Interview with Jim Merkel

May 1st, 2009


Radical Simplicity! The Living Hero program presents an interview with author, educator, and activist Jim Merkel.

Jim began as a military engineer. Just after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, Jim quit his job and took immediate personal responsibility for his own part in global problems. This meant taking radical actions to scale back consumption and deeply reconsider life in all its dimensions. He subsequently authored Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth. Merkel received an Earthwatch Gaia Fellowship to research sustainable living in Kerala, India and in regions of the Himalayas.

He founded the Global Living Project and was hired by Dartmouth College to serve as its first Sustainability Director.

Jim lives the life of radical simplicity—cycling hundreds of miles to give lectures and workshops at colleges , universities, and community centers. He is a homesteader, growing and preserving his own food, and living on about $5,000 a year. Jim has given hundreds of hours of his time as a volunteer to share his wealth of knowledge on the new good life of sustainable living.

We talked about:

• the present pulse of the sustainability movement • the real root of simplicity • engaging the heart • Jim's childhood and influences • the real challenge of society: the common good • how radical simplicity crosses party lines • Jim's revolutionary shift after Exxon-Valdez • what it means to exceed the carrying capacity of the Earth • what is an ecological footprint • Jim's view of the economic crisis • living on $5000 a year in America • the roots of violence and fear • population control, women, and wisdom • falling in love with the Earth

Enjoy the show! (The program is around 50 minutes)

Listen at your convenience!