No Impact Man

This morning I finally got to watch the documentary, by Colin Beaven. A reader gmomj recommended it to me in a comment on my post titled My Carbon Footprint.  In my own desire for non consumerism I placed the dvd on hold at my local library and waited about 10 days for it to come in.  Due to my busy schedule I had to renew it once prior to my viewing but that’s ok.  I found the movie to be interesting with some great tips and ideas to incorporate in my every day life.  During the movie Colin read and showed comments made by his critics calling it nothing short of self promotion.  Most everything we view these days is self promotion in one form or another so I’m going to opt for the version that is actually doing some good for our society and planet rather than the many other versions out there.  If you’d like a preview, here’s the trailer: http://youtu.be/Z9Ctt7FGFBo?hd=1

Planet Green recently had a short series called the 100 Day Challenge where people signed up to eat only local food for 100 days.  I really enjoyed this series and it made me more aware of where my produce comes from.  The Beaven family also went local as far as foods and products they consumed.  Once they turned off their electricity they also shopped for just a few days at a time, buying only what they would use.  I think of this and look at my pantry and the cans of food just sitting there.  I’m also cognizant of the produce I buy with good intention and end up throwing out.  It’s definitely a work in progress for myself.  I am working on using what I have for the time being and have made minimal trips to the grocery store the last month.

Major lifestyle changes for the Colin Beaven’s family was also interesting to view.  They stopped using all public modes of transportation including elevators.  Living in NYC this is quite a feat.  Their young child was taken out of disposable diapers and placed in the cloth variety.  I actually used cloth diapers with my son 20 years ago because of his sensitive skin.  Within 12 hours a terrible rash that lasted months virtually disappeared.  I bought these wonderful diaper wraps that held the diaper in place and was able to contain a lot of moisture.  It was far easier than people think.  I would absolutely do it again.


In place of cleaning their house, clothes, and selves with harsh chemical soaps (even those who claim to be environmentally friendly often aren’t) they used a few simple products from a grocery store to wash everything.  You can clean pretty much anything with white vinegar, baking soda, borax, and castile soap.  I was glad to see borax made his list.  I’ve used it for years for both cleaning and pest control.  It’s a great product. I personally also love powdered Bon Ami which I clean much of my house with.  It’s a great product.

What I loved was his statement that:  It’s not about using as little as we can possibly use but finding the way to get what I need in a sustainable way.” That’s really what we should be focusing on.  Experiments and trial phases of giving up everything is good but very few people will be wiling to do that for the long-term.  At one point his wife Michelle Conlin stated that she would be happy when the experiment is over and she can read to her daughter with ample illumination.  That made me laugh because I used to be the person who read in a dark or barely lit room and as my eyes age (I’m not!) I am finding myself needing more and brighter lights in order to read anything.  I can totally relate to her statement.

My favorite thing about this documentary is that Colin mentioned that living in an apartment without basic utilities forced them to live outside their space and experience more of what NYC had to offer.  This resonated with me.  The biggest thing I got out of the book 1×12 by William Powers was that his experience wasn’t about living in that small space  but his life outside of that space.  I mentioned then that my biggest takeaway from my husband’s and my camping experience was that living in a 300 sf camper with many of the luxuries of home still forced me outside in a very positive way.  All the site seeing was great but my favorite daily ritual was sitting outside the camper with my feet up on a rock reading and while watching and listening to the stream water rolling by.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.

I really enjoyed this documentary and although I now know the story I went online and placed the book on hold.  Personally I am  always interested in seeing what people are doing to lower their impact or simply live a more sustainable life.  What are you doing?

Have a peaceful day! Lin


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