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No Impact Man: An Honest Film April 12, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Sustainable Living.

Our celebration of Earth Day 2010 continues!

In No Impact Man: The Documentary, we addressed one New York City family’s efforts to  reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to lessen their carbon footprint on the planet.

In No Impact Man: Pedal Power, we addressed the not-so-earth-friendly neighbors’ complaints about where the family parked the tricycle used to transport their 18-month old daughter around the city.

In No Impact Man: A Dose of Clarity, we addressed the increasing clarity and joy felt by the somewhat-skeptical wife as she participated in the twelve month experiment.

In No Impact Man: No TP?  No Way!, we addressed the inherent value of that modern-day “necessity” . . . toilet paper!

In this post, we’ll address the film’s inherent honesty.

* * * * *

Unlike Reality TV (which is often nothing more than staged and edited  interactions designed to draw in viewers), No Impact Man is both thought-provoking and honest.

Throughout the film, the central characters acknowledge and share the underlying irony of their efforts with film-goers:

* They joke about the wife’s pre-experiment addiction to shopping and her decision to buy one last pair of boots (with a $1000 price tag) before the shopping moratorium takes effect ~ a decision as self-defeating as eating an entire box of chocolate eclairs the night before starting a diet.

* The cameras keep rolling as environmentalists criticize the family’s excessive zeal, contending that the experiment will hurt, not help, the cause ~ later, a few of these commentators change their minds after meeting with No Impact Man (or his wife) to discuss the project in greater detail.

* When journalists make jokes about the family’s decision to give up toilet paper, husband and wife laugh right along with them, emphasizing that the project is “an experiment” designed to see how much they can do without for 12 short months.

* The film highlights, rather than hides, the inherent inconsistencies between their non-consumer oriented lifestyle and the wife’s continued employment at Business Week.

* And when they “cheat” by borrowing ice made with electricity(!) from a neighbor (to keep items in their camping cooler from spoiling), they do not edit out the neighbor’s reaction to their obvious hypocrisy.

In short, rather than sweeping internal inconsistencies and opposing viewpoints under the rug, the family addresses them head-on, often conceding that their critics are . . . 100% correct!

I’m not all that surprised.

In my experience, honesty comes more easily to those using an internal compass to guide decisions ~ because the opinions of others are not nearly as important as they once seemed to be.

Rather than wasting time and effort defending their “egos” from ridicule and attack, No Impact Man and his family used their energy during the year long experiment to move step by step toward their goal ~ sharing what they learned along the way with us.

Quote:  When you stop hiding who you are, you have more energy to become more fully who you want to be. ~ nrhatch



1. Joanne - April 12, 2010

I watched “Hoarders: Buried Alive” for the first time last night… I expected it would be more of that reality show type of entertainment, but was pleased to see that they addressed deeper pychological issues in a respectful way…

Even though I haven’t seen No Impact Man yet, these types of shows are really getting Americans to think about and heal from the damaging effects of Consumerism.

2. nrhatch - April 12, 2010

I’ll have to check it out ~ the title is intriguing.

So many people hang on to everything so tightly, they don’t have space for what they really need . . . FREEDOM!

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