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?
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)
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)
David and the Giant Mailbox: Climate Conversations (December 2015)
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)
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)
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)
Permaculture Goes Beyond the War on Invasive Species (March 2016)
Invasive Bush Honeysuckle: SWEEP It! (March 2016)
"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)
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)
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)
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
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.
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
In the rural outskirts of St. Louis, in 1874, Greenwood Cemetery was formed to serve the African-American population growing here after the Civil War. This rolling, 32 acre site became this community's first non-sectarian commercial cemetery open to African Americans.
Until Greenwood closed to burials in 1993, more than 50,000 people were laid to rest here: Buffalo Soldiers and domestic workers, musicians and civil rights leaders, whole families both named and undocumented. This history, still being researched and written, remembers the persistence, hardships and gifts of black individuals' human lives - a remembrance now being restored.
Greenwood shares a fate with other cemeteries with no church or other stewarding relationships, that hold the folk of poor and marginalized people. Human neglect dumped trash on the property - and nature's forces took over. But friends arose to reclaim the history and natural grace of this place. Descendants of those interred and academic professionals formed Friends of Greenwood Cemetery in 1999. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. With much more work to do, this circle of support is growing.
The Greenwood Cemetery Preservation Association brings this story to Earthworms. Guests are Shelley Morris and Rafael Morris, Secretary and President of the GCPA board; Becky McMahon of DJM Ecological Services; and Ann Eftimoff of World Wide Technology.
Music: Slide Blues, performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran.
THANKS to Anna Holland, audio engineering ace.
Related Earthworms Conversations: Green Burial (January 2017)
The ancient flow of love between Homo sapiens and Apis mellifera keeps food in our bellies, flowers blooming around us, and repairs the whacks we continue to take at nature's balance.
Maybe it's only a bit, one beekeeper, one hive at a time. Yet this relationship embodies the best of how our kind can interact with another species - in this case with a bug - to produce cascading benefits for whole biodiverse environments.
Eastern Missouri Beekeepers spreads this love, in an annual intensive workshop and cooperative-learning events year-round. The all-day Beekeeping Workshop, coming up February 10, brings nationally respected beekeeping experts to St. Louis to teach beginning and experienced beekeeping, alongside local pollinator advocates.
This Earthworms conversation draws on beekeeping savvy of Bob Sears, president of Eastern MO Beekeepers; Kate Smith, ardent beekeeper (3 years plus family heritage); and Becky Masterman, program manager for the University of Minnesota's acclaimed Bee Squad, who'll join EMBA members as workshop guest faculty.
Earthworms loves to talk Bees!
Music: Magic 9, performed live at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters
THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering Earthworms bee-youtifully
Related Earthworms Conversations:
Wild Bees and Native Plants with Heather Holm - March, 2017
Suzanne Kelly was deep into Ph.D. work in women's studies in 2000 when her father died. Her grief and that experience with conventional memorial processes moved her to explore a new movement (ironic, given our age-old traditions) to send our bodies back to Earth. Literally.
Kelly's new book Greening Death - Reclaiming Burial Practices and Restoring Our Tie to Earth - is a scholarly treatment of natural burial. She covers the history of our resource-intensive, toxic and expensive funeral industry, and examines multi-cultural values about dealing with our dead bodies. From the Civil War era innovation of embalming to today's evolving partnership between land conservation and dust-to-dust advocates, her voice on this topic is factual and clear. She also speaks eloquently for our human needs to honor the passage out of life, and to reconnect with Earth.
Whether you are simply curious about these options or actively seeking Green Burial resources for end-of-life planning, this Earthworms conversation can be useful to you. Listen in peace!
THANKS to Anna Holland, engineering for Earthworms this week
Music: Butter II, performed live at KDHX by Ian Ethan Case
To date, 24 U.S. cities are using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager - a sensible, user-friendly product of our federal taxes at work - to "benchmark" energy use as a first step to strategic investment in energy efficiency measures. St. Louis joined this progressive, prudent group in 2017 by passing an ordinance and signing on to the City Energy Project.
Use a common tracker to inform improvements that can cut costs? Make existing buildings more comfortable and healthier? Protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions? Good work, partners in the City of St. Louis for answering all these questions YES!
The significance of this work, even in its first months, was honored in November 2017 with an OLGA (Outstanding Local Government Award) for exemplary public-private collaboration, by the St. Louis region's East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
The work is straightforward, explains Earthworms guest Rajiv Ravulapati, CEP Technical Advisor for the City of St. Louis. CEP helps cities tailor energy efficiency programs and policies to local needs. In St. Louis, the CEP team assists building owners in implementing the City's benchmarking ordinance, which requires that public and private buildings over 50,000 sq ft must be Benchmarked by April 1, 2018, with the data reported to the City's Building Division. This requirement applies to over 900 buildings located in the City of St. Louis, including 16 City-owned buildings. A Concierge service assists building owners with the process, using an efficient online portal.
City Energy Project champions (shown above) accepting the OLGA award are Rajiv Ravulapati; City of St. Louis Sustainable Director Catherine Werner; US Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter Executive Director Emily Andrews; and St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar, sponsor of the ordinance that passed with a unanimous vote!
Utility incentive and financing packages can support energy efficiency upgrades, based on CEP data. Options to expand this effort to work with smaller buildings, and across the St. Louis region, offer more potential benefits for local businesses and building owners.
THANKS to Anna Holland, energized engineer for Earthworms
Music: Balkan Twirl, performed live at KDHX by Sandy Weltman and the Carolbeth trio
Related Earthworms Conversations: PACE Energy Financing (January 2017)