King working for sustainability, and the future

01jeremy king

GRANVILLE – Jeremy King is what you might call the local sustainability guy. He’s certainly not the only one, but he has a front row seat to all that’s current. He is, for instance, the sustainability coordinator at Denison University, among other things.

“Every day I’m identifying opportunities, building consensus and helping the college make decisions that will allow it to continue to thrive into the future,” he said. “Over the last seven years we’ve transformed sustainability from just being about carbon footprints and environmental issues to being more broad in its approach.”

“With the work of many people at Denison,” he continued, “we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by 35 percent, reduced our electric consumption by 15 percent, and made energy-efficiency upgrades that are currently saving the college over $250,000 a year.”

Little wonder then, Denison has been recognized by the New York Times, Princeton Review, Sierra Club and the Ohio EPA for its sustainability efforts.

“At the end of the day,” King said, “I think we all want to feel like we’re making a difference in the communities in which we live and work. Denison has afforded me the flexibility and opportunity to fully engage in civic and community endeavors.”

One of those endeavors is the Licking County Solar Cooperative, an organization that helps educate people about solar energy and do-it-yourself solar installations, among other things. King is co-chair with Granville’s Richard Downs.

“His commitment to the health of the planet,” Downs said, “starts with education and dialogue and continues with practical action. His contributions are significant and lasting.”

“We both felt there was a need,” King responded, “to show people there are viable alternatives to fossil fuel derived electricity.”

“One of the big things we’ve done,” he added, “is to help people with a solar power assessment for their home or business. I’ve personally done 35 or 40 of these over the last three years. This involves going on-site and documenting solar radiation potential that takes into consideration available space for solar panels and any shading issues.”

Jeremy King, now 42, grew up in Granville. “Sustainability,” he said, “certainly wasn’t a word used in the same context it is now when I was growing up.”

“Camping and hiking were a huge part of my childhood,” he remembered. “My father and uncles would take my brothers, cousins and me on long camping trips all around the country. All of these adventures instilled a strong sense of responsibility to the natural world.”

King graduated from Granville High School in 1993 and Denison University in 1997 as a biology and education double major. He taught high school science in Circleville for 10 years until he and his wife, Susan Studer King, joined the Peace Corps together.

“It wasn’t until the end of my time at Denison, or possibly as I started my master’s work at Ohio State in natural resources, that I started to develop a true interest in sustainability,” he recalled. “While serving in the Peace Corps with my wife in the Ecuadorian Amazon, most of my work focused on sustainable development. It was through that work that I really developed an interest in the broad scope of sustainability, which includes environmental, economic and social responsibility components.”

“For the most part,” King added, “I think people understand and agree with the broad issues of sustainability. There are, and certainly will be, bumps on the road towards sustainability. But I’m encouraged by what I see.”

“At the end of the day,” he concluded, “I have true confidence that most of us want a more environmentally sound and just world. All of us just need to do a better job of listening to each other.”

Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at advocate@newarkadvocate.com or 740-328-8821.

Found in The Newark Advocate February 12, 2017

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