Imagine if you could cause no environmental impact. I’m not talking about recycling a few bottles here and there. I’m talking about no transportation, no plastic, no trash, no meat, no new things, no take-out food and no electricity.
Colin Beavan imagined what it would be like as well, and along with his wife Michelle and 3-year-old daughter, Isabella, he turned it into reality.
In the 2009 documentary “No Impact Man,” Beavan and his family lived a “no impact” lifestyle in New York City for a year.Three years later, the no impact project is making waves across the country as readers of his blog echo the project on smaller scales.
I am an environmentalist. Yet, before watching “No Impact Man,” I had never thought about how much trash I create, or where it goes after the garbage men take it away. This inspired me to try it myself. So I’ll focus my no impact week on reducing my trash, take-out food and use of plastics.
There are countless commentson his facebook page from people attempting the project for a week or longer.
Despite my aspirations to imitate Beavan’s project, my first impression of the film was not optimistic. It could have been due to the first scene beginning with Beavan sitting alone on a couch, where he delivers the opening line — which both misrepresents and adds naivety to the film: “We need the trees to save the planet…and the polar bears.”
Something about the inclusion of the polar bears rubbed me the wrong way. It made me picture hundreds of viewers rolling their eyes at this stereotypical statement, writing Beavan off as a tree-hugging, animal-loving hippie.
But it occurred to me that my initial irritation with Beavan had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. His dedication made me defensive about my own consuming habits.
But that’s the point. Though only one person, his actions cause people to rethink the consumer bubble that we have comfortably lived in all our lives. His family attempted to experience all aspects of no impact life to learn first-hand what is practical and what is not. This film held a mirror up to my lifestyle and caused me to question my actions.
So help me out Echo readers, and send me your tips and advice for living no-impact life. Better yet, watch the film and try it out yourself.
Featured image: Promotional film poster