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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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Feb 10, 2016

The St. Louis region is crisscrossed, surrounded and blessed with rivers and streams. Thanks to this week's guest group, Great Rivers Greenway, these natural features are increasingly connected by a network of trails and greenways, a vibrant invitation to folks of all ages to explore our area, and enjoy more of our lives outside!

Elizabeth Simons, GRG's Community Programs Manager, and Conservation Programs Manager Angie Weber talk about their organization's history, purpose, projects and plans, including the call this month for the public to advise the next five years of GRG's work. Efforts of the past 15 years to purchase and lease land, build trails and connect natural features are now being enhanced by ecological restoration, native planting, and water-conserving greenway elements. This is 21st century, habitat-hip get-around-Green great stuff!

Open House events on February 17 at the Bridgeton Trails Branch Library and on February 23 at the Missouri History Museum will showcase GRG achievements and solicit community input. 

A significant fact about GRG is that residents of St. Louis City and County and St. Charles County have twice voted to support these resources with our tax dollars (2000, 2013). Tax support on the Illinois side of the KDHX listening area sustains more inter-connective open spaces. GRG circulates an eNewsletter, including volunteer opportunities, fun events and progress reports.

Multiple reasons to learn more - and add your perspective to the public comment mix, by electronic survey if you can't make it to an Open House. Check out these active-living, nature-loving resources!

Music: Extremist Stomp, recorded live at KDHX by Pokey LaFarge and Ryan Spearman.

Feb 3, 2016

Today's Earthworms guest is one of the planet's most respected honeybee behaviorists, certainly a researcher and author whose bee-buzz is FUN (and useful!) to read. Dr. Thomas Dyer Seeley is Cornell University's Horace White Professor in Biology, in this biology powerhouse institution's Department of Neurology and Behavior. In more common terms, Tom Seeley is a scientist who loves honeybees and has learned deeply from bee colonies, domestic and wild. 

What is honeybee society? Is it "Democracy," really? What enables a Queen Bee to support the entire colony that she alone mothers? And what-all goes on with bees that, in turn, keep the colony going around the year, when nectar is flowing and when plants, water and earth are frozen . . . 

What's different about wild and domestic bee colonies? And what can today's avid amateur beekeepers (hundreds in St. Louis alone!) learn from wild honeybee populations, and potentially adapt to help domestic bee survival?


BeeSpeakSTL, our regional beekeeping speaker series, will host Tom Seeley here on Saturday February 27, 11 am - 3 pm at the Missouri Botanical Garden. May this Earthworms conversation pique your interest in hearing this Super Bee Guy's talks. Maybe you'll even step out and try the Apis melifera - Homo sapiens dance.

Our species share "Democracy" - yes, at least more or less - and Dancing, and for sure a taste for Sweetness. 


Thanks to Isabee's and BeeSpeakSTL.com for coordinating this interview.
Thanks to Haley and Andy for engineering.

Music: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 by J.S. Bach (a notable "B") performed by Kevin MacLeod.

Jan 27, 2016

The pope says Climate Change is real - so it must be true! Seriously: he calls humankind, in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si, to change our ways and protect "our common home."

In Earthworms' home St. Louis, the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help are hosting learning sessions to dig into this message and its personal meaning for everyday life. Sr. Rosalie Wisniewski and Sr. Cheryl Kemner join Jean Ponzi in this podcast's mini-exploration of the landmark papal call to environmental awareness and action. 

The Sisters' winter discussion series is part of their ministry since 2007, Franciscans For Earth. Activity includes their organic farm in DeSoto, MO, monthly screenings and discussions of local, national and international films on a wide range of enviro-topics - and luscious heirloom tomatoes grown with love and shared each summer at local farmers' markets.

Related Earthworms conversations:

Dr. Peter Raven, senior advisor to the Papal Academy of Science, talked about the climate encyclical - and his experience as it was crafted - just after its release (6-22-15).

The Franciscans' January film was "From the Pipeline" by St. Louis filmmaker Caitlin Zera whose documentary covers tar sands pipeline issues (1-6-16).

 Music: Hunter's Permit performed live at KDHX by Mr. Sun (3-13-14)

 

Jan 20, 2016

How much time do you spend in buildings? At work, at home, in places where we learn, play and pray:  experts figure we Americans are typically in buildings over 90% of our lives, not counting being inside vehicles!

The U.S. Green Building Council works toward a "built environment" that maintains our personal health, while also safeguarding water and air, minimizing waste of all kinds and using energy as efficiently as possible.  In St. Louis, USGBC's Missouri Gateway Chapter has been actively advancing these goals for 15 years. Earthworms congratulates USGBC MO Gateway, talking with Executive Director Emily Andrews and chapter leader Nick Bristow, a senior associate engineer with Forum Studios.

What effects has this green building work had in our area - economically, environmentally and for professionals involved in the green building movement? Hear all about it in this Earthworms podcast - and check out one (or more) of our USGBC chapter's regular programs in their anniversary year. Topics will range from "benchmarking" for energy efficiency (February), to wellness in buildings (March) to a "Sweet Sustainability" program in July spotlighting the green headquarters of the Mars Candy Company.

Music: The Exotic Future of Money by The Kinetics, recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis.

Jan 13, 2016

 

Humans and honeybees work together - as both hobby and livelihood!

As the Eastern Missouri Beekeeping Association (EMBA) prepares to host their 9th Annual Beekeeping Workshop on February 9th, Earthworms welcomes Bee advocates to the KDHX studios to talk about this hugely popular activity that also happens to sustain a lot of the food crops we enjoy. Guests are Scott Jackson, a St. Louis beekeeper and EMBA board member, and Mark Dykes, chief of the Apiary Inspection Service for the State of Texas and guest instructor for the upcoming EMBA workshop. 

The honeybee, Apis melifera, is not a U.S. native (Europeans brought their bees and hives to North America as early as the 1400s), but these fascinating insects and their complex society have established a super-productive niche here: pollinating one-third of our crops (dramatized in a Whole Foods produce section) and annually contributing to over $14 billion in crop production. But bee health issues -  including virroa mite infestations, Colony Collapse Disorder, pesticide use and habitat loss - are threatening this productivity.

Hobby beekeepers are truly helping to sustain honeybee vitality, while contributing to research aimed at sustainably protecting honeybees and their habitat. Could this BEE the year you join forces with these beneficial bugs? Hundreds of St. Louis area beekeepers will welcome you and help you build skills!

Music: "Remington Ride" performed by Western Satellites live at KDHX 1/15/11

Jan 6, 2016

Check the prices at gas pumps. Do we NEED to extract Tar Sands, the dirtiest, hardest-to-refine, lowest value, Carbon-belching petroleum squeezin' on the planet?

But we are, and St. Louis filmmaker Caitlin Zera has documented issues with transporting it, across Missouri on the 593 mile route called the Flanagan South Pipeline. It's run by Canadian fossil fuel delivery giant Enbridge, the folks behind a 2010 oil dump into the Kalamazoo River. Zera and her crew traveled the Flanagan Pipeline's route through Missouri, interviewing landowners, small-town civic officials, and environmental advocates about the process and permitting (or lax of it) associated with this pipeline - which typify tar sands pipelines anywhere. One of her goals in making this film is raising public awareness about tar sands pipelines and what actions we can take in the face of this petroleum-based bum deal.

From the Pipeline will be featured in five free local January screenings with Q & A, January 12 through 26, as part of the ongoing STL Eco Film Festival, a collaborative of local faith-based environmental groups. Find details and view a segment of the film at www.fromthepipelineproject.com

Zera returns to Earthworms tonight with this major film focus. We had the pleasure of talking with her in 2013 about her short feature End of Linea quirkly, loving portrait of two men and their devotion to typewriters. She works now (when not directing and producing) at the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, coordinating membership and events for this regional enviro-advocate organization. Thanks, Caitlin, for your perceptive, articulate, diligent efforts!

Music: Hunter's Permit by Mr. Sun - recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis

Dec 29, 2015

Sure, we gotta eat - but how we get the food we need needs big reforms. Our health and Earth's is directly linked to where food comes from and how it's grown. Food Policy is a tool to sustainably hoe all these necessary rows:

  • a living wage for farmers 
  • agriculture that protects and restores natural resources
  • healthy and affordable food for folks at every income level

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment now steps into this niche, coordinating a new St. Louis  regional Food Policy Coalition, thanks to a multi-year grant from the Missouri Foundation For Health. Melissa Vatterott - MCE's Food & Farm Coordinator - talks with Earthworms' host Jean Ponzi about the issues and opportunities she and her growing circle of partners are digging into, around the St. Louis Regional "Foodshed."

Food is the one environmental "issue" that can touch every human heart, engaging us in needed awareness and changes through stuff we all ENJOY and LOVE. 

Food Policy? Fork it over! And stay tuned to learn more, as these efforts grow.

Music: Magic 9 by Infamous Stringdusters - recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis

Recent Related Earthworms Conversations:

Dec 22, 2015

Global media of all stripes ably covered the recent COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. Earthworms contributes our part with this conversation with Dr. Jan Salick, Senior Curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden, who was invited by UNESCO to present at Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change, a pre-conference event in association with the Climate Summit.

Jan Salick has studied and learned from indigenous peoples for decades, in her work as an ethnobotanist for the Garden. Her focus is the cultural relationships between plants and human beings. She hosted the first international symposium on indigenous people and climate change, in 2007, at the Environmental Change Institute of Oxford University. Her knowledge and, most importantly, her perspective is deeply rooted.

From her years climbing around the Himalayas, and her current work on flatter ground on Cape Cod, Jan Salick is an articulate voice for the delicate balance both plants and indigenous people must maintain to survive the human-generated impacts on Earth's climate. As you can hear, a week or so after Jan's "life-changing experiences" in Paris during the climate events, she remains optimistic that people - like plants - can adapt, and that our species can make changes, to reduce our collective impacts.

Personal, hopeful, and informed by experience: this report amid many from the landmark meeting of 196 nations, that actually reached an agreement needed to guide our species' work - of which there is no bloomin' lack!

Music: Mayor Harrison's Fedora, performed at KDHX by Kevin Barkley and Ian Walsh

Dec 15, 2015

St. Louisan David Henry was fed up, back in 2013, with public indifference to climate change, and denial of the science defining climate issues. He wanted to shake his fellow humans by the scruff of the neck or, as he says, "at least figure out how they became such idiots."

David is a gentle, calm, thoughtful guy; really not a scruff-shaker. But he does care passionately about dealing with this key problem of our time. So he embarked on a one-man climate action: walking - over 1,000 miles - and having conversations with people he met, about climate change. A vivid feature of this trip was the cart he rigged to carry his stuff. It looked, inadvertently, like a giant white mailbox, with his Climate-Walker.org identity emblazoned on the side. This climate messenger had no trouble starting conversations!

David Walker

David Henry reported on his trip, fresh off the road, in a 2013 Earthworms conversation. Today, he shares the perspective he's gained in writing this tale, along with stories from his new book, David and the Giant Mailbox - Walking 1,000 Miles to Talk About Climate Change (2015, Good Boots Press)

David's climate of frustration has turned into a hopeful perspective, a resource we can sure use. And his determination to get us climate-dependent humans to ACT has not changed. 

Music: Audrey's Bounce, performed by Western Satellites in the studios of KDHX.

 

 

Dec 8, 2015

Chemistry is a fact of Earth Life, not a problem in itself. The increasingly persistent hitch is with the thousands of synthetic chemicals routinely used in making clothing, cosmetics, household products, electronic devices - even children's toys - and the toxic chemical soup in which we are all increasingly steeped.

Ken Geiser's new book, Chemicals Without Harm - Policies for a Sustainable World (2015, MIT Press), details issues associated with today's largely unregulated chemical use in all areas of manufacturing, especially in the U.S. More importantly, he lays out examples of policies and practices by which the chemical industry itself is moving toward a 21st Century "green chemistry" ethic. Emphasis: the power of consumer awareness and purchasing choices to drive policy and practice changes!

Ken Geiser  speaks and writes from depth of experience, as Professor Emeritus of Work Environment at the University of Massachusettes Lowell, founder of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, and as a Fellow of the U S Green Building Council, addressing Healthy Materials. He describes needed shifts in strategy, away from merely trying to control levels of exposure through regulation, and toward developing and adopting alternatives to hazardous chemicals, by applying sustainable values and design.

Consumer-awareness resources cited in this podcast include:

The Good Guide - Provides reviews of over 250,000 consumer products, based on scientific ratings; includes app for evaluating product choices on the go! Catch Earthworms' October 2014 conversation with Good Guide's chief scientist Bill Pease.

Skin Deep - Cosmetics database evaluated by Environmental Working Group.

Women's Voices for the Earth - Non-profit research and advocacy group, specifically focused on products affecting women's health.

The Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan - Consumer education, local services, advocacy addressing public health and safety policy. 

Silent Spring Institute - Partnership of scientists and citizens concerned about environmental links to breast cancer.

Music: Cadillac Desert by William Tyler, recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis

 

 

Dec 2, 2015

Canadian biologist Jessica Ernst worked in the oil and gas industry. When her well water became a flammable stew, she embarked on a fact-finding and legal campaign, now into a second decade, that's about to go to the Supreme Court. Her opponents: corporate fossil fuel giant Encana, the agency Alberta Environment, and the Energy Resources Conservation Board. At issue: just oversight of public resources (water!) and the accountability of both government and industry.

Earthworms podcast guest Andrew Nikiforuk tells this complex story in his new book Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider's Stand Against the World's Most Powerful Industry (2015, Greystone Books, published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation). Nikiforuk, a Canadian journalist, is a recipient of the prestigious Rachel Carson Environmental Book Award. He weaves a compelling report of Jessica Ernst's research and extraordinary citizen activism with the science of fracking and its wake of human and environmental repercussions.

The book is a page-turner. This conversation is an intelligent, compelling must-hear.

Music: Public Enemy Number One, recorded at KDHX by the Godfathers.

Nov 25, 2015

If we recognize Nature as most expert designer, how do our human designs compare?

Maybe not that well for overall health and sustainable benefits, given that our species lives in boxes and dumps our waste in our water supplies. But the legacy of an "evolutionary" like R. Buckminster Fuller is one force that continues to call forth the kinds of human design ideas needed to nudge us into real accord with our zillion kinds of neighbors on (as Bucky called it) Spaceship Earth.

Earthworms' Jean Ponzi talks today with J.P. Harpignies, a senior reviewer of ideas proposed to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, regarded as socially responsible design's highest award. The 2015 Challenge prize recently went to "Green Wave," the swimmingly intricate project of Nova Scotia fisherman Bren Smith, whose vision transforms a livelihood drowning from overfishing into a new kind of 3-D vertical underwater farming, conservation and restoration culture. The Challenge is the centerpiece of principles and work of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, the Brooklyn NY-based non-profit continuing the brilliant arc of its namesake's ideals.

Special thanks to Elizabeth Thompson, BFI Executive Director, and Megan Ahearn, Communications Coordinator, for arranging this conversation.

Music: Abdiel by Dave Black - recorded live at KDHX-St. Louis.

Nov 18, 2015

With the huge enviro-problems facing us today, wouldn't the best solutions be whoppers as well? Courtney White says smaller is working, WELL and NOW.

White is an Activist-turned Rancher-turned Green Idea Grower Supreme. He harvests 50 current success stories into his new book "Two Percent for the Planet: 50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech, Nature-Based Practices for Combatting Hunger, Drought and Climate Change" (2015, Chelsea Green). These inspiring pieces report on Ranching, Farming, Technology, Restoration and Wildness. Links in each section invite us to learn more and full-color photos illustrate each example of human partnership with nature.

This fun read expands on White's 2014 personal experience, also featured on Earthworms, in the book "Grass, Soil, Hope - A Journey Through Carbon Country" From the rancher whose "flerds" of sheep and cattle are restoring soil health and plant communities to San Francisco's use of human poop (aka "Night Soil") as healthy fertilizer, every chapter affirms ways we humans are by nature problem-solvers, and CAN collaborate productively with the Earth. 

Whopping good stuff!

Music: Rearview by Belle Starr, recorded live at KDHX.

Nov 10, 2015

 

How do you communicate about climate change, GMOs, ocean pollution and other such heavy stuff to move your fellow humans to notice, and even laugh at ourselves?

Joe Mohr does it in cartoons - and, for younger humans, in illustrated poems.

From his home in St. Louis, Joe's environmental cartoons have zinged out into such notable forums as YES! Magazine, The Progressive, Important Media, Cartoon Movement, and publications of Greenpeace and the Center for Media and Democracy.

His book of illustrated poems "Robot + Bike = Kitten" (2013 Treehouse Publishing) mobilizes surfer girls, fish, boogers, words with their vowels removed and much more to entertain, affirm and nudge kids and the grownups who read to them to act on Joe's "Minimum 29% Green Content." 

This Earthworms conversation invites your mind's eyeball to check out the viewpoint of a whiz illustrator drawing on ideas about the planet he loves. 

Music: Pokey LaFarge and Ryan Spearman - Extremist Stomp - recorded live at KDHX

Nov 4, 2015

In 2010, the Washington D.C. nonprofit Parks and People received a $2.7 million stimulus grant to generate a Green Corps of jobs by planting trees. The human stories from this effort are white and black, activist and unemployed, nature-promoting and nature-disconnected. The tree stories continue to grow around the community portrayed. 

City of Trees film producer Lance Kramer describes successes and shortcomings of these "green jobs" interactions, and the social initiatives that seeded them. He cites a modern factoid: 75-80% of Americans today who see a tree each day are seeing this "nature" in a city. Together with his brother Brandon Kramer, City of Trees director, he relates the importance of even imperfect efforts to nurture both human and tree viability.

This 2015 documentary screens on Sunday 11-8-15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Washington University Brown School of Social Work - Free - as one of several environmental films featured in the 24th annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival.

Music: Giant Steps - Dave Stone Trio, recorded live at KDHX

Nov 4, 2015

Today's nuclear industry was born in secrecy during World War II. St. Louis pitched in, refining the massive amounts of uranium used by the Manhattan Project. We have the world's oldest nuclear waste scattered around this community. 

St. Louis filmmaker Anthony West digs in and shows this complicated history, from workers (and the bosses) at the then-small Mallinckrodt Chemical Company, to federal agency officials, to today's on-edge residents living around radioactively contaminated West Lake Landfill that continues to make local to international news.

This cinematic story challenges our societal idea that there IS a "Safe Side of the Fence" and hopes to prompt viewers to engage with nuclear issues. 

The film screens Weds 11-11-15, 7 p.m. at St. Louis University - FREE - in the 24th annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival. Sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, an environmental group working to keep both public and planet safe in relation to nukes and many other issues.

Music: The Exotic Future of Money - Kinetics - Recorded live at KDHX

Oct 27, 2015

When the City of Arnold, MO had to remove an 1890 farmhouse to build a new municipal facility, they called the intrepid non-profit Refab to safely, responsibly take the old home apart and make its fine vintage materials available to appreciative new users, through resale.

Eric Schwarz - a young guy with good tools, Green vision and business sense - launched Refab just three years ago. He is building on experience gained while earning a Fine Arts degree, teaching about sustainability around STL, and managing sales and deconstruction for the Habitat For Humanity St. Louis ReStore. He's providing steady, well-paying jobs for veterans who need a hand, in a partnership with St. Patrick Center. And he's leading efforts to keep over 1,000 tons of useful stuff a year in use, instead of going to landfills.


Refab sells what they deconstruct: flooring, beadboard, and de-nailed lumber of all kinds; vintage plumbing and lighting fixtures, cabinets (carefully removed) - and more. Resale store prices make these items a great bargain for designers and builders of restaurants, new homes, and businesses with sustainable tastes.


This month Refab celebrates a big move to a new 30,000 ft2 warehouse at 3130 Gravois in St. Louis, recycling the former Union Brewery into working and sales space. Join the celebration on October 30 - and shop Refab's material treasures every Friday-Sunday, 9 am-5 pm. Your business supports this intrepid non-profit, giving new life to amazing stuff and jobs to guys who've served our country. And you get the goods and deals!

Music this podcast: Measure Once, recorded at KDHX 2011 by Matthew Van Doren. This is a woodworking musical pun for you, Eric - JP

Oct 19, 2015

With a river basin flowing through 31 states, the Mississippi drains Earth's fourth largest watershed, some say it's #3! A recent study of its revenue-generating power reported $405 billion bucks a year, supporting 1.3 million human jobs. It also supports phenomenal fish, plant and animal life - and millions of living creatures, including us, are drinking it every day.

It should get our attention, therefore, that a recent river Report Card brought home just a D+ average grade. Some bright spots for sure, but plenty of room for improvement. Mayors all along the river are taking notice - and taking action!

Colin Wellenkamp, this Earthworms podcast guest, is Executive Director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. He works with mayors of river towns from the Minnesota headwaters to the delta in New Orleans, and cities across the Mississippi Basin from the Rockies to the Alleghenies. Mayors are calling for a "River Basin" approach to understanding and addressing the issues behind that funky grade. They're speaking with one voice about the Mississippi's issues, and seeking cooperative ways to rebuild river infrastructure, protect river biodiversity and health - and promote enjoyment of a U.S. resource more popular with visitors from around the world than the Grand Canyon.

In this podcast you'll hear stunning facts about the Mississippi River's value and power - and ways you can join a rising tide of appreciation and support for this planetary treasure.

Music: Balkan Twirl 

 

Oct 13, 2015

Sorry about you, little pale bulbs in the grocery store package! Slow Food St. Louis aims to get a bunch of the SIX HUNDRED varieties of heirloom garlic growing and thriving and feeding us here by "Crop-Sourcing" Project Garlic.


Brian DeSmet, Slow Food St. Louis board member and GardenWorks Manager for Schlafly Brewing, tells all - OK, a LOT - about this super-food, a plant that's super-easy to grow, a part of human eating pleasure for more than 7,000 years!

Launching its second year this month, Project Garlic is recruiting dozens of home gardeners, local farmers and foodies willing to dig in the dirt. Slow Food has purchased heirloom garlic varieties from Baker Creek Seeds and Filaree Garlic Farm. They're giving bulbs to growers, who'll return bulb stock from next summer's harvest. Result? This plant's amazing variety of subtle flavors blooms with biodiversity here through Farmers' Markets, CSAs . . . maybe even into those grocery store aisles.

Hardneck, Softneck - Allium bulb - Stripey, Turbaned, Rocambole -  Join the Garlic growing club!

Music: Cookie Mouth by The Provels

Oct 6, 2015

Water is our most valuable resource, essential to everything we do in life, for every living thing. Yet the systems - the infrastructure that delivers and cleans our water, and the natural systems that provide it - are invisible to most of us. Water is life - water is FUN! Let's turn on some water-savvy stewardship and good ole' water sense.

Radhika Fox, CEO of the U.S. Water Alliance and Director of the Value of Water Coalition, is leading a national education effort called "Imagine a Day Without Water" to irrigate everyone's power to protect our water supplies. Ms. Fox talks with jean Ponzi about water supply challenges our nation must address, and ways that our communities are innovating water system protection and conservation measures.

Want to learn more? Download a "What's the Value of Water Toolkit" for your school, faith community, business or home.

Thanks to you, H20 - Cheers!

Music: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 - J.S. Bach

Sep 30, 2015

A Pawpaw looks like a mango, tastes like banana custard, grows across the broad range of 26 U.S. states, shows up in fossil records from 56 million years ago! Gardener and writer Andrew Moore's new book dishes the amazing story of this versatile fruit and the handsome tree that produces it. 

What happened in recent history to drop the Pawpaw off our cultural menu, when it had been so well loved (and spooned up) by Native Americans, enslaved Africans - even 20th century opponents of Prohibition? And what potentials is the Pawpaw offering today for local food economies, cocktail wizards and even cancer researchers?

Hear this great story - and consider a couple of Pawpaw trees to plant some tasty biodiversity where you live. Forgotten fruit? Earthworms is thinking that's history!

Sep 23, 2015

Clif Bar wrappers, shampoo tubes, chip bags - even cigarette butts? TerraCycle accepts and recycles them all! At the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the in-house Green Team makes this sustainability service available to employees and volunteers.

Hear how from Joyce Gorrell, Sustainability Events Coordinator for the Garden's EarthWays Center. But be forewarned: you may catch the TerraCycling bug for your school, business, church or institution. If you do, tell 'em Earthworms sent you!

And - hear the intrepid story of Terracycle direct from its founder, Tom Szaky in Earthworms exclusive conversation with this Recycling Rock Star! 

Sep 23, 2015

As a Princeton student in 2001, Tom Szaky packaged and sold the liquified worm poop he produced to super-feed special plants. From those beginnings (including selling to the  "world's largest retailer" in reused plastic bottles purchased from school kids) Tom founded Terracycle, a powerhouse non-profit where "up-cycling" resourcefulness is Eliminating the Idea of Waste®.

Innovator, entrepreneur, media figure Tom Szaky is an Environmental Rock Star! He spoke in September 2015 to the Missouri Recycling Association Conference - and to Earthworms host Jean Ponzi in this extended one-on-one conversation. Don't miss it!

Tom talks about the "why" and impressive impacts of Terracycle's unique material collection and repurposing systems. Jean also talks with Joyce Gorrell, her colleague at the Missouri Botanical Garden, who serves on the Garden's Green Team and manages an extensive internal Terracycle practice for Garden employees.

TerraCycle works with more than 100 major brands in the U.S. and 22 countries overseas to collect used packaging and products that would otherwise be destined for landfills. It repurposes that waste into new, innovative materials and products that are available online and through major retailers. Thousands of school, business and community organizations TerraCycle, around the world.

Sep 2, 2015

What if the grains we eat could be grown in a biodiverse ecosystem - like a prairie - instead of fossil fuel and chemical-intensive row-cropping? The Land Institute, a research non-profit in Salina, Kansas, has been working wth plants to achive this goal for nearly 40 years.

As TLI's founder and president Wes Jackson explains, humankind's decision (10,000 years ago!) to eat annual, instead of perennial, plants has spawned an agriculture that rips up the Earth and overwhelms natural communities. But his team's work is showing the way to reverse  these consequences, by crossing our grain mainstays with their wild perennial relatives.

It's a ground-restoring body of work! 

          

Wes and Joan Jackson welcome Jean Ponzi for a tour and interview.

This conversation, recorded on Earthworms' Summer Vacation, is a very special one-on-one with one of the environmental greats of our time, biologist Wes Jackson.

Learn more - and contribute your perspective at The Land Institute's annual Prairie Festival in Salina, KS  - September 25-17, 2015

Aug 26, 2015

What's in those cleaning products under your sink - and in your school, workplace or church closet? Chemicals of all kinds. Many beneficial, many more harmful to human and environmental health. The U.S. EPA has a new evaluation and labeling program to help Americans make a Safer Choice. This label on a product tells you at a glance that a host of significant science-based factors have been documented to earn the right to market as a Safer Choice.

Marcus Rivas, environmental engineer with the U.S. EPA's Region VII office (Earthworms host Jean Ponzi's and longtime esteemed colleague/Green Pal) tells the why, how, what and more about kind of products used around us every day - and how Safer Choice can help individuals and businesses safeguard health. Our tax dollars at work!

Can your business use a Pollution Prevention Intern?  EPA's Pollution Prevention (P2) program also works with universities nation-wide to support professional training for students and sustainability implementation and documentation for businesses.

Music: "Washboard Suzie" by Zydeco Crawdaddies - from "KDHX Music Sampler Vol. 1" (1999)

 

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