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No Impact Man: The Documentary April 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Sustainable Living.

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02A month or so ago, we watched No Impact Man, a documentary about a family in New York City who wanted to reduce its carbon footprint to zero, and have no net impact on the Earth for a period of twelve months.

Rather than picking and choosing what they “could” do without . . . they decided to do without “everything.”

During the year-long experiment, No Impact Man and his somewhat-skeptical wife, along with their still-in-diapers daughter, focused on implementing into their daily lives that well-known mantra:

Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle.

Among other things, they:

* imposed a moratorium on shopping (but not until after the wife bought one last pair of $1000 boots!)

* turned their backs on motorized transportation, and maneuvered around the city on bikes, scooters, and their own two feet

* ate only locally grown food which they purchased at a nearby farmer’s market

* turned off the electricity in the apartment, using candles for illumination, a cooler for refrigeration, and solar panels on the roof to power a laptop (for e-mails and to write a daily blog recording their progress)

* gave away their television set and entertained themselves by playing games with their daughter and friends in the evenings

* switched from disposable diapers to cloth diapers, to the absolute delight of their 18 month old daughter

* traded chemical cleaners for natural cleaners (vinegar, baking soda, Borax)

* stopped eating at restaurants, and cooked all meals at home on their gas stove

* stopped using disposable products ~ no paper napkins, no take out containers, no paper towels, no plastic bags, no plastic water bottles, no disposable razors, and . . . no toilet paper (eww!!!!)

* composted all food scraps in a bin full of worms in the living room

* vacationed on a local farm to get back to nature

* volunteered in a city garden, growing organic food

* spoke on several television and radio programs, including interviews by Diane Sawyer and Steve Colbert

* stopped using elevators, and instead climbed stairs, even if they were visiting offices on the 24th floor

* washed their clothes in cold water, in the bathtub, with Borax ~ using their bare feet to agitate the water

Many people interviewed in the film thought they had taken things a bit too far.  While I applaud their efforts, I tend to agree.

For example, there is no way that I am voluntarily giving up toilet paper, or refrigeration, in my quest to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Of course, our unwillingness to adopt ALL these changes should not stop us from making at least a few SMALL changes in our daily lives to move in the direction of lessening our carbon footprints ~ reducing where we can, reusing whenever possible, and recycling everything else.

I found several other aspects of  No Impact Man thought-provoking.

Stay Tuned!


1. Joanne - April 8, 2010

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle…
My own favorite… Re-Create… that’s my recreation…!

I just finished a book I picked up for $3.00 at Big Lots…
Rescue from Domestic Perfection, by Dan Ho… here’s what they say about him…http://www.enotalone.com/authors.php?aid=2165

I love his explanation of “gai” in defining the true meaning of “style” which includes all of the above ways to go green…

2. nrhatch - April 8, 2010

Don Ho . . . the anti-Martha! That’s excellent.

I’m so glad it’s becoming chic to go green!

For an excellent review on the book Joanne is talking about: http://www.enotalone.com/article/11798.html

3. Henricus.peters@virgin.net - April 10, 2010

Great Blog!!!
Readers might like to see this on the environment and educatinon:
Henricus Peters
LearnFromNature on facebook and twitter

4. Henricus.peters@virgin.net - April 10, 2010

Great blog!!! If we all, individually and collectively do the right things.. we will begin to live sustainably!

Henricus Peters
LearnFromNature on facebook and twitter

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