I have just finished watching the documentary ‘No Impact Man’ which follows Colin Beavan, his wife Michelle and their child Isabella through 12 months of drastically reducing their impact on the environment. The best part is that this family live in New York City, not on some farm out in the sticks with their own veggie patch and chickens, but in the middle of one the largest cities in the world! They go all the way from ditching the television, eating organic & local produce, using bikes for transportation, stopped the use of harmful cleaning products which inevitably end up in the water ways, and they even lived without grid-supplied electricity in their apartment for 6 months.
With sustainability, and the environment, becoming increasingly important factors for me in my life, not only from a physical point of view but also a spiritual, I completely support this kind of activism. I know that he has received a great deal of negative feedback from his blog and the film but I feel that these people are really critical, and abusive in some cases are, are scared of such a change, or they don’t know how they can change. They are so conditioned in their way of life, the American and other Western country’s ways of life, that such a change scares the absolute s*** out of them, and they just can’t see it happening. I suppose that it could come from a ‘What do I have to give up?’ mentality rather than a ‘What would I gain?’ perspective. There was a scene that actually really moved me where the three of them were doing their washing in the bathtub. Since they had given up harmful chemicals such as washing up powder, and electrical appliances, they filled up the bath with their clothes, some Borax (which admittedly I know nothing about but I assume it is some what natural) and some water and they were all in there stamping on their clothes. Together, as a family, they were stamping on their clothes, washing them in the bath tub…how cool is that?
Another huge point to address is the food. They gave up take out, and packaged foods opting only for fruits, vegetables, etc that did not have or need packaging, so there was nothing to throw away. So they were having a huge impact on the environment by not throwing away food packaging that ends up in landfill demonstrating that we firstly don’t need packaging to be produced and that we can reduce trash, and they were eating healthily. I would bet that they felt a whole lot better for it too. At first they would have felt like crap because their bodies were hooked on the crappy food that fills our supermarkets but after about 2 months they would have had so much more energy and they would have been sleeping better too.
Although he is only one man, with an incredibly supportive family, the changes that he has demonstrated and his continued dedication to the cause is radiating outwards and people are following suit. They have been before No Impact Man and they will continue to do so but Colin’s film really provides an avenue to spread this environmental, and minimalist message to the masses. The movement towards a more environmentally friendly, sustainable and interconnected-society needs people like Colin and his family to really show how we can make a difference and why we should care.
I personally have been making a lot of changes in my life and I am making a lot more soon which I will tell you all about very soon. One interesting topic of study that has really grabbed me lately is permaculture which, for me, is all about designing a sustainable eco-system that works with the laws of nature and provides an abundance for us. As opposed to traditional agriculture which fights with the land to provide us with crops, permaculture is about designing our lifestyle around the land and embracing the lands natural tendency to thrive with minimal input but with a sufficient yield to support us. Living with the land instead of living off the land!
I highly recommend you watch ‘No Impact Man’. I would love to hear what you think about it. Here is the link to his blog … http://noimpactman.typepad.com/. The link to info about the film seems to be broken but I am sure you can get it through Amazon or other online retailers.