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.
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.
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
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
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