Earthworms’ Castings

By Jean Ponzi



My favorite of these columns are the stories where the joke’s on me, the vignettes from my pretty Green life that hopefully inspire you to live a bit Greener while enjoying a laugh at my quirks and foibles.

Laughter builds resiliency, the reserves we need to hang in there when the only funny you feel is upsetting. Life goes around, comes around, expands and decreases. Like when what’s in sharpest focus is fragile, and imperiled.

This Earth Day season was the best ever for me. I got to speak to hundreds of people who were eager to learn a lot about the rules of eco-logic our species needs to live by to sustain our lives on this planet. I celebrated annual community events that are now capably organized by a great big new cadre of energetic young people. I danced with my most beloved friend after a freak illness and two tenuous recovery years that could have kept us from dancing again.

The month my Earth Day activity expanded to fill was full to overflowing with purposeful, grateful resiliency. Good works and good times.

Then the oil rig explosion hit the news and the fragile existence of Earth, our home, was knocked for a catastrophic loop. Some creatures, habitats and livelihoods – including no small measure of ours – will recover from this pollution, someday, but many kinds of living things won’t, and we can’t fully understand or effectively manage the situation now, maybe ever. The balance of life affected is so complex, and so gravely imperiled.

A giant hunk of life on Earth – the ocean – that most of us are not even aware really affects our daily lives is massively revealed to be fragile.

I can’t write anything funny now. But I have to keep plugging along with my message that our kind, humankind, can and must learn the rules that govern life on this planet. I must believe we can change our ways to live within eco-logical limits – and continue to work to make this so.

Amory Lovins, the world-renowned expert advocate for using energy in ways that truly respect those limits, just wrote a message to supporters of his Rocky Mountain Institute, an organization that’s done more than any other single group to advance the cause of conserving energy. Lovins’ message energizes the operating principle he lives, and calls Applied Hope:

“Applied hope is not about some vague, far-off future but is expressed and created moment by moment through our choices. Applied hope is not mere optimism. The optimist treats the future as fate, not choice, and thus fails to take responsibility for making the world we want. Optimism can easily mask cowardice. Hope requires fearlessness.

“In a world so finely balanced between fear and hope, with the outcome in suspense and a whiff of imminent shift in the air, we choose to add the small stubborn ounces of our weight on the side of applied hope.”

Funny how a few words can give you the nudge you need to move again up around Earth’s cycle from fragile to resilient. And for me, to recharge work and hope for the home I love, where a laugh can sprout up anytime.

Tune in to “Earthworms,” environmental conversations with Jean Ponzi on FM-88 KDHX, Mondays 7-8 p.m. or get a podcast anytime at www.kdhx.org. Search “Applied Hope” at www.rmi.org for the whole text of Amory Lovins message.