No Impact Man in theatres Friday

No Impact Man is the chosen monikor of Colin Beavan, a New York City based writer who decided he wanted to reduce his environmental impact to zero for one whole year. He chronicled this experience in a blog, a book (just released September 1st) and now a documentary film releasing in NYC and LA Friday. He’s also expanding into the No Impact Project.
I used to read No Impact Man’s blog–I found his experiment interesting. I’m looking forward to reading the book (review to come) and checking out the documentary.

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  1. mouchette
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the whole idea of the film not to waste? Writing and publishing a book and distributing a a film consumes a lot of resources. The whole thing just seems like a vanity project to me. He should have just stuck to it being a blog, that is less wasteful of resources. Also, having children uses up a lot of resources on our overpopulated planet. People who are truly serious about these issues should think long and hard before procreating.

  2. moodygirl
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I was excited to see this on a feminist blog, thinking “finally someone else thinks this guy is as big of a self-aggrandizing douche as I do!” Turns out I got excited for nothing. I saw this trailer a month or two ago and was superlatively annoyed–here is a guy who paternalistically makes the decision for his whole family, the rest of whom are obviously not into it, to peacock their (really his) environmental awesomeness for a year while basically saying “fuck you, you suck” to anyone who is less awesome than Mr. No Impact, which is pretty much everyone. No matter how devoted you are to sustainability, how many people can take 29384 flights of stairs (pretty much leaves out the old, children, those not in top physical shape, certainly those with physical impairments… pretty much most people when you think about it), completely forgo a car (major urban centers only), and all the other things endemic to his many privileges? Basically, my take was that this guy is on a mission to prove his own awesomeness to the world (quite possibly for financial gain, though it’s impossible to say for sure) while wasting the resources necessary to distribute a book and film (and I say waste because virtually no one is going to follow his lead), all the while exhibiting an unacknowledged ageism, ableism, urbanism, classism, and sexism (in that even after apparently coercing his wife into this experiment, which itself is douche-y, he has the nerve to call the film “No Impact Man,” as if her role and her sacrifices, not to mention the daughter, are insignificant). My observations are all based on the trailer, as I freely note that I have no inclination to see the film or read his blog.

  3. keelay
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I hear what you’re saying, but I do think you should take a look at his blog. The most recent post was actually written by his wife about her decision (the decision she made) to join him in the No Impact Project. Also in the blog he has addressed mouchette’s concerns (concerns he had as well) about the environmental impact of making a book and a movie. I stumbled upon his blog a few months ago and I really enjoy it. None of which is not to say you won’t continue to find him douche-y, but judging him on a minute-long trailer seems rather hasty.

  4. diana84
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    “No matter how devoted you are to sustainability, how many people can take 29384 flights of stairs (pretty much leaves out the old, children, those not in top physical shape, certainly those with physical impairments… pretty much most people when you think about it), completely forgo a car (major urban centers only), and all the other things endemic to his many privileges?”
    I don’t think people would follow his extreme examples like, walking up 29384 flights of stairs. I also don’t think he is trying to eliminate elevators and cars all together, these things are of course necessary to a degree. I think this is probably meant to show that people can cut back on things such as excessive consumption or driving, etc and the effects humans are having on the planet. We need a better world and way of living, which I’m guessing is what this guy is trying to convey. With global warming on the rise, the way many people live now is not working. We need change.
    Also, forgoing a car is not a privilege, well not in my neighbourhood.

  5. diana84
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    This planet is overpopulated by people who live like Americans. I am not innocent, I am one too.

  6. moodygirl
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I see what you guys are saying, but I still don’t like his approach of doing things that most people won’t be able to do and would consider extreme (although I realize Separates the Recycling from the Trash Man is probably not going to make a compelling documentary). I also don’t like how the film is (at least in the trailer) being framed as 1)all about him and 2)all about how awesome he is for making such extreme sacrifices. We definitely need to reduce consumption, but I’d like to see more focus (overall, not just in this guy’s projects) on barriers that prevent more people from doing more (whether economic, social, cultural, institutional, whatever). I’m not trying to attack him for not making the film I would have made, though, and it may be a case of the marketing for the film distorting its essence (wouldn’t be the first time).

  7. lyndorr
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    This seems like it could be entertaining and might even inspire some people but not me.
    The things he’s doing are either extreme (cutting out electricity) or not extreme but still made to sound like this wonderful amazing thing he is doing.
    My partner and I already make only one grocery bag of garbage a week (plus recycling and compost). We already bike because it’s free and sometimes faster than public transit. We don’t consume like his wife did because we just don’t have the money to waste on buying coffee outside the home (in paper cups), buying water bottles, etc. When I did eat out I tried to wash my hands instead of using lots of napkins.
    I’ve read that being more environmental can cost money and I can see that buying more efficient appliances and more sustainably grown food involve spending money but other times being more environmentally friendly seems to involve middle to upper class people trying to do without things they can afford but don’t need (like in this movie). I don’t buy paper towel, napkins, ziploc bags, bottled water or any of that disposable stuff because it’s a waste of money (and it’s good to reuse stuff and make less garbage).

  8. diana84
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Ah, I agree with what you’re saying.
    We can all make changes to a certain extent and it would be great to see more of the, as you said, “barriers that prevent more people from doing more.” I mean it’s not easy to make a large corporation stop polluting or improve public transportation instead of promoting cars. Ultimately I don’t think this one man’s movie, book, or blog is going to create massive change.

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