Earthworms’ Castings

By Jean Ponzi


The Green Glow


Nature’s first green is gold –

her hardest hue to hold.

  Emily Dickinson



The poet of Concord observed the first renewing flush of life on bare branches and gloried in the subtle change. On the threshold of Earth Day and Spring, I observed a Green glow, heard and saw and felt it, alive in humankind.

It happened in a forum convened about Food. Farmers, teachers, social workers, health professionals, store owners and just plain folks who care about the quality of foods we produce and eat gathered in early March to define ways our region could structure and grow local production and broad distribution of genuinely healthy food.

I went to this event to listen, to check out what was brewing on a topic I believe will sustain public interest in Things Green as the popular culture whoop-de-doo of Green infatuation wanes. I had interviewed this forum’s keynote speaker on my radio show. I noticed a number of other folks I have talked with on-air, in this crowd of over 200 souls. The tone was determined, passionate, optimisitic.

Topics on the table: How do we get healthy food into schools? How do we change zoning to protect community gardens from “productive development” takeovers? How do we get sustainable food concerns lodged into official decision-making processes?

Discussion was lively and thinking was sound. But this struck my attention like a temple bell: people were speaking Eco-Logic. Awareness of impacts, of cause and effect, of the value of diversity and the systems and relations that exist in nature were in almost all expressed concerns. Sustainability language – terms, concepts, understandings – were these folks’ vernacular.

I give a lot of talks on Green topics. I’m usually the main one articulating sustainable principles. People are receptive, but I can tell I’m talking a New Deal.

Maybe I don’t get to listen as much as I get to speak, but I sure do listen to popular culture – and Green ain’t rooted in the pop soils yet. But Green was flowering at that Food Forum.

One week later, I was on a panel of “experts” discussing a wonderful documentary film called Dirt. Check out this film – it’s delightfully produced and it covers a topic essential, deep, and way underappreciated. The audience asked questions – and in so doing expressed their views. Once again, I heard my adopted Green language sing out loud and clear. More humans who get it! Who understand Green!

On both occasions, I saw in my mind’s eye a glowing awareness alive in minds and hearts. It felt just like seeing that first lovely haze in nature, life returning in the spring. I treasure this perception. I hold it tenderly in my heart. I take it as a real sign that humans are getting the message of Earth. There’s so much more to learn and do, but I truly believe the needed understanding is rooting in a critical mass. Like a backyard garden of healthy foods – like an urban farm that can feed many in all classes and walks of life – the culture of Green is growing among us.

Food and Dirt served up this transformative vision. Good ground for vision to grow in. This Green glow is golden. And the vital tending task goes on.

Happy Earth Day, Dear Fellow Humans! Please keep up the good work.

Jean Ponzi hosts the environmental talk show “Earthworms” Mondays 7-8 pm. on FM-88 KDHX –with podcasts at www.kdhx.org.