Sustainability has been a trending topic in some communities, including Athens, Ohio, lately. Though it is an idea based around simplicity, transitioning to and living this way does not always seem so simple. However, one man found a way to do so simply in the pursuit of beauty and peace of mind rather than thinking only in an environmental context. Dennis Miller, a resident of Coolville, Ohio, has agreed to welcome me back onto his property and into his workshop to capture his sustainable efforts and his motivations behind them. I met Dennis through the Sustainable Living Network, a local Athens, Ohio organization dedicated to providing a space to share sustainable lifestyle efforts of any kind with other community members.
Many statistics support the push toward living more sustainably. In the last 45 years, the demand for natural resources has doubled. Half of the world’s rivers are contaminated through pesticide and fertilizer use as well as industrial waste and poor sewage systems. Over 40% of the planet’s oceans are severely degraded, most likely as a result of human actions. Nonrenewable resources like oil are among the top promoters of conflict around the world.
All of this data, from the article Depletion of Natural Resources of the Planet Earth, is easy to ignore as we hear it repeatedly and this depletion seems inevitable. However, there are those who take it seriously and believe making changes, no matter how big or small, can turn these statistics around.
Dennis is soft-spoken yet eager to share the story behind the off-grid home he built himself along with the electric and solar powered vehicles he builds. He sees sustainability as learning to use only the materials and skills you have available to you to maintain your lifestyle while also never taking more than you can give back to the earth.
Dennis’ property exemplifies the beauty of a simple lifestyle, which I will capture through an audio slideshow. I am working through interviews with Dennis as well as capturing ambient sounds around his property to build on the image of his life. I am hoping to use Dennis as a voice to explain one of many ways one can pursue this type of lifestyle as well as break down any intimidating stereotypes of doing so.
The project will be completed by next week.