Celebrating Earth Day with Melinda Myers

April 22, 2012

Melinda Myers co-hosts today’s show

There’s nothing I like better than being surrounded by beautiful babes. Especially if they know how to prune a hydrangea. Which is why I’m pleased to have Melinda Myers back on the show…especially because she’s sitting in for the whole two hours!

Some of you might not know Melinda, but you should. She’s from slightly north of the border (meaning Wisconsin), has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books (I’m still working on my first. Just sayin’.) She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on more than 100 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine as well as a columnist for Gardening How-to magazine and Wisconsin Gardening magazine. Melinda hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years as well as seven seasons of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS.

The plan of attack today is to sit around and answer some gardening questions. What could be simpler? We hope you’ll call (773-763-9278), Tweet or post on Facebook if you have any pressing or not-so-pressing garden questions.

Our planet is under attack. From us. Happy Earth Day!

I wish I could say “Happy Earth Day” without feeling like a hypocrite. So I won’t. A lot of greenwashing sentiments will be spewed today, so cover yourself with a plastic wrap. Oops. That’s not so green, is it?

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not that optimistic about the fate of our planet on this 32nd anniversary of Earth Day. It probably has something to do with the various issues I’ve covered on the show recently. Those include

The problem is that it doesn’t stop there. It includes Asian carp, mercury and carbon-spewing coal plants, plastics floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and, and, and…well, you get it. I hope.

Unfortunately, our own Illinois General Assembly doesn’t seem to get it, which forces me to ask the question…

What the heck is going on in Springfield? (Illinois, that is)

Last week, I brought up the subject of an unfortunate bill that has already passed the Illinois Senate 52-0 (!) and is on its way to the House. The NRDC calls SB 3414 “Orwellian” because of what it would do to not only neuter but reverse the goals of the states Pollution Control Board:

Specifically, SB3414 would amend the Board’s emergency rulemaking authorization – the one that allows the Board issue expedited regulations to address a threat to “public interest, safety, or welfare” – by redefining a threat to the public interest to include any “significant economic harm or hardship” to a polluter. That’s right. A polluter, not the public.


I think somebody slipped something into the water in Springfield…probably big wads of cash. Fortunately, groups like Openlands and the Illinois Environmental Council are attempting to derail this obscene environmental travesty. .

But no sooner do I find out about that monstrosity than I receive a message from Emily Carroll at Food & Water Watch about yet another horrible bill: SB 3573 – the Illinois Water Privatization Bill. According to Carroll,

SB 3573 allows companies like Illinois American Water to automatically raise rates for existing customers in order to earn a return on their acquisitions. This bill modifies the Public Utilities Act such that the private utilities can bypass the standard regulatory process that is meant to protect consumers from the exploitative prices possible from monopolies like private water utilities.

The House version of the Illinois Water Privatization bill is HB 1955. According to an article in the Chicago Independent Examiner,

Currently pending in the House Rules Committee, the bill would authorize corporations to control not only the state’s drinking water, but the price of it. The bill encourages a monopoly and provides for one “large public utility” – in other words – one for-profit corporate monopoly.

Like I said before: what the heck is going on down there? Emily Carroll from Food & Water Watch stops by to help answer that question.

“To the Arctic” celebrates life at the top of the world

I have to get the taste of bad legislation out of my mouth and I can’t think of a better way than to talk to Florian Schulz, award-winning nature photographer, who has graced us with a spectacular large-format photo book called To The Arctic.

The book is the official companion volume to the documentary adventure To The Arctic from Warner Bros. Pictures, MacGillivray Freeman Films and IMAX Corporation, which opened Friday, April 20 at the IMAX® Theatre at Navy Pier, narrated by Oscar® winner Meryl Streep and featuring music by Sir Paul McCartney (where’s Heather Frey when you need her?). As far as I can determine from the IMAX® site, the film runs through December 2012.

Though German born, Schulz has spent considerable time documenting North America’s natural riches. His first book, Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam (2005) from Braided River and the Mountaineers Books, received the Independent Book Publisher Award: “Outstanding Books of the Year.” Florian has received prestigious honors such as the title “Environmental Photographer of the Year 2010? and “Conservation Photographer of the Year” by Nature’s Best Photography Awards and the National Wildlife Federation in 2008. His images have won  recognized awards in some of the most important nature photography competitions like the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and the European Photographer of the Year Competition.

Schulz spent more than 15 months in the Arctic over the course of six years, and also traveled with the film crew on several occasions. Many of the 200 color images in the book closely follow the film’s central storyline of a mother polar bear and her twin seven-month-old cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home.

In To The Arctic, Schulz lays out photographs that touch your heart and leave you breathless, in a land that is as far from bleak as it can be. He follows musk oxen, caribou, seals, snowy owls, and some of the most extraordinary images ever captured in the wild of a mother polar bear and her two cubs. I am very psyched about talking to him and seeing the film. I already have the fabulous book and I will cherish it.

Speaking of films, Earth Film Festival is this week

As I mentioned last week, a grassroots group called Green Community Connections is presenting the first ever Earth Film Festival 2012 in the Oak Park and River Forest communities.

The One Earth Film Festival will take place Fri-Sun, April 27-29, 2012 at multiple concurrent venues in the Oak Park & River Forest IL area. The Green Carpet Gala that kicks off the fest is Friday, April 27th from 7:30-9:00pm, at the Oak Park Conservatory.  Tickets must be purchased in advance for the Green Carpet Gala.

This all comes at a reasonable cost. With a few exceptions, most films are FREE to the public with a suggested donation of only $5. However, because of limited seating registration is required.

Among the films that will be screened:

  • A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet
  • Angela’s Garden (Local Film Maker)
  • A Sense of Wonder (A Clip to be featured in Rachel Carson tribute program)
  • Dirt! The Movie
  • Food Patriots (Local film maker)
  • Fresh: New Thinking About What We’re Eating
  • Fuel
  • Greenwashers
  • Waste Land

and more. A good way to get caught up on your greenness.