Earthworms’ Castings

With Jean Ponzi
Two Challenges – Worth Taking

This time of year a lot of you-can-do Green Tips-type info starts flying around like spring gnats.

I’ve been working to get my fellow humans to give a rat’s patoot about the planet we inhabit (and generally abuse) long enough that I have no more use or patience, really, for E-Z Ways to Save the Earth.

But these two ‘18 activities re-ignite my respect for the challenge to act.

The DRAWDOWN Eco-Challenge runs April 4-25. This change-your-habits challenge includes teams, points, and prizes, aka Gamification. Not news. What differentiates this one from the pack of Quick Fix contests is its affiliation with Project DRAWDOWN.

DRAWDOWN’s subtitle is: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to REVERSE global warming. Text emphasis is mine. This is a body of 80+ actions, validated by meticulous research. They have been mapped, measured and modeled. DRAWDOWN says if these strategies are deployed collectively, on a global scale over the next 30 years, they “offer humans the means to transform our climate crisis into just, livable world conditions.”

DRAWDOWN actions aim to reverse, not just slow down, humans’ whacks to Earth’s climate. They address renewable energy, food, educating girls – and more. They exist, and can be taken to scale. This is a body of options to engage with, and the DRAWDOWN Eco-Challenge gamely offers the means to do just that.

This challenge comes from the Northwest Earth Institute, an organization with Big-Green Street Cred.

Since 1993, NWEI has been “inspiring people to take responsibility for Earth.” Founders Dick and Jeanne Roy, an environmental lawyer and activist, respectively, first dug philosophically into Deep Ecology with a study group of 97 Portland Oregonians. Voluntary Simplicity, the second discussion course fielded in 1994 by NEWI, has engaged over 160,000 humans, across North America.

NWEI courses have been honed, over time, to get individuals in our species to think, and to integrate changes into our lives in ways that yield impactful results, not just eased feelings.

NWEI’s alliance with DRAWDOWN can reach a substantial population likely to spread the word, while moving the needle to implement DRAWDOWN’s research-validated measures.

Find details at DRAWDOWN.ecochallenge.org.

The City Nature Challenge, taking place April 27-30, comes from California Academy of Sciences. It uses Cal Academy’s wonderful iNaturalist app to engage all ages in real Citizen Science, while helping us make real connections to Nature.

iNaturalist lets smart phone users observe, photograph and upload sightings of plants and critters into a global database. Whether you’re seeing a flicker or a squirrel, an endangered coneflower or a dandelion, your observations contribute to surveys of Biodiversity, where you live.

Across St. Louis, it’s timely that we are joining the City Nature Challenge this year – along with hundreds of metropoli worldwide. Thousands of people logging observations may or may not help St. Louis “win,” but this hookup’s real impact is that folks and their phones will begin amassing a baseline of local data toward real regional Biodiversity care and protection goals.

I believe the most important City Nature Challenge outcome will come from folks in my age range signing up and taking a kid out into nature, from sharing the fun of observing bugs and plants and whatever else we see – and encouraging that young Digital Native each of us knows and loves to apply their electronics skills in service of the natural world – while having FUN in NATURE and generating truly useful info.

Nature observations can be made anytime using iNaturalist. The Academy of Science St. Louis uses this app in annual BioBlitz activity. Observations uploaded April 27-30 will count toward the City Nature Challenge.

For details go to www.tinyurl.com/stlNatureChallenge18.

Jean Ponzi flips on Green Lights in the minds and hearts of her fellow humans through the weekly conversations of her KDHX Earthworms podcasts – celebrating 30 YEARS of volunteer community service this month! Tune in at Podcasts.KDHX.org, or through iTunes. THANKS for listening – and for taking real action.