ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

No Impact Man - Could You Live Without Hurting the Environment?

Updated on August 30, 2010

I just watched a fascinating movie about a man named Colin Beavan aka the No Impact Man. Beavan was tired of just talking about the changes that needed to be made to quit hurting the planet and help sustain the world. So he opted to do something about them. Beavan, his wife, and his daughter lived for a year in their New York City apartment making as little impact on the environment as they could.

Can you even fathom what that means for a family to not hurt the environment? Have you thought recently about how your everyday actions impact the world? Here is a brief list of the things they opted to do without in order to succeed in making no impact on the environment.

  • cars
  • elevators
  • restaurant food
  • takeout food
  • new clothes
  • new anything really (other than food)
  • environmentally hazardous cleaning supplies and toiletries
  • disposable diapers
  • newspapers and magazines
  • toilet paper
  • meat
  • television
  • anything at all that was disposable
  • electricity

Could you live without those things? Honestly, some I could and some I couldn't. I could do without eating out, elevators, disposable diapers, newspapers and magazines, and cleaning supplies. The rest of the stuff I need in my daily life. How about you?

The movie No Impact Man showed exactly how this small family lived for the year. They implemented the project in phases. For instance when they ran out of toilet paper, they didn't buy more. At the six month mark they flipped the switch on electricity. They did later get a solar panel to power the essentials such as a computer to document his work and the stove to cook their food.

I think it helps that they live in NYC because locally grown food is so readily available. They shopped at farmer's markets daily and ate only things grown within 250 miles of their home. They climbed nine flights of stairs to get to their apartment and Beavan's wife rode a scooter to work. Later they were given bicycles (one with a seat in back for their daughter) to get around the city with. Those were their only forms of transportation. Only what they could power themselves.

The No Impact Man family made all their own cleaning supplies and toiletry items, washed their clothing in the bathtub, and diapered their daughter with cloth diapers rather than disposable. Did you know that every single day 49 million disposable diapers go into landfills around the world? How long do you think it will take for those to break down?

They ate by candlelight simple home cooked meals made from fresh vegetables and fruits. It sounds almost quaint! Did you know that worldwide raising meat for food consumption produces more carbon emissions than all forms of transportation combined? That fact caused them to eat vegetarian for the year. They had a worm composting system in their apartment to recycle food scraps into earth.

Believe it or not, Beavan took a lot of criticism for attempting to live this way. Many people thought he was out to make money (the project was for a book he was writing, although something he was keenly interested in prior to the project). People thought his family was dirty and gross. What people don't realize is that special cleaning supplies and toilet paper have only been around for the past century or so. Cloth rags were used for thousands of years just fine. Homemade cleaners do just as good a job as chemical cleaners - without harming the environment. I have a feeling that Beavan's family is healthier than they have ever been before.

I particularly liked the footage of his wife and her struggles with embracing this way of life. It was also interesting to see in the end what things they would bring back. They did turn the electricity back on and I know Beavan's wife was looking forward to having a refrigerator again as well as a washing machine. As far as I know they did not bring back the television and they still use their own power to travel places.

If you have wondered what you could do differently to help the environment and live a greener, cleaner life, the movie No Impact Man is for you. This movie encouraged my husband and me on our journey to live without hurting the environment. We came away with new ideas, new reasons for living this way and new opinions about ways things could change. As Colin Beavan has shown in this movie, one person really can make a difference.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      hello 

      6 years ago

      GREETING,

      hello my dear friend i am margaret by name; how are you?please my dear

      i know you may be surprise,i want to be your frined,please could you

      you get back to me with this email

      i will detail(margaret55_ousman@yahoo.com)

      more about my self to you with my picture.if you reply me back.

      thanks from margaret.

      have anice day.

    • quotations profile image

      Robert P 

      7 years ago from Canada

      I think that there is too much focus being placed on changing consumption patterns as a way to help the environment while we ignore the obvious - there are too many people. As our population expands, even minimal consumption and impact has an enormous total effect. We will soon reach the tipping point where our population, even if we adopt stringent personal austerity measures to reduce our impact, will be destitute or dead.

      If we had fewer people on the planet, there would be more resources to go around. We could consume more, with less net harm to the environment. I am not advocating some sort of genocide or mass culling to bring our population down, but reducing the birth rate so that it no longer replaces natural deaths would soon reduce our population to a manageable level.

    • profile image

      Amie Warren 

      8 years ago

      I had heard of this, but didn't see the movie. I want to see that. I wouldn't live in NYC without heat for any amount of money. I live in the south, and AC is a necessity.

    • rural exile profile image

      rural exile 

      8 years ago from Derbyshire

      Thanks Jennifer for a thought provoking hub - that way of life was similar in many ways to our family way of life in childhood - I still try and live in a similar fashion but find it increasingly difficult now living in a city. Thanks again.

    • Jennifer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer 

      8 years ago

      Wandererh, the movie does talk about trying to reach a point where you are living sustainably. that is the ultimate goal.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 

      8 years ago from Singapore

      I don't think the solution is to avoid having an impact on the environment as that is unavoidable in modern day living. And the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle will only postpone the inevitable. Ultimately, we would have to find a sustainable way to maintain our way of life, such that whatever we take from the environment, we put back in equal measure.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      They still sit about instead giving the householders solar panels. It is cheaper than building a nuclear power station and it produces waste which can't be re-cycled. They will wait till the last day and then they all look surprised to cover their own back.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 

      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I didn't see the movie.I would like to read the book if there is one to read.However If,I were to see the movie wouldn't I be using energy? If,I read the book in printed form it would be made of paper I assume which requires the cutting of trees.

      Hemp fiber that has been used to make paper and cloth for centuries is clearly sustainable and would allkow us to let trees continue to grow and sequester carbon within itself.It's seed is high in protein and omega 3 fatty acid which is healthy to eat.

      We need sustainable energy sources.We could have them if we really want them.

      Just using less energy is not the answer.We will eventually run out of oil from underground sources making them more exspensive as time goes on.If,we don't aquire sustainable sources of energy before we run out of conventionale sources we will have more war.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)