconsin, has grown this wild idea for 35 years. He was digging native plants when his business "couldn't give 'em away." Now he - and many humans like him - can't get enough of the kinds of plants that let our species garden in a Joint Venture with Nature. 

                                    

Mitch Leachman cultivates this mania here in the KDHX listening area. As head of St. Louis Audubon, he leads volunteers from groups with names like Wild Ones and Master Naturalists in efforts to "Bring Conservation Home" - the wildly successful Audubon program that comes to your yard with guidance to garden ecologically. 

Let this Earthworms conversation welcome you to the realm of Native Plants. Want to learn more? You're in luck! March brings workshops, talks and plant sales bursting like Milkweed pods with Native Plant knowledge, opportunity, and FUN! Neil Diboll will headline the 2017 Partners for Native Landscaping Workshop on March 3 & 4 - hosted this year at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, where native plant horticulture training is taking off like Prairie Blazing Stars. 

Additional visiting Native Plant maven: pollinator plant author Heather Holm.

Need a lift for your spirits? Start gardening for butterflies, birds and bees. Pick some flowers with "weed" in their names. Meet folks who've got the Native bug - and let yourself catch it too!

Music: Agnes Polka, performed at KDHX by the Chia Band, 1999.

THANKS to Andy Coco, Earthworms engineer, and to all the Partners for Native Landscaping organizations.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Prairie Power: Native Plants, Soil Health, Biodiverse BEAUTY (March 30, 2016)

Wes Jackson and The Land Institute: Growing Our Food Crops as Prairies? (September 15, 2015)

Jan 25, 2017

Honeybees are giving humans a sustainable buzz! Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association will host their 10th annual workshop for beginning and advanced beekeepers on Saturday February 11th. Local beekeepers - at hobby and commercial scales - gather at this event to learn basic and advanced apiculture from guest faculty and each other. 

Local beekeepers and EMBA members, Steve Rudolph and John Pashia, are joined by Paul Kelly, who is Research and Apiary Manager in the School of Environmental Sciences at University of Guelph, Ontario. Paul is coming to St. Louis as guest faculty for the advanced course in the EMBA workshop. 

      

We buzz about: Virroa destructor, the mite pestilence wreaking havoc in bee colonies across North America; honeybee health measures that are evolving to work with bee biology and habits, vs. techno-fixes; some beekeeping history; what folks like about interacting with these industrious insects - and of course, those enjoyable products of the hive.

Beekeeping is a popular, fast-growing hobby among sustainably-minded humans. And bees are essential partners in producing over half of the foods our society eats. If you've thought about beekeeping, now's the time to get to learn more!

Music: Divertimento K131, performed live at KDHX by Kevin MacLeod, February 2009.

Photos: EMBA members learning together (Ray Marklin); Paul Kelly (Guelph Mercury) 

THANKS to Earthworms engineer Josh Nothum, joined this week by Andy Heaslet.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Vanishing Bees: Science, Politics and Honeybee Health (January 16, 2017; Honeybee Democracy - Dr. Tom Seely is WILD About Bees (February 23, 2016)

Jan 18, 2017

Honeybees, among all types of pollinators, pollinate over 1/3 of all U.S. foodstuffs. And they are in trouble. Colony Collapse Disorder is just one of a hive of serious issues compromising the health of honeybees kept by commercial-scale and hobby beekeepers, here and abroad.

Many stakeholders share concerns - and conflicting views - about honeybee health: agricultural growers, government agencies, pesticide and herbicide manufacturing corporations, scientists, academics and - of course - beekeepers at every honeybee husbandry scale. Why can't these interests concur about causes - and work toward solutions - to critical bee-health issues?

               

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin explored what is "credible" and "trusted" amid the human buzz of bee-related viewpoints, while also digging into bee health issue details. Biologist Dr. Sainath Suryanarayanan talks with Earthworms host jean Ponzi about this work. He co-authored the new book "Vanishing Bees: Science, Politics, and Honeybee Health" (Rutgers University Press, 2016) with sociologist Dr. Daniel Lee Kleinman. Suryanarayan is Associate Scientist for the Study of Trans-Disciplinary Biomedical Research, Department of Population Health Sciences, UW-Madison.

MUSIC: Abdiel, performed live at KDHX by Dave Black, January 2011

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer, and to Peter Bermudes of Gail Leondar Public Relations.

MORE ABOUT BEES from Eastern Missouri Beekeepers coming in the January 24 Earthworms podcast. 

 

Jan 11, 2017

We all know that using less energy pays (don't we?) by cutting utility bills, reducing demand for fossil fuels and belching less carbon into Earth's climate. But the issue of how to pay for energy efficiency upgrades to your home or commercial property can be a hurdle too high to leap.

Enter PACE, Property Assessed Clean Energy, a financing process that ties the value of improvements - and lending to support them - to the value of your property, not to your personal credit capacity. Across Missouri, including the KDHX service area, the HERO program is connecting municipalities (they levy property taxes) to lenders to energy-smart contractors to property owners to build PACE into our energy usage.

                  

John Maslowski, VP of Marketing and Development for HERO in Missouri, tells Earthworms host Jean Ponzi the what-why-how of PACE. The program's website includes a spiffy animation that explains it too. John and Jean go into what kinds of efficiency measures HERO can finance, connecting with contractors, and what's in this benefit package for local communities and property owners.

In the KDHX listening area, HERO is available in 7 St. Charles County and 14 St. Louis County communities, the City of Arnold in Jefferson County, and all of Franklin and Greene Counties; also in the Kansas City and Columbia areas. Check with your mayor or City Manager if your municipality is not on the HERO list; other PACE programs are at work here too, or PACE can come to your community.

PACE is a great deal. We hope this podcast energizes you!

Music: Lime House Blues, performed live at KDHX by the great Del McCoury, August 2013. 

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Energy Efficiency: Policy, Financing and Relationships that Power It All with Josh Campbell, Missouri Energy Initiative - September 2016. 

 

Jan 4, 2017

Think about how we get around town, if stuff we want and need to get to is close enough to where we live, work, learn and play that we don't have to use a car to get there (or at least not all the time). If our neighborhoods feel lively, safe, healthy and productive.

This is all part of the national movement called Smart Growth, practiced by community builders like Earthworms guests Dana Gray and Eric Friedman, who are both local champions of equity, sustainability, creativity and prosperity - for everyone in the St. Louis community where they live and work.

             

Smart Growth is a trend prompting economic, social and environmental benefits in many U.S. cities. In St. Louis, the concept has grown some good roots and sprouted in places like South Grand Boulevard, Washington Avenue downtown, the Delmar Loop and Old North St. Louis. Efforts of community-builders in many places are moving out town in smarter directions, at a pace we will define in positive terms as gathering steam.

Evidence of this movement here is that the Local Government Commission is bringing their annual New Partners for Smart Growth national conference to The Lou from February 1-4. A special FREE day of Smart Growth skill-building and networking events has just been announced, DIY Great Cities on Wednesday February 1 - a scoop on this Earthworms podcast!

YOU could become a Smart Growth advocate in your neighborhood, with benefits cycling directly, sustainably back to your family, friends, and neighbors. Check it out!

Dana Gray is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation. Eric Friedman is real estate and development professional, principal of The Friedman Group commercial real estate company, and founder of Housing and Community Solutions. Both have been instrumental in bringing National Partners for Smart Growth 2017 Conference to St. Louis. 

Music: Cookie Mouth, performed live at KDHX by The Provels, January 2015.
THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer - and to Jon Valley. 

Related Earthworms Conversations: 
Trailnet's New Vision for Getting Around Green - November 2016

Mississippi River Town Mayors - Global Leadership - June 2016

St. Louis Food Policy  Coalition - December 2015

Dec 28, 2016

As Earthworms rides out the tail tip of 2016, we find ourselves needing an Attitude Adjustment to prepare for a New Year. Jeannie Breeze, our longtime friend and positive-focus mentor, brings to KDHX some of her prodigious, witty skills to generate and maintain Peace through thoughts, words and actions. 

This conversation invites our whole community to join the 31st annual St. Louis World Peace Day Celebration, on Saturday December 31 at 6 a.m. (yes, we know it's early - you'll hear why in the podcast) at Central Reform Congregation, corner of Kingshighway and Waterman. As in every year past, this event includes fine music, words of wisdom  (some from Earthworms host Jean Ponzi), and an exceptional meditation guided by Jeannie herself. Check out the details. Potluck breakfast too!

Hocus-Pocus, You Can Focus - on being a Beacon of (green) Peace!

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran, March 2015

THANKS to Jon Valley, Earthworms engineer, and to Andy Coco.

Dec 21, 2016

Some of Earth's wonders are easy to see: gaze skyward or wake up into a "world" of freshly fallen snow. Others are more hidden, tucked into mathematical equations or the brilliant adaptations of elephants' senses - or your dog's nose!

A gem of a new book celebrates, in gorgeous images and cool facts, our Earth, our home, and its wondrously diverse phenomena. Acclaimed science journalist Nadia Drake has focused her prodigious skills to craft this lovely volume, Little Book of Wonders. It's a natural as a holiday gift.


                         

This Earthworms conversation is our winter-holiday gift to you: an exchange about the planet we love, with a woman whose work inspires readers of National Geographic, Nature, Science News and WIRED. Check out her Nat'l Geo blog No Place Like Home. 

Thanks for listening. Cheers!

Music: Jingle Bells, performed by the Civiltones live at KDHX, December 2011.

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

Dec 7, 2016

Four years ago, Brian Ettling began volunteering to educate people about Climate Change, through the Climate Reality Project. He is now Missouri State Coordinator of the Citizens' Climate Lobby. He takes this tough topic to public groups, far and wide. This fall, Brian took his climate protection policy message to the offices of six U.S. Representatives - and to the Canadian House of Parliament! 

                       

With the ambitious goal of getting a Carbon Fee & Dividend bill through Congress in 2017, this national organization of Citizen Climate Lobbyists is meeting legislators with "Admiration, Respect and Gratitude," and digging into substantial answers to questions they meet along the way.

Brian maintains a positive, can-do focus as he advocates for climate protection. He details his group's policy proposal, including expert reviews and support, and shares his vivid experience with Earthworms' Jean Ponzi. Also check out Brian's report from his summer job as a ranger at Crater Lake National Park, where he educates Park visitors about Climate Change. 

Learn more at: www.citizensclimatelobby.org - and considering bringing Brian or one of his colleagues to speak to your group.  

Music: Washboard Suzie, performed live at KDHX by Zydeco Crawdaddies, June 2009

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer, and for assistance from Jon Valley.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Climate Change Tales from a National Park Ranger, April 2016

Nov 30, 2016

In this town of so many great places, what if we could get around to them easily, confidently - low-carbon and on two wheels? St. Louis' longtime active living non-profit, Trailnet, says Sure! Let's do it! 

This is a vision of interconnected destinations, in many great neighborhoods, along "calmer" travel routes, planted and built with eco-sense. Trailnet announced it in mid-November. The plan is to serve cyclists and pedestrians, of all ages and abilities. Now their team is taking this vision to the community, to find out what WE would like to experience, in this greener - saner! - travel vision.

Earthworms guests from Trailnet are Taylor March, Education and Encouragement Coordinator, and Director of Policy and Strategy Marielle Brown. They'll come to your community group, seeking planning input broadly. Word up: this vision is catching!

Music: Cadillac Desert, performed at KDHX by William Tyler, July 2013.
THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer, with help from Jon Valley.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Get Around Greener - On Two Wheels, March 2016.

Nov 23, 2016

When a techno-breakthrough by one (anonymous) Human Genius makes it possible for animals to speak, they take over global TV. Earth's animals get 100 hours to message the ONE critter that NEEDS to hear from ALL: us.

               


Legendary environmental advocate and political activist Ralph Nader works the realm of fiction with his new book Animal Envy - A Fable (Seven Stories Press, 2016). He broadcasts a world of voices. His imagined Great TALKOUT, led by a TRIAD of spokes-species, starts with a tone of flattering humans to get our attention, and quickly turns in biodiverse-ly urgent, poignant, intense directions. 

What do animals want us to understand? One fabled guy who speaks up hugely and often to power invites Elephant, Owl, Emerald Ash Borer, Dolphin - and yes, even Earthworm - to speak their truth to People. Nader gives the animals their best shot at waking up his own species. We have much to gain by listening.

Music: Butter II - performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case, April 2016.

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer, with help from Jon Valley.

 

 

Nov 16, 2016

The world's Indigenous Peoples and communities are more important players in the battle to curb climate change than anyone ever knew. So states a new report from World Resources Institute and partners at Rights Resources Initiative and Woods Hole Research Center.

WRI's Katie Reytar, co-author of this report, tells Earthworms about the enormous amount of forested land holdings and carbon management in the hands of indigenous communities around the world. While governments and companies continue to disregard the land rights of indigenous peoples, their rights and management practices demonstrate powerful measures of carbon sequestration. Forests take on a huge level of importance, as do their traditional human dwellers. 

             

Reytar also talks about Landmark: The Global Platform of Indigenous and Community Lands, which is a year-old collaboration among 13 NGOs to map - and thereby help affirm holding rights of - indigenous and community lands, worldwide. Motivation for this monumental mapping effort? When the public can see these tenures, we will have greater capacity to stand up for them to exploiters.

Music: Mr. Sun by Hunters Permit, performed live at KDHX March, 2014.
Related Earthworms Conversations: A report from the COP21 Climate Summit Indigenous Peoples Conference, by St. Louis ethnobotanist Dr. Jan Salick, December, 2015.
THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

 

Nov 1, 2016

Filmmakers Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel have merged into "SEED - The Untold Story" the David/Golilath battle to ensure the diversity of global seed stock with a poetic tribute to an emerging, worldwide culture of seed-saving plant and planet respect.

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Thousands of human generations always saved seeds to plant their next cycle's food supply. Some revered seeds like children: those who recognized the life in tiny, mysterious, silent kernels, who honored Seed's gift to all living beings.

Today, most of everyone's food comes from seed that's owned by agricultural corporations - seed types that can produce only a perilous fraction of the variety of plants on Earth. This film's focus on Seed issues embody food security, just distribution, profit vs. livelihood, cultural survival, and much more.

View SEED - The Untold Story on Saturday, November 12 at 12:15 pm at the Tivoli Theater, presented by the Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival. 

Music: Hunters Permit performed by Mr. Sun at KDHX studios, March 2013.

THANKS to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer and to Marla Stoker, Cinema St. Louis.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Project Garlic - Slow Food STL Crop-Sources the Super Bulb, September 2015. 

 

Oct 25, 2016

Herbalist, artist, vegetable farmer, wife and mother - and author - Crystal Stevens has embodied her Earth-loving knowledge and perspective in a bounteous new book: GROW CREATE INSPIRE, Crafting a Joyful Life of Beauty and Abundance (New Society Press, 2016).

        

Crystal empowers the reader to dance the path to sustainable, resilient, healthy living!  She provides practical advice on gardening, foraging, DIY natural household and beauty recipes, simple seed to table meals, preserving the harvest - and more. Her personal stories color this book with a rainbow of gracious values. 

With her husband Eric Stevens, Crystal has nourishing Earthworms host Jean Ponzi for the past three growing seasons, as farmers of the LaVista CSA in Godfrey, IL. Her work has been feeding this show's perspective!

Music: For Michael, performed by Brian Curran at KDHX, December 2015. 

Book Release Party!  Sunday December 4, Old Bakery Beer in Alton IL (3-6 pm)

Find "Farmer Crystal" in: Mother Earth News and Feast, Permaculture and The Healthy Planet Magazines. 

Oct 18, 2016

Where can you go to have some fun, close to home or just hours away, with the whole family or your pals, maybe catch some history, for sure get outdoors and enjoy NATURE . . . for free? In any of Missouri's 88 (and counting) state parks and historic sites.

Missouri is a national leader in providing nature-based public benefits, in no small part because a modest tax has supported our state park system for over 30 years. The Parks, Soils and Clean Water sales tax levies 1/10 of 1% of sales and uses these funds to manage our parks - and support farmers and landowners statewide through Soil & Water Conservation District services. Amendment 1 brings this tax up for another renewal cycle on November 8. Why consider supporting it?



Hear the vivid, diverse and compelling story of Missouri State Parks from the system's director, Bill Bryan, with the Dept. of Natural Resources, and from Heather Navarro, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

 

 

 

 

 

Music: Lime House Blues, performed live at KDHX by the great Del McCoury, August, 2013.
Thanks to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer (and budding State Park explorer)

Pictured: Locations of Missouri State Parks, Elephant Rocks State Park

Oct 12, 2016

Historian and author Jill Jonnes digs in to science, social benefits, culture, data and leafy lore in her new book Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape (Penguin, 2016). 

         

Jonnes tells us tree stories: from the inspiring Survivor Tree of New York's Ground Zero - which is actually an invasive species - to the arborists who branched out and developed data that prove the practical and dollar values of trees in times of city budget cuts. Jonnes' meticulous research and narrative flair make the strong case for community investment in trees, especially in an era when cities everywhere are taking an axe to budgets. Trees yield high ROI, in bio- and other DIVERSE ways.


Music: Big Piney Blues - performed live by Brian Curran at KDHX, March 2015.

THANKS to Earthworms engineer, Josh Nothum. 

Related Earthworms Conversations: Backyard Woodland - August 2016

"City of Tress" Film Portrays Jobs, Nature, Humans, Hope - November 2015

Oct 3, 2016

The ABCs of R! R! R! will help every resident recycle - easily.

In the City of St. Louis, it's Brightside, our long-serving beautification agency, now educating residents and bringing resources to community events. Brightside's recycling specialists Elysia Musumeci and Jessica Freiberger and volunteer recycling ambassador Richard Bax recently went door-to-door in two city neighborhoods, to answer residents' questions and distribute home bins in a pilot effort to boost recycling participation. 

What do people want to know to make this most fundamental Green practice work? What kinds of issues do city recycling advocates face? A terrific new website, STLCityRecycles.com, and this Earthworms conversation explain it all for you! Check out their lively social media posts and the Brightside website too!

Music: Magic in Threes, performed live at KDHX by Trinity Way, December 2011

THANKS to Josh Nothum and Andy Coco, Earthworms ace engineers.

Sep 28, 2016

Few things in the "Green Space" get as wonky as energy policy - or get as popular when utility bills can start shrinking.

Players in the Energy Sector are utility companies (and their shareholders), government regulators, enviro-advocates, municipalities, businesses of all kinds - and us Average Joes who use and pay for energy. Josh Campbell, Executive Director of the Missouri Energy Initiative, works this sector behind the scenes, negotiating for benefits that range from energy efficiency financing options to getting more solar and wind power into the system. 

This Earthworms conversation covers state energy policy dynamics, PACE financing, responses in Missouri and Illinois to the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, energy efficiency efforts in the Midwest region - and the kinds of relationships helping our region move from reliance on "Legacy Fuels" toward resilient, diverse, clean energy systems - in ways that all can afford. Energizing!

October 4-5 in St. Louis: Midwest Energy Policy Conference

Music: Deep Gap performed by Marisa Anderson at KDHX-St. Louis, May 2014

THANKS Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

Related Earthworms Conversations: All-Electric America? - August 2016
From the Pipeline with Filmaker Caitlin Zera - January 201

Sep 19, 2016

These forested acres in far west St. Louis County have long beckoned visitors from around this region: as the famed Gilberg Perennial Farms from the 1980s until early 2000s, and now as a new creative hub, Wildwood Green Arts.

 

Proprietor - or should we say Potter and Host? - Doug Gilberg has rekindled his lifelong love of working with clay as a deeply satisfying way to connect with nature and one's fellow humans. He opens his family place to learners and guess, in a new iteration of his earlier work growing and popularizing perennial and native garden plants. Both the calm and joy of this enterprise is clear as Doug talks about it with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi. 

 

 

Wildwood Green Arts is open for creative use, with spacious new studio facilities including wheels, kilns, hand-building spaces and abundant surrounding natural beauty. From regular Coached Open Studio days to special classes to Date Nights, let this tactile medium lure you to newly experience or more deeply delve into the focused sensuality called Ceramics - in the bonus environment of a very intentional Creative Community. 

Music: For Michael by Brian Curran, performed live at KDHX, December 2015

Thanks to Earthworms' engineer, Josh Nothum

Sep 7, 2016

Everybody eats. So local food production could become an economic engine, with a modest carbon footprint and potentially huge community benefits. And gardens rooted in communities of faith can nourish the kind of massive root system - of leadership, partnership, entrepreneurship, stewardship - needed to give this ship's engine good Green steam.

Earthworms guest Sylvester Brown Jr. is putting these synergies to work in The Sweet Potato Project, a St. Louis enterprise since 2012 that empowers urban, disadvantaged youth to grow strong futures for themselves and their 'hoods by cultivating - YAMS! Brown will keynote a free public event on Tuesday Sept 20 that spotlights opportunity for faith congregations to GARDEN as a means to community service. Earthworms guest Gail Wechsler is a coordinator of this event - Greening Your Community, Saving the Planet One Garden at a Time - and a spokesperson from the Jewish Community Relations Council for the Green organizing power of communities of all faiths.

This event is third in a series of collaborations between the Jewish Environmental Initiative, US Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter and Missouri Interfaith Power & Light. Register here.

Earthworms Engineers are Josh Nothum and Andy Coco - thanks!

Music: Butter II performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case, March 2016

Related Earthworms Conversation: St. Louis Food Policy Coalition - December 2015

Aug 31, 2016

Her t-shirt says MODERN FARMER. Architect turned Agri-Innovator Mary Ostafi is one, in spades. Her vision, hard work and business savvy continues to grow St. Louis first urban farm on top of a downtown building: Urban Harvest STL.

When Earthworms last talked with Mary, in June 2015, she was just digging in for her Food Roof's first, short growing season. She had blown through the roof of a Kickstarter campaign and secured a big stormwater management grant and was planting the seeds of her enterprising dream firmly atop the second story of a warehouse building in the city's core. 

This year, she and her largely volunteer team are fixin' to post achievement gains well over that first season's impressive growth of 1,033 pounds of food produced from 62 varieties of plants, with 60% of it donated to further Urban Harvest's mission to "Grow Food Where You Live!" Mary Ostafi's timing was perfect for planting her non-profit idea firmly into the living soil of both the sustainable food and food justice movements that are sweeping St. Louis and the country overall. Urban Harvest works in partnership with social service leaders like the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, St. Patrick Center, St. Louis Metro Market and more, and has tapped into the farmer training program of EarthDance Farms to create one job in the farm's first year, and significantly boost the profile of all this collaborative energy. Plus eating WELL - and hosting parties!

Check out the Food Roof as a volunteer, any Saturday morning - and get your tix while they last for RAISE THE ROOF, the first Urban Harvest fund-raiser on Thursday Sept 22 - which happily also happens to be the Autumnal Equinox. 

Earthworms salutes you, Mary Ostafi - YOU GROW GREEN GIRL!

Thanks to Josh Nothum, Earthworms engineer.

Music: Redwing by Currycorn - performed live at KDHX March, 2011

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Farming on a Downtown Roof - June 30, 2015

St. Louis Metro Market - Grocery Store in a Metro Bus! - June 15, 2015

Urban Agriculture Guide: New Tool for City Farmers - June 7 2016

Fruit or Vegetable? To clear up the question in this interview: a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant, whereas vegetables are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems. BUT there's overlap, thank you tomatoes - and always something else to learn. 

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