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About Jim Merkel

Jim Merkel is the author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth and directs the Global Living Project that consults with campuses and municipalities and offers workshops and lectures. His recent work helped Dartmouth earn the highest grade given on the Sustainability Report Card issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute for the two years he led the campus’s sustainability efforts.

Jim Merkel Speaks to a Group

Originally a military engineer trained in foreign military sales, the Exxon Valdez disaster and the invasion of Iraq prompted him to devote his life to sustainability and world peace.

Jim founded the Alternative Transportation Task Force in San Luis Obispo, California, and held an elected Sierra Club position while honing urban simple living skills. He lobbied in Washington for wilderness, peace, and Native American rights. In 1994 he received a fellowship to research sustainability in Kerala, India, and walked in the Himalayas. The following year he founded the Global Living Project (GLP) and initiated the GLP Summer Institute where teams of researchers attempted to live on an equitable portion of the biosphere.

With plenty of help from friends, a permaculture home and demonstration site were designed and built. He instigated a Cycling for a Sustainable Future speaking tour that has logged over 17,000 miles and delivered hundreds workshops on sustainable living.

While at Dartmouth, Jim worked to integrate environmentally and socially sustainable practices into the College's operations and culture. His projects included Sustainable Dining, Solar Thermal Evaluation, Carbon Reduction, Sustainable Offices, Green Greeks and Solid Waste Reduction.

At the top of Jim’s cycling career, he earned three silver medals in the Empire State Games and raced in the Nationals. Cycling continues to be his favored mode of transportation, around town and for adventures -- to Mexico, across Canada twice, and through Europe and India. His passions include wild edible plants, wilderness exploration, and making homestead improvements from articles found at the dump. Jim lives in Belfast, Maine. He writes, teaches, consults and lectures when he isnít growing potatoes.