no impact man [film]

a couple of years ago i ran across the beginnings of author colin beavan's then-new project/blog 'no impact man.' as i followed the blog and learned about the mostly insane concept - an attempt by one family of 3 to exist for one year in new york city without making a carbon footprint - i became more and more intrigued. over time, my following of the blog flagged, and now the release of beavan's documentary has snuck up on me. jeremy saw the thing and said his feelings about it match pretty closely with the review from the av club below.
Being a conscientious consumer in the modern world means being made acutely aware, time and again, of your own hypocrisy. You can use paper instead of plastic, dutifully maintain your recycling bin, buy organic and locally produced foods when possible, replace all the bulbs in your house with energy-efficient fluorescents, and still leave a massive carbon footprint from food packaging, new clothes, diapers, electricity, paper, transportation, and the hundreds of pounds of trash every person generates annually. The value of No Impact Man, a compelling and suitably exasperating documentary about one family’s attempt to not harm the environment for a year, is that it forces viewers to reflect on their own casual consumption and waste. The experiment is inevitably compromised—and as a self-promotional venture, it just spreads more waste—but that only makes the film more engaging and provocative.

Like a literary Morgan Spurlock, author Colin Beavan devised his “No Impact Man” persona as a high-concept hook for a blog and a book about his family’s attempt at spartan living in the middle of New York City. (full article)

link: the book
link: "the year without toilet paper" (nytimes, 2007)

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