The Impact of “No Impact Man”

You’ve probably heard about him by now, seen him on TV, read his book or his blog – and just within the past year the movie about Colin Beaven’s ambitious experiment has been released. After having mostly heard about No Impact Man through my wife, we recently had a chance to view the film together and came to understand some challenges he faced beyond the self-imposed restrictions from modern-day living.

Sure, the year Colin, his wife and toddler daughter spent on a strict local diet, biking through the streets of NY and even at one point without electricity or a fridge WERE a huge challenge – but the real eye-opener was the backlash received from some friends, family and others that considered themselves to be environmentalist.

In the film, Colin makes a visit to one self-professed friend of the environment. She perceived the experiment as a holier-than-thou ego project for Beaven, although my impression was that she was just jealous for not thinking of it FIRST so she could have a book and movie deal.

The stigmata associated with someone like Beaven trying to do good, while promoting his own good deeds, reminds me of trying to go vegetarian many years ago; the challenge of finding a meat-free meal in a big city is as easy to me as finding my way across town without a car. However it was the reaction from OTHERS to the lifestyle change that caused more stress in my life.

At the end of the day, No Impact Man’s message was not overly clouded by the necessary medium of self-promotion. The project is the topic of many conversations around sustainability in the modern age, and the film serves not only as a how-to guide but also a primer on what IS possible without total disruption to a city-dweller’s life.

Oh, and his daughter is adorable. It’s worth watching the film for scenes of her squealing at the sight of composting worms and stomping laundry clean in the bathtub with her mom and dad. Two thumbs up.

About Adam Galloway

Making more environmentally conscious purchases is one of the greatest powers we have in curbing wastefulness.