Sustainability | St. Louis Public Radio


(May 31, 2019) Jean Ponzi is the green resources manager at the Missouri Botanical Garden and joined Friday's talk show to expand on on the importance of sustainability and green living.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The 18th annual Green Living Festival returns to the Missouri Botanical Garden this weekend and offers patrons expertise on making links between sustainability and a healthy environment.

An array of workshops and events will provide tips and knowledge about using smart technology and energy efficiency, grilling with natural gas, combating climate change with everyday strategies, kombucha making, composting, native plants, green cleaning products and more.

Sarah Schlafly, co-founder of Mighty Cricket, measures cricket powder on March 14, 2019 for a batch of dark cocoa oatmeal at Urban Eats Cafe.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Sarah Schlafly isn’t squeamish when it comes to eating insects.

For her, crickets are just “land shrimp.”

The St. Louis-based entrepreneur co-founded Mighty Cricket in 2017, a startup that produces breakfast foods with an unusual addition: crickets. The company now sells several products at local grocery stores and online, including pancake mix, oatmeal and protein powder — all made with powdered, roasted crickets.

Allegra Fuller Snyder, 91, is the only living child of the late architect and futurist R. Buckminster Fuller. She's also a professor emeritus of dance and dance ethnography at UCLA.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For decades, R. Buckminster Fuller was known around the globe for his scholarship and his vision of a future that could work for everyone aboard what he described as “spaceship earth.” By the middle of the 20th century, he saw two possible destinations on humanity’s horizon – utopia or oblivion – and his lectures and writings still resonate today.

“He was always a step ahead of where the rest of us were, but very excited and eager to bring us all with him,” his 91-year-old daughter, Allegra Fuller Snyder, said Friday on St. Louis on the Air.

In town for what’s been billed as a “Bucky Weekend” celebrating the late architect’s legacy in the St. Louis region, she joined host Don Marsh for the conversation alongside Benjamin Lowder, creative director of the Fuller Dome at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Catherine Werner is the director of sustainability in the mayor’s office.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Within a global context of climate change, individual attention to butterfly gardens, light bulbs, recycling and other efforts can sometimes seem rather futile. Catherine Werner is familiar with that notion – and with persuading people that such relatively small things do in fact matter.

“You think, ‘Oh, well, what can I do, and what’s one little light bulb going to do to make a difference?’” Werner said during Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “But if you do your whole apartment or your whole home, and then you tell it to your neighbor and they do it next door, it really does add up and can make quite a difference.”

LED light beside a decades old bulb-based streetlight fixture.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

An initiative to update streetlights could save the City of St. Louis more than $150,000 a year. Installation of new LED technology is already underway and the city says the effort should improve lighting, especially in some dark areas on local roads.

The initial phase involves nearly 5,000 LED fixtures that will replace current high-pressure sodium light bulbs on major routes like Grand Boulevard and Kingshighway.

Sustainability plan from 2013 exceeds goals

Mar 16, 2017
St. Louis Historically and Dynamically Sustainable. Cake made for progress report at the Botanical Garden in the Sputnik Pavillon on Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

In 2013, the city of St. Louis launched its sustainability plan, setting  29 goals to be accomplished by 2018. At a progress report Wednesday, Mayor Francis Slay and Catherine Werner, sustainability director, gave an update on how the program is going.  

An energy efficient light bulb.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Nearly 80 percent of St. Louis' greenhouse gas emissions comes from buildings, according to 2015 data from the city's sustainability office. A new partnership with a national energy efficiency initiative could help St. Louis address the impacts its buildings have on the environment. 

The city recently joined the City Energy Project, a joint initiative by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation, which provides funding and resources to cities to create programs that improve energy efficiency in buildings. St. Louis expects to receive over $500,000 in assistance from the project. 

"In tackling our greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings, a program that focuses on existing buildings is going to help us achieve some of our climate protection goals and objectives," said Catherine Werner, the city's sustainability director.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael and Tara Gallina are the proprietors of Rooster and the Hen, a culinary concept — they say — that seeks to delight eaters through thoughtfulness; for the way our food is grown and raised, to the care and warmth in which it's served.

Alex Ihnen (left) and Mary Ostafi (right) joined host Don Marsh in studio.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

A couple of initiatives in downtown St. Louis are changing the way that St. Louis’ old buildings are preserved—by transforming them.

Bridgeton Landfill
Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

 Missourians need to be worried – and need to act.

That is the message of Environmental Missouri: Issues and Sustainability — What You Need to Know, a new book from Webster University journalism professor and Times Newspapers editor Don Corrigan.  The book is an overview of various aspects of our environment and sustainability shortfalls – in addition to what we are doing right.

Lincoln Brower

The City of St. Louis and several partners are launching a project to help monarch butterflies.

It involves encouraging area residents to plant milkweeds -- a plant with large fruit pods that release fluffy seeds in the fall.

The Saint Louis Zoo is one of the partners in the “Milkweeds for Monarchs” initiative, along with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The zoo's curator of invertebrates, Edward Spevak, says milkweeds are critical to the monarch’s survival.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: From installing home energy monitoring systems to raising one's own poultry, a wide-array of do-it-yourself methods for sustainability took center stage at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood Tuesday night.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A legal fight appears imminent now that MORE, a regional activist group that’s that has been protesting Peabody Energy’s activities for months, has turned in its initiative petitions for a proposed St. Louis charter amendment directed at Peabody or any other firm involved in "unsustainable energy production."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Two competing visions of sustainability will be on display early next week in a program designed to let the general public explore the future of food production.

“Sustainability in terms of our food means different things to different people and there are different perspectives on what it means to grow food sustainably,” said Rose Jansen, director of Earth science programs and speakers for science at the Academy of Science-St. Louis, a local nonprofit.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay heads into the final lap of his historic bid for a fourth four-year term, expect to hear a lot more about “sustainability,” his top campaign issue for the general election

But “sustainability’’ – in a different sense – is also an apt word to describe the questions at City Hall, as the mayor, his allies and his political opponents recalibrate their relationships in the wake of his Democratic primary victory last week over Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Mayor Francis Slay has unveiled the first-ever sustainability plan for the city of St. Louis.

Slay and his so-called "Vanguard Cabinet" of young city residents developed the plan with community input over the last two years.

It includes 29 immediate action items to be completed by or around 2018. Among them:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis: As St. Louis grapples with its urban revival, the focus should be on building a sustainable city for tomorrow and not about recapturing the past, suggests a researcher at the Brookings Institution who will speak at a symposium Friday sponsored by the Saint Louis University Law School.

"One of the things St. Louis has to do is have a serious conversation that recognizes that it will be a smaller city with a demographic mix that is different than it was originally built to accommodate,’’ said Alan Mallach, a non-resident senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

St. Louis interfaith gathering to focus on environment

Aug 26, 2012

People from a range of religious traditions and faiths will be gathering this afternoon to talk about environmental sustainability.

St. Louis EcoFaith co-organizer Steve Lawler says the goal is to build an interfaith network that can support environmental awareness and action.

Himself an Episcopal priest, Lawler says concern for the environment is integral to many different religions, from Buddhism to Islam.

Green roofs, chickens and city kitties

Jun 22, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 22, 2012 - Even as a kid, Hunter Beckham loved gardening. His family tended a vegetable patch at the community garden and he recalls visiting the gardens of many relatives over the years.

As an adult, Beckham now has his own garden, complete with a green roof and a variety of sustainable design features. He will show off his plantings during the Sustainable Backyard Tour from 11 a.m to 4 p.m, Sun., June 24.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 13, 2012 - Most folks have fixed a leaky faucet or put up a towel rack.

But for those who want a real do-it-yourself project, sometimes only the challenge of changing your roof to a garden, recycling dumpster waste into furniture or raising fish in your garage will fill the bill.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 10, 2012 - Talking about sustainability and profitability going hand in hand may summon up an unlikely image of the leaders of Greenpeace and the Chamber of Commerce gathering in a circle and singing “Kumbaya.”

But Yolanda Kakabadse says an increasing number of corporations is realizing that a wise use of natural resources is good policy, not only for the environment but for the bottom line as well.

Civic innovators find hope and progress in St. Louis

Mar 20, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 20, 2012 - As a former National Geographic photographer, Dan Burden likes to display photos. Those splashed up on the larger-than-life screen behind him are idyllic images of children at play and people walking, biking and talking. It’s a pleasant montage.

But it’s not real.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 16, 2012 - Filtered over the shouts from an energetic aerobics class carrying on in the next room, the quiet murmur of conversation in a non-descript meeting space at the modern Richmond Heights community center wouldn’t seem to be much competition.

But as three to four dozen participants – a mix of area workers, residents, political leaders and organizational representatives – huddled over plastic cups and single-serving snack bags trying to plot the priorities of their respective communities decades into an unknown future, it was easy to get the sense that the noisy neighbors weren’t the only ones engaged in an evening of high-impact exercises.

Building a sustainable region, a community at a time

Jan 8, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 8, 2012 - There is an old saying about the best-laid plans, but Jennifer Howland will gladly tell you that no blueprint is one-size-fits-all.

"What we envision is not a plan where everything would be the same no matter which community you are in," she said. "It's more about giving local communities options that they can select from and take steps based on their own sets of priorities to achieve a more sustainable future for their citizens."

Madalyn Painter / St. Louis Public Radio

This Sunday, June 26, is the First Annual Sustainable Backyard Tour--a free, self-guided tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Homes on the tour showcase renewable energy, beekeeping, composting, vegetable gardens, native plants, backyard chickens, rainwater harvesting, keeping goats, using permeable surfaces, and more.

Biomimicry: When architecture imitates life

May 7, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 7, 2011 - Envisioning a new ventilation system from prairie dog holes or conceiving a new elevator arrangement in the structure of frog legs may not sound like architecture as we traditionally understand it. But then having a biologist like Taryn Mead sitting at design table is a bit of a culture shift, too.

Commentary: Muskie's view of Earth Day

Apr 22, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 22, 2010 - Earth Day serves as an annual reminder of the precious yet precarious state of the environment that sustains human life. Although that theme deserves its own trumpet, 40 years ago Edmund S. Muskie demonstrated, as only he could, how its message links to other existential values.

The occasion was the first Earth Day, and Muskie, the nation's leading environmentalist, was the featured speaker at a teach-in at Harvard University and at a large rally at Philadelphia's Fairmount Park.

Happy birthday, dome home

Apr 18, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 18, 2010 - Monday, April 19 officially begins “R. Buckminster and Anne Hewlett Fuller Dome Home Week” in Carbondale, Ill.

Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

But the celebration of the remarkable structure, the man who built it and the events happening all week to promote his ideals are a bit easier to process.

Meeting of botanical minds

Jun 11, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 11, 2009 - "We are saving plants to save ourselves" said Peter Raven. "In an age of global climate change, habitat destruction, population growth, increasing desire for consumption, and rotten technologies throughout the world, institutions like ours have a special responsibility."

"At no other point in history have plants been so important," agreed Stephen D. Hopper, director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. In a speech at Missouri Botanical Gardens, he equated the movement toward conservation and sustainability with major social transitions such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. Botanical gardens will play a major role in shaping the future, he believes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 27, 2009 - One way to pull the state's economy out of its long-term slump is to focus on a green economic recovery program. The centerpiece of such a strategy is the creation of thousands of new "green jobs," according to a report by the nonpartisan Center for American Progress. The report estimates that $1.8 billion would be Missouri's share of the national program.