September Film: NO IMPACT MAN
When: September 12, 7:00 pm
Where: Peacock Hall
This award-winning documentary tells the story of author Colin Beavan, who went completely “green” in NYC, giving up virtually all of the comforts of modern living — electricity, gas-powered transportation, non-local food and landfill waste disposal — in a drastic effort to curb his environmental impact.
The camera captures many joyful moments, such as stomping on laundry in the bathtub and shopping at a dairy farm, as well as the toll this well-intentioned, year-long project takes on Beavan’s wife and 2-year old baby daughter. Ultimately, it saves them over $1,000/month and brings this family closer together.
In November 2006 author Colin Beavan, started a research project for his next book ‘No Impact Project’. Intending to actualize some of his Zen Buddhist beliefs, this newly self-proclaimed environmentalist asked himself:
“Why do I have to wait for congress to do something? Why do I have to wait for big business to do something? Why don’t I do something?! “
He could no longer avoid pointing the finger at himself. He left behind his liberal complacency for a vow to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year.
No more automated transportation, no more electricity, no more non-local food, no more material consumption… no problem. That is, until his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two year-old daughter are dragged into the fray.
The documentary shares the highs and lows of the families journey to sustainable living, including Michelle’s year off from consuming fashion. From ditching meat and shopping from bulk food bins and farmers markets.
Michelle called him a “1900’s house wife” as he cooked, composted, and cleaned for the family all without relying on most 21st century conveniences. Colin made all of their cleaning products with borax, baking soda (the box was compostable) and vinegar.
The film transitions to reality-tv territory at times when the couple have heartfelt discussions about the possibility of adding another member to their family, and Michelle’s ‘eco-slips’ in regards to coffee and ‘camping at home’ despite a hate of camping. While these hurdles can be dealt with from the family unit, some of the biggest challenges that the household faced was both positive and negative media coverage.
After the experiment was over, Colin and Michelle did bring back the the electricity and their fridge but still don’t use the freezer, a dishwasher, an AC, or have a TV. They also traveled by air to see family. They remain very conscious of their trash output. They continue to try and not buy anything new, preferring to source from secondhand places. They’ve lost weight, sleep better, have more energy, and save over $1,000/month.