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Author Jim Merkel leads by example on the path to simple and sustainable living.

A printer-friendly version of this page 35 minutes
Directed by Jan Cannon
Featuring Jim Merkel

"This film will stick in your mind and in your heart." Bill McKibben, author "The End of Nature"
Imagine that you are first in line at a potluck supper. The spread includes not just food and water, but all the materials needed for shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education. How do you know how much to take? How much must you leave for your neighbors behind you - not just the 6 billion human beings, but our fellow creatures and the yet-to-be-born?

In the face of looming ecological disaster, many people feel the need to change their own lifestyle as a necessary step in transforming our unsustainable way of life. But it's the first step that is often the most intimidating.

In RADICALLY simple, we join engineer and author Jim Merkel as he presents his views on sustainable living in public presentations and workshops at his home. These meetings, which revolve around discussions on global economics and resource consumption, show Merkel leading by example. He demonstrates that a radically simple lifestyle - while at times intimidating - is not only possible but extremely satisfying.

Scenes of Merkel fetching water from the woods, constructing an outhouse by hand, and using a solar cooker illustrate not only his ingenuity, but his total commitment to reducing his ecological footprint. Always encouraging, never judgmental, Merkel inspires audiences to take their own first steps on the path towards sustainability.

RADICALLY simple is a practical, personal answer to the challenge laid down by Al Gore in AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH that will appeal as much to "cultural creatives" and students as to policymakers and sustainability professionals.

Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2006     Copyright Date: 2005
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-387-0     VHS ISBN: 1-59458-386-2

"Jim Merkel is a fascinating figure--a kind of pied piper for a challenging but deeply seductive way of living. This film will stick in your mind and in your heart."
Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature

"Jim Merkel doesn't preach at us. His life is his message and he invites each of us to begin the conversation about what sustainable living means and why it matters."
Wynn Calder, University Leaders for a Sustainable Future

"Students will be intrigued by this story of how Jim Merkel, an engineer, simplified his lifestyle to one of sustainable, affordable living...This film is not judgmental, and it can serve as a catalyst for classroom discussion."
Teacher Librarian

"Recommended for public libraries."
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DVDs include public performance rights.

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Awards and Festivals
Vermont International Film Festival

American Studies
Environmental Ethics
Natural Resources

Simple Living
Voluntary Simplicity

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