Earth Day speaker at Saint Joseph's College to talk on living simply

On Monday, April 21, Saint Joseph's College presents Radical Simplicity: Personal and Institutional Sustainability, a talk by author and activist Jim Merkel on how to reduce our ecological footprint. A former sustainability coordinator at Dartmouth College, Merkel is the author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth and co-director of the Global Living Project, which runs sustainability education programs in Vermont. The talk begins at 4:30 p.m. in Viola George Auditorium, located in Alfond Hall on the Standish campus.

Merkel will present practical approaches to measuring and reducing eco-footprints, both in our lives and workplace. He will show how sustainability principles translate into institutions and businesses. Included are images of how to live lightly and highlights from his sustainability work at Dartmouth College. Merkel's projects at Dartmouth earned it the highest grade given on a sustainability report card issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute for two years running.

Merkel spent 12 years as a military engineer, but now dedicates himself to lessening his personal impact on the environment, promoting cooperation rather than competition and earth efficiency (no waste). He suggests that by moving toward sustainable lifestyles we can directly address the challenges of high oil prices and climate change.

In Radical Simplicity, he asks us to "Imagine you are first in line at a potluck buffet. 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 is enough to leave for your neighbors behind you -- not just the 6.5 billion people, but the wildlife, and the as-yet-unborn?"

Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, says about Radical Simplicity, "Jim Merkel offers a special mix of practicality and idealism: a workable mix. I defy you to read this book and not come away thinking of ways your life might change for the better." Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, says "Jim Merkel has written the most persuasive argument I have yet seen for all of us to radically change the way we live day-to-day. Radical Simplicity joins the evidence of science to a fertile imagination."

For more information about the free lecture, call 893-7723.

April 11, 2008 Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail