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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Aug 22, 2018

When a chance college dorm meeting prompts parlay about urban ag and life's design, can a live/work partnership based on decay, and inspired by nature, be far behind?

In the everyday and enterprise of Tim Kiefer and Beth Grolmes-Kiefer, for sure YES.

These two purposeful young sustainably-focused city residents are putting their ideals to work, raising and selling the outputs of hens, and transforming vacant property from poison-ivy infestation to rich-soil productivity. How? Primarily by collecting to rot the kitchen and garden scraps of others.

Perennial City Composting is a novel subscription service, providing St. Louis City and central-county area customers with regular organic waste pickup. Their on-the-road amenity feeds abandoned lot soil toward Tim and Beth's near-term goal of NOURISHing their subscribers with veggies from the composted scraps these same folks pay them to haul away.


This Earthworms conversation spotlights the Kiefer's unique, hard-working and visionary efforts, while also enlightening Beth and Tim to options host Jean Ponzi knows from her STL work and previous shows.

Listeners: Be ready to Rot & Roll!

Music: Jingle Bells - played live at KDHX by the Civiltones

Earthworms is honored by engineering this week from Andy Coco, host of KDHX Rhythm Section and station Production Director. THANKS!

Related Earthworms Conversations:

Elaine Ingham: Soil Science Rocks Plant Health (Nov 2017)Fungus Farming for Food & Fun - McCully Heritage Project (Feb 2018)

Food Policy Coalition Grows Health & Resouces (Dec 2015)The Easy Chicken - Fowl Fun Comes to You (Dec 2016)




Aug 14, 2018

Alicia and Josh Davis are farmers (and both are, by training, engineers) on a plot they call Green Finned Hippy Farm, near Pocohontas, Illinois.

They started life together, and their farming ambition, aquaponically raising ("green," finned) Tilapia fish. That was 2010. Today their rural 18 acres support hens in pasture, their family of three (son Bean was born there), organic veggie beds, and herds of goats and of the endangered heirloom American Mulefoot Hog.


Resourceful and determined, Josh and Alicia are figuring out farming as they go - helped by the Internet and their family-farming heritage. Innovations like their chicken truck and egg-washing apparatus continue to sprout, making their hard work more efficient. Farm events like Goat Yoga, Sips & Snuggles Baby Goat Happy Hour, and the truly sacramental Swine and Dine are growing their network of customers and friends.


Where there are now is inspiring. Where they aspire to be in 10 years, Josh sums up: "I envision a community where we're Their Farmer, like someone is Their Doctor." Alicia adds: "Our hog program is a conservation effort. We selectively breed to produce excellent genetics. Our hope is that by humanely bringing this animal back to the table, we can remove it from the critically endangered list."

Having this Earthworms conversation - and reading Josh and Alicia's blogs - I am in awe. These beautiful humans are working so hard to preserve and restore both a species of fellow living creature, and an essential way of life. Enjoy their story - and try their food!

Music: Washboard Suzie, played live at KDHX by Zydeco Crawdaddies

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Slow Money: Woody Tasch on Investing in Food and Soil (July 2018)

Fungus Farming for Food & Fun (February 2018)

A Climatic Ode to Seed Savers (November 2016)

Alpacas of Troy: Sustainable Farming on the Hoof (July 2016)

Urban Agriculture Guide: New Tool for City Farmers (June 2016)

The Easy Chicken: Fowl Fun Comes to YOU (December 2017)


Jul 31, 2018

Winter weather brings out fleets of vehicles working to keep roads clear and parking lots free of icy hazards. But run-off of the salt and chemicals used will harm the life in creeks and streams.

Biologist Danelle Haake has researched options to treat slippery pavement without compromising her ecological focus, water quality. "Brining" uses conventional road salt, dissolved, in much smaller quantities.  Her findings are informing local decisions with data on salt concentration in streams during icy-road treatment periods.

Her perspective can help officials and citizens alike care for aquatic critter health.

This Earthworms conversation affirms the importance of urban and suburban streams and supports transportation safety efforts.

Local presentations on this topic are open to the public. Summer is the time to consider ecological winter road maintenance..

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms audio engineer.

Music: Inferno Reel, performed live at KDHX by Matt Finner

Jul 24, 2018

Investment pro Woody Tasch is evolving his own field.

Profoundly inspired by the nature of soil - yes, that BROWN stuff we typically march right over - his work serves its loamy muse by plowing, so to speak, "Nurture Capital" directly into the Local/Sustainable Food movement, yielding ROI of healthier soil and stronger local community economics and culture. He calls this prophet-able enterprise Slow Money.


Woody Tasch's turns of phrase and process grew an investment movement from his publication a decade ago of the now-classic Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money - Investing As If Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered. 

Now he is structuring SOIL, Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally. He articulates how and why the transformative aim of this economic system works in his mytho-poetic and colossally detailed new book SOIL 2017 - Notes Toward the Theory and Practice of Nurture Capital.

Tasch is the bard of a new economic saga, the story of bringing our human relations with money soundly back to Earth. His work is surely, slowly meeting a "lively serious," planetary-scale human need.

Music: The Exotic Future of Money, performed live at KDHX by Kinetics
THANK YOU Anna Holland, engineer for Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations: The Genuine Progress Indicator with Dr. Eric Zencey (March 2015) 

2% Solutions for the Planet, Courtney White's Super Stories of Green Innovation (Oct 2015) 

Slow Food St. Louis Project Garlic (October 2015)

Jul 17, 2018

Grown locally and designed in-season. Using nature's diversity of shapes, textures and hues in pods and leaves as well as vivid blossoms. Keeping plastic and other material waste to a minimum.

The trend in SLOW FLOWERS embraces all of these. Gardener turned floral business owner Kate Estwing makes these ideals (and more) work, beautifully, in her St. Louis enterprise City House Country Mouse.


Floral artistry that can sustainably bedeck a wedding as easily as creating a planter box of succulents adds value to a service that everyone enjoys. And the values at work for Estwing help grow a bouquet of community resources along with her business!


Open House August 16-18 at the new City House Country Mouse studio, 2105 Marconi Avenue on The Hill in St. Louis! Retail hours there are coming soon.

Yes! this is Kate Estwing of Beep Beep Boop Boop, the popular KDHX radio show; Kate has also served as Program Director for KDHX.

Music: Clavinova, performed live at KDHX by Messy Jiverson

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Urban Buds with flower farmers Mimo Davis and Miranda Duschack (February 2015)

Jul 10, 2018

Missourians, meet our native neighbor: Ursus americanus. And meet Laura Conlee, Furbearer Biologist and Resource Scientist with the MO Department of Conservation, a true appreciator of bears.


Photos from MDC Black Bear Research Cam - 2017

Black bears (who can be brown, ruddy and even sort of blonde) have always roamed the Show-Me State (OK, maybe only after Mastodons), but by the early 1900s their numbers had dived. Introduction of bears from northern populations through an Arkansas Game & Fish program in the 1950s and '60s reinvigorated the Missouri Ozarks with vital black bear roles in healthy forest ecosystems.

By 2010, it was time to count MO bears. The MDC Bear Project now annually evaluates black bear reproduction and survival. Note: the bears in these field work-up photos are FINE! Laura Conlee and her skilled team are taking great care with the animals they're handling.


This research collaboration - among specialists in wildlife and habitat biology, landowner relations, public education and more - is tracking multiple factors to better understand and support the animals. Bear data is one element of a new MDC Research Website, created to share this agency's expert knowledge with colleagues and with all of us!

Check out MDC's new Bear Story Map to get a really cool feel for these beautiful creatures, and the research our state's conservation science teams are engaged in.

Going out hiking or camping into bear territory? Or if you're concerned about recent bear reports near our metro area borders, become BEAR AWARE with important advice from MDC advocates for healthy populations of humans AND bears!

Music: Hunter's Permit, performed live at KDHX by Mr. Sun

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering for Earthworms, and to Dan Zarlenga, communications maven for MDC.

Jul 3, 2018

7.6 billion and growing. Human beings on Earth, that is. But talking Population in enviro-circles is not the topic at top of mind. More like on edge of biases.

So the Population Media Center, based in VT USA., marshals Entertainment-Power in societies world-wide (local writers, actors, production companies), to educate through stories of Love, Sex, Triumph, Betrayal and all the kinds of drama-rama that WILL make an impression among our kind. PMC data shows these shows are changing values, and influencing policy. Big work from soaps!

This year PMC celebrates 20 Years of this innovative, globally-partnered service. Joe Bish, PMC Director of Issue Advocacy, returns to Earthworms with a report on how this important work is going.


#RidiculousRight?! is PMC's awareness campaign for World Population Day 2018. The international focus for WPD this year is Family Planning is a Human Right. Throughout July, this hashtag will circulate ridiculous policies and investments contrasted with the value of family planning action and education. Chime in!

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations:
DRAWDOWN: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (March 2018)

World Population Day 2017 (July 2017)

Jun 26, 2018

Plans and discussions rolled around our town for years. How could we make Bike-Sharing services feasible here in The Lou?


In April, 2018 - just in time for Earth Day! - the cycle-access techno-breakthrough that is Limebike sped past barriers, onto our streets. Today, that first neon fleet of 1,500 Limebikes has multiplied. These Global Cooling Devices and humans of all kinds are moving each other around STL, safely and sustainably, at public attractions and in our city neighborhoods.

David Woronets, Lime Operations Manager, details how Lime is peddling Smart Mobility with great success, and how St. Louis is leading the pack of U.S. Lime markets.

Down the road? Lime electric scooters - and more!

Music: Deep Gap, performed live at KDHX by Marisa Anderson

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

More Earthworms Conversational Cruises:

Trekking Green: Big Adventure, Tiny Footprint (August 2015)
STL Metro Market: Grocery Story in a Bus (June 2015)
Trailnet's New Vision (March 2016)
American Solar Challenge: Local Roadracing Teams (June 2016)

Great Rivers Greenway St Louis Bike Routes (April 2015)

RideFinders: Carpooling Made E-Z (May 2018)


Jun 12, 2018

Brothers Jeff and Randy Vines are turning 40 (local-speak sez Farty).

Their upbeat, Ham-on-Wry style  - and their business STL-Style - helps power the ultra-diverse, collaborative renewal of their city 'hood, Cherokee Street.


These sons of STL suburbia, who went into advertising, know how to put their love of City into action. Their choice of digs on Cherokee, in South St. Louis, is a perfect place to invest their prodigious love-work resources. And to hawk the "St. Louis inspired apparel, merch and curiosities" that deck their corner store.

This conversation is a valentine to City of St. Louis life, from these uber-articulate bros and City-dweller Earthworms host Jean Ponzi.

New bedazzle on Vines' place is the eye-popping swirly-hue giant mural by daughter-father artist team Liza Fishbone and Robert Fishbone. A Fartieth BD present to themselves gifts big beauty to their City too!

More Art-Related Earthworms: Enviro-Cartoonist Joe Mohr (November 2015)

Joan Lipkin: Theater Takes On Climate Change (October 2017)

Filmmaker Caitlin Zera: From The Pipeline (January 2016)

Chalk Riot: Woman-Powered Street Art (May 2018)

Music: Cherokee Nights, performed live at KDHX by Messy Jiverson

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering Earthworms

Jun 6, 2018

When a material (like paper) or a container (like a bottle or a can) has served its original purpose and still has useful life remaining, that material will remain in use as ingredients in recycled-content products - if you put it in your recycling bin. But not everything should go in that bin.
Bob Henkel manages Recycling On The Go for St. Louis Earth Day. He has BIN there & done that Green thang at hundreds of events, with thousand of humans. He know his recycling stuff. So does Earthworms host Jean Ponzi.

This conversation sorts through - literally! - what can and cannot be recycled, and why it's important not to use that Blue Bin as a catch-all for stuff you WISH could continue to be useful, if somebody else does something with it. 

Coming up June 30, 2018: the second Recycling Extravaganza collection this year for hard-to-recycle stuff. Check it out - and remember to ONLY bring what will be accepted!

Global market shifts are puttin' the squeeze on our recycling industry. We need to work together with our recycling service pros to keep this fundamental Green activity functioning, solvent and useful.

Got Sustainable Living questions? Missouri Botanical Garden's Green Resources Answer Service will give you any possible reuse and recycling options for other stuff - plus advice on more, FREE!

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

THANKS to Earthworms engineer, Ms. Anna Holland.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Life Without Plastic? (January 2018 and Barge-Based Trash Basher Chad Pregracke (March 2017)


May 30, 2018

Artists Chelsea Ritter-Soronen and Liza Fishbone are so down with taking art to the streets. Literally. On the pavement.   


From their home bases in Napa, St. Louis and Austin they meet up in cities everywhere to transform our concrete jungles into vivid works that draw you in. Literally! ChalkRiot's mastery of anamorphic visuals, done in ephemerally dusty chalk or persistent paint, create a riot of art that celebrates special events, delivers a message, and grounds Art-Girl Power in stunning, funny, intentional ways. ChalkRiot work vividly explores themes of Love, Technology, the Environment, Women-Strong, Aliens, Pink Bunnies, Justice and more.


Newest project Pavement Portals is ChalkRiot's ground-busting foray into Augmented Reality: your phone or tablet view of three fantastic Fortune Telling Machines jumps off floor canvas into scintillating, bubbly life. Look for a St. Louis media buzz around this work to amp up in other cities soon!

Photo credits: RJ Hartbeck Basil Tsimoyanis, Art St. Louis

Music: Jingle Bells, performed live at KDHX by CivilTones
THANKS to Anna Holland for Audio-Girl Powering Earthworms.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Artists Take on Plastic Pollution and Invasive Bush Honeysuckle (March 2018)

May 22, 2018

What stops you from considering a Carpool? Have to know someone who lives near you, who works where you do? Have to do it every day or it doesn't count? How can you get home in an emergency if you don't have your own car?

RideFinders has all this covered, and more - including their database of over 16,000 peeps, living and going to work or school, all over the St. Louis metro area. Some of them can be carpool partners for you!

Joe Wright shares the Carpooling how-to from experience, as well as his job directing RideFinders, our regional ride-sharing agency. This FREE service has been matching commuters in convenient, $$ and personal energy saving everyday travel partnerships since 1994.


RideFinders is supported by federal highway funds designated to help clean up St. Louis air by reducing the ratio of cars to persons traveling around our regional "Airshed." Services include FREE membership for companies, universities and other organizations with many possible RideFinders participants, FREE sign-ups for these individuals, FREE taxi service up to 4 times per year as a Guaranteed Ride Home, and FREE workplace presentations about how easy and beneficial Carpooling is.

Consider Carpooling (or joining a Vanpool) for any number of days of your weekly commute. And encourage your employer - or campus Office of Student Affairs - to join and promote RideFinders options.

Special for this summer's Air Quality season: add a new person to your current carpool, or start a new carpool and you'll be entered to win memberships, free passes and other summer-fun goodies in the RideFinders Museum Mania Carpool Challenge.

In a Carpool or Vanpool the benefits will add up way faster than the miles, as you Get Around Greener!

P.S. Informally carpooling counts too! Make it a habit for workplace meetings and social events.

Music: Lime House Blues, performed live at KDHX by legendary Del McCoury

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering this edition of Earthworms


May 15, 2018

On April 22, 1970, a conservative senator from Wisconsin led a diverse, national circle of organizers is bringing public attention to environmental issues of the day. Earth Day has since become the largest civic event on the planet its events strives to protect.


Dr. Adam Rome, Professor of History at SUNY Buffalo, has made a passionate study of this worldwide phenomenon. He shares insights from his 2013 book, "The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-In Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation." 

Earthworms host Jean Ponzi swaps Earth Day bits with Dr. Rome from her experience as coordinator of the 20th annual Earth Day Festival in 1990, that helped launch today's vibrant St. Louis Green culture.

Adam Rome will be in St. Louis on May 24 to give the capstone presentation in the 2018 Environmental History Speaker Series. This is a free talk at 7 pm at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

Music: Modern Andy Down - performed live at KDHX

Thanks to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer, and to Stephen Hanpeter, Sappington Concord Historical Society.

Related Earthworms Conversations: David and the Giant Mailbox, December 2015 - "Climate Walker" David Henry also presented in this 2018 Environmental History Speaker Series.
Earth Day St. Louis, April 2018


May 1, 2018

Once one of the wildest rivers of North America, some now call it the Missouri Canal. It has been dammed, dredged, cursed as it flooded, pinched between levees, straightened - and yet humans from many walks of life are dedicated to helping this river survive, and even maybe re-wild it a little bit.


Thomas Ball talks with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi as an individual engaged in the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (he says "Mister RIC"). He's also active in the Sierra Club's Missouri River work  Sierra Club originally filed to get the Pallid Sturgeon, a prehistoric MO River fish protected by the Endangered Species Act.


He brings to our attention two bills moving through Congress that would prohibit citizens from doing this for future threatened species: HB 2134 and SB 935. River lovers: consider action here.

Ball has taken countless humans - youth and adults - out on this river, and on other outdoor adventures. He loves nature, loves the big rivers, and persists in working with his fellow humans to right our actions that have crippled natural forces like the MO, actions which ultimately endanger us. He persists through knowledge, science, collaboration - and that big love. 

Music: Big Piney Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
THANKS and welcome back Anna Holland, engineer & tennis champ

Related Earthworms Conversations: Water Issues: Meddling, Muddling, Advocacy (Dec 2017)

Cooperation for Water Security (Oct 2017)

Invest in Infrastructure, Nature's and Ours (April 2017)

Barge-Based Trash-Basher Chad Pregracke (May 2017)


Apr 24, 2018

Subtitle of the new book by Seamus McGraw is Making of the American Water Crisis. McGraw turns his curiosity and storytelling skills to focus on Texas, where he says every aspect of water use, issues, needs and potentials are in play. 


 From a state he says is more like an Empire, where multiple desert climates overlay multiple aquifers, where water use planning and water rights laws still work in a form of frontier justice - what can we learn about how diverse interests might cooperate to equitably manage what all parties need? Water is life, but can people work out ways to share it?


 Left Bank Books, STL's premier independent bookseller, will host Seamus McDaniel on May 1 for a reading and book-signing. A Thirsty Land (2018) comes from University of Texas Press.

Music: Cadillac Desert performed live at KDHX by William Tyler

THANKS to Dan Waterman and Andy Coco, engineering this edition of Earthworms.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Water Issues - Meddling, Muddling, Advocacy (Dec 2017)

Mississippi River Infrastructure Investment Plan (April 2017)


Apr 17, 2018

The 2016 book Climate of Hope conveys a broad, powerfully encouraging view from a longtime environmental champion, Carl Pope - former Sierra Club national Director - and his co-author Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist and former Mayor of New York. 


This report on civic, economic, business and cultural alliances proclaims what Pope calls "Bottom-Up Climate Progress" even as U.S. federal leadership rolls back climate protections. Pope's perspective aims to foster citizen engagement and especially locally-based actions to boost clean energy and curb climate disrupting emissions from many sources.

Carl Pope comes to St. Louis on Monday April 23, as Keynote Speaker for the Saint Louis University Climate Summit.

Music: Cadillac Desert, performed live at KDHX by William Tyler

THANKS to Dan Waterman and Andy Coco. engineering for Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations: Project DRAWDOWN (March 2018)

Dr. Peter Raven, Science advisor to Papal Academy and Climate Encyclical (June 2015)

David and the Giant Mailbox: Climate Conversations (December 2015)

Apr 3, 2018

Caring for our planet is fun when St. Louis Earth Day's intrepid crew leads the action!


On April 21-22 the 29th annual Earth Day Festival will fill the sunny, leafy environs around The Muny in our town's Forest Park with learning, music, food, people-watching and you-can-do options for all ages. Free and fabulous, this event is one of the largest Earth Day festivals on the planet!                                                         


The non-profit hosts of this Green gala also coordinate waste-reducing services year-round, from Recycling Extravaganza's annual spring-cleaning support to Recycling On The Go teams that bring food waste composting, single-stream recycling and public education to festivals of all kinds.

Check out volunteer opportunities with St. Louis Earth Day - they are rewarding, impactful and always well organized!

Thanks to Jen Myerscough, St. Louis Earth Day Executive Director, and Bob Henkel, who heads up Recycling On The Go, for joining this Earthworms edition.

Music: Extremist Stomp, performed live at KDHX by Pokey LaFarge and Ryan Spearman
THANKS to Andy Coco, engineering Earthworms this week with assistance from Dan Waterman.
Related Earthworms Conversations: 2018 Green Challenges Worth Taking! (March 2018)

Mar 24, 2018

With Earth Day coming up, we are challenged by a lot of "you can do." Individual efforts matter, but how much?

Earthworms endorses two challenges that WILL have an impact, in our lives and for our planet.

The DRAWDOWN Eco-Challenge, running nationally April 4-25, builds on ten years of eco-challenge experience from Northwest Earth institute to engage individual actions. Multiplying impacts, this 2018 challenge correlates our actions to the measures mapped, measured and prioritized by Project DRAWDOWN for collective capacity to pull climate-changing carbon out of Earth's atmosphere. Lacy Cagle, Director of Learning for NWEI, shares these potentials with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi.


Then from April 27-30, residents of the St. Louis region - and 65 other cities around the WORLD - can contribute to understanding about local biodiversity by participating in the City Nature Challenge, as described by Earthworms guest Sheila Voss, VP of Education at the Missouri Botanical Garden .


Using the (totally terrific!) app iNaturalist, humans of all ages can log observations of plants and critters as communities "compete" to gather intel about local biodiversity. In St. Louis, observations logged during City Nature Challenge days will establish a baseline of biodiversity data crucial to address regional nature-preservation goals.

In Earthworms' opinion, these are two Challenges WORTH TAKING!

Music: Rearview performed live at KDHX by Belle Star

THANKS to Anna Holland, ace Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations:
DRAWDOWN Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (March 2018)

Learning Green: Northwest Earth Institute (October 2017)



Mar 20, 2018

When Artists address environmental issues, people see/hear them in new ways. Art may fire us into action, more than mere info ever can.


Jenny Kettler co-curated and has pieces in a group gallery show, Plastic Nation - The Trashing of America, on view through April 7 at Stone Spiral Gallery in Maplewood, MO. Photographs, multi-media works, ceramics and prints navigate the plastic tide we are awash in, with the message that we can reduce our use of this polluting stuff. This show opened March 10; a Closing Reception on April 7 from 2-4 pm will feature Artist Talks at 2:30 pm.

Dale Dufer is bringing "suit" against one of our region's most destructive yet popular invasive plants. The Trial of Bush Honeysuckle comes to the historic Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis on Wednesday, April 4 at 1 pm. With a real Judge, real Environmental Lawyers and Expert Witnesses, this educational trial seeks justice for damages to the Biodiversity of our Native Plants.  Man vs Bush should be a landmark case, whatever the outcome. Open to the public.

These Artists want us to look deeply into problems we have created on our planet - with a sense of humor to encourage us toward turnarounds.

Music: Mr. Sun, performed live at KDHX by Hunter's Permit
THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms podcast engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Life Without Plastic? (January 2018)

Fashion Through an Artists Eye: Bush Honeysuckle to Meat (April 2016)

Permaculture Goes Beyond the War on Invasive Species (March 2016)

Invasive Bush Honeysuckle: SWEEP It! (March 2016)

Mar 12, 2018

"Global warming is changing the Himalayas faster than any other region of the world, outside the polar caps," says documentary photographer Neeta Satam.


She has made three working treks to the isolated village of Kumik, in the Zanskar valley of Kashmir, where village life, family relations and culture is endangered as climatic shifts remove water from a people who've lived in balance in this region for thousands of years.

"Where should we go?" is one of many stories Satam relates through her perceptions as an environmental scientist, and now through her mastery with a camera lens.

Satam's compassion, insight and courage illuminate her work, as she strives to make the world aware of impacts of Climate Change on human beings in places being hardest hit.

THANKS to Prof. William Allen, University of Missouri, for making the connection to Earthworms for this interview.

Music: Dirty Slide, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran
Thanks to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Plants, Indigenous People and Climate Change - Dr. Jan Salick, ethnobotanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden (December 2015)

Mar 7, 2018

Humans are pumping CO2 (and other heat-trapping gases) into Earth's atmosphere, causing whopping changes to our climate, aka global warming.

Project DRAWDOWN says (and documents with data) that actions currently in use can, if combined and ramped up, literally draw down over-concentrations of these gases into Earth systems (like soil, trees, oceans) designed to contain them. And reverse global warming.


Chad Frischmann, VP and Research Director for Project DRAWDOWN, worked with multi-disciplinary professionals who have researched the potentials of measures ranging from increasing renewable energy generation to people eating plant-based diets to educating girls - and more. Erika Boeing, now based in St. Louis, is one of the DRAWDOWN Research Fellows and her company, Accelerate Wind, is developing technology to boost wind energy production.

The entire project is summarized in a 2017 book that immediately hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

A St. Louis talk on March 13 will spotlight four Missouri enterprises implementing measures defined by DRAWDOWN, including Ms. Boeing's work, and will describe the audience to Project DRAWDOWN.

With plenty of work needed, this project is seeding optimism in what world leaders and scientists call the moral issue of our time.

Music: Cadillac Desert, performed live at KDHX by William Tyler

THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering for Earthworms

Related Earthworms Conversations: Dr. Peter Raven, St. Louis advisor to Papal Encyclical on Climate Change (June 2015)

Feb 28, 2018

For any Catholic parish, a Fish Fry cooks up fun and some revenue during the season of Lent. At Holy Redeemer in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves, a portion of that green potential is being invested in Green education-by-example, led by two Moms.


Jamie Hasemeier, Earthworms guest (pictured right, photo by Dave Leuking), came to "Holy" with strong personal environmental values. She wants to contribute in every way to a healthy world for her four children - and for her fellow humans everywhere. When Jamie teamed with fellow Mom Lisa Reed, who runs the church's annual Fish Fry, she worked through several cycles of Lent to cook sustainability into those events.

Students educate guests about low-waste eating as they direct diners to correctly recycle and compost. Results of these efforts included less than 2 bags of landfill trash from each of 2017's Fish Fry evenings - that each served over 750. Green efforts continue growing!

Features in the St. Louis Review, an archdiocesan publication, and the St. Louis Green Dining Alliance blog helped boost attendance in 2017, when these dinners went Compostable. Trays going into yellow Compost bins are not Styrofoam - they are plastics made from plants.

Other parishes are acting on the Holy Redeemer Green example, set by Mothers who love Earth - and act on their faith.

Music: Rearview, performed live at KDHX by Belle Star

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms skillful, tasteful engineer

Related Earthworms Conversations: Laudato Si, understanding Care for Our Common Home, with Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (January 2016)

Dr. Peter Raven, science advisor to Pope Francis' Climate Change encyclical (June 2015)

Feb 14, 2018

Illinois tourism writers call it a "best-kept secret." Visitors review it as a great place to camp, hike and learn some things. Director (and Earthworms guest) Michelle Berg Vogel says its a working farm and an environmental education place. And in March, a Fungus Farm!


McCully Heritage Project, located in Kampsville, IL, is a nature haven at the Illinois-Mississippi Rivers' confluence. Its 940 acres are mainly forested, with native trees and plenty of native wildlife. Native - and visiting - humans thrive there too.

On Saturday March 3, folks who fancy gardening can learn an Agroforestry skill: growing mushrooms on logs. Green oak logs, innoculated with mushroom spawn, sprout Shitakes, and softwood logs support the growth of Oyster mushrooms. Both delicious, nutritious - and easy to produce. Fun with fungus, anyone?


Music: Redwing, performed live at KDHX by Currykorn

THANKS to Jon Valley, engineering this Earthworms edition

Feb 7, 2018

Heading west from St. Louis on I-64, just over the Missouri River bridge, bluffs rise and land rolls. There is a golf course (hard to see) and a corporate campus area. With a St. Charles County zoning change, a high-density 350 luxury home development could soon alter 200 of these bluff acres.

Conservationist and landowner Dan Burkhardt, guest for this Earthworms edition, was surprised in December to learn that bluff property owned by the University of Missouri was in a sale process to a home developer. His Katy Land Trust was formed to prevent just this kind of move. Adjacent to the Busch and Weldon Spring Conservation Areas - land purchased and given into care of the Missouri Department of Conservation in the 1950s and 70s respectively - the forested Missouri Bluffs acreage in question is currently zoned Agricultural.


The outcome of a public hearing on February 21 by the St. Charles County Planning and Zoning Commission is key to a requested zoning change to Medium- and High-Density Residential, to accommodate the proposed development. The Katy Land Trust is leading opposition to this change. Public comments will be considered in person, and via email before 2-21-18.

Burkhardt and his wife Connie farm their acreage near Marthasville, in a corridor of natural features, German cultural heritage, a thriving regional arts movement and public recreation that is anchored by Katy Trail State Park, with a link to St. Louis in process from Great Rivers Greenway.

Tourism in this heart of Missouri's wine country increasingly returns investments in these resources to all Missourians - and our visitors. Opponents of an intensive luxury housing development here note that that investment will return to very few, and diminish public benefits.

This is an important point for public input. As Dan Burkhardt says, Asphalt is the Last Crop.

Music: Deep Gap, performed live at KDHX by Marisa Anderson

THANKS to Anna Holland, Earthworms engineer

EARTHWORMS is produced as a volunteer community service. Views expressed by volunteer host are her own, and not intended to represent KDHX St. Louis Independent Media or any other organization. Guest views, and the organizations they represent, are clearly presented in each interview, and in accompanying texts.

Jan 30, 2018

Plastic has overtaken our pantries, our shopping carts, our personal-care product cabinets - and our planet's waterways all the way to the oceans! Is there any hope for turning this plastic tide?

Jay Sinha and Chantal Plamondon, Canadian sustainable product entrepreneurs, offer their own experience to encourage fellow humans to break free plastic's hold on our lives. Their new book is Life Without Plastic - the Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic to Keep your Family and the Planet Healthy (Page Street Publishing, 2017).


Their book - and their online store, established in 2003 - packs facts about plastic pollution that Jay says is as pressing as Climate Change. But they are not polypropyl-whiners, by any stretch. Jay and Earthworms host Jean Ponzi pick through piles of plastic issues - with encouraging focus on options he and his family continue to test out, that can be useful to you.

What are the problems plastic is causing, for us and around our environment? What are alternatives to some of plastic's most pernicious influences in our lives?

Bring on the glass, wood, fabric and stainless steel! And PLEASE RECYCLE the plastics you do increasingly choose to use.

Music: Infernal Piano Plot, performed live at KDHX by The Claudettes

Thanks to Anna Holland, Earthworms Engineer

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