“As a former engineer working on weapons, his words have a special power.”
— Howard Zinn, Historian

THE FILM
When a young arms dealer discovers his work is harming families in less affluent societies, he has an ethical crisis and begins a decades-long journey to redeem himself and make the world a better place. SAVING WALDEN’S WORLD is a revealing new film following Jim Merkel as he raises Walden, a budding scientist, in an off-the-grid homestead and wonders: could the very people his past-life’s work targeted, hold the keys to a sustainable planet?
A journey into “enemy” territory ensues, meeting powerful women who reshape society to work for all. Far from affluent utopias, Kerala, Cuba and Slovenia offer women free college, access to contraception, maternity leave, childcare, dentistry and healthcare. Services unimaginable in much of Jim’s blue-collar America.

As earth temperatures soar, the stakes couldn’t get higher.

WHY THIS FILM
Immerse yourself in this intimate father-son exploration of a global shift, where personal and collective decisions about procreation and consumption ripple through generations, resulting in fewer yet healthier children. Land reform and literacy movements offered a route out of poverty. Our inspiring film spotlights the dividends of decades of policies towards social justice.

As population pressures ease driven by the empowerment of women and education, we encounter a stark reality. Many nations are manipulated by a fear of economic decline and attempt to coerce more consumption and births. Could this jeopardize the very progress women are making towards averting the 6th extinction?

Credits

  • James Merkel: Director, Radically Simple (subject)
  • Deborah Shaffer: Director, The Wobblies
  • Santhi Rajasekhar: Producer
  • Catherine Murphy: Producer, Maestra: Cuba’s Literacy Campaign
  • Robert Maraist: Producer, Off the Grid by Morgan Spurlock and American Standoff by Barbara Kopple.
  • Dana Rae Warren: Writer, Moon Shot
  • Jason Rosenfield: Writer, Free Ride
  • Karen Everett: Writer, El Susto, Below the Belt, Crossing Bhutan
  • Mickey Green: Editor, Minutes to Die: Snakebite, the world’s ignored health crisis
  • Nevie Owens: Editor, Dream is Destiny
  • Robert Maraist: Cinematographer, American Standoff
  • David Wright: Cinematographer, The Boys Who Said No
  • J DevikaKey Cast: Feminist Scholar, Center for Development Studies
  • T.N. Seema: Key Cast, Member of India’s Parliament, Chairperson for Green Kerala
  • Usha Nair: Key Cast, Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice
  • Dr. Thomas Isaac: Key Cast, Finance Minster of Kerala
  • Dr. Raman Kutty: Key Cast, Public Health Expert, Professor/Researcher
  • Dr. Leidy Casimiro: Key Cast, Economist, Lawyer, Agroecologist
  • Mavis Dora Alvarez: Key Cast, Agronomist, Specialist in Land Reform and Gender
  • Norma Guillare Reina: Key Cast, Feminist Psychologist, Literacy Campaign Participant (1961)
  • Dr. Lusay Andrade Miranda: Key Cast, Family Doctor, Soplillar Clinic
  • Gaja Brecelj: Key Cast, Director UMANOTERA
  • Dr. Vesna Leskošek: Key Cast, Dean of Postgraduate Studies
  • Živa Kavka GobboKey Cast, President, FOCUS
  • Walden Merkel Cutting: Key Cast, The star, mad scientist, YouTuber and electric guitarist
  • Susan Cutting: Key Cast, Community organizer who has worked in environmental policy & citizen diplomacy (Russia)

Specifications

  • Project Type: Documentary
  • Runtime: 1 hour 28 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date: December 26, 2023
  • Production Budget: 418,793 USD
  • Country of Origin:United States
  • Country of Filming:Cuba, India, Slovenia, United States
  • Language:English, Malayalam, Spanish
  • Shooting Format: HD 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Film Color: Color