Film Review: No Impact Man

The film No Impact Man follows Colin Beavan, his wife, and their two year-old daughter during their yearlong experiment to live in New York City and make no net impact on the environment. That means, as Beavan puts it, “no trash (so no take-out food), no carbon dioxide emissions (so no driving or flying), no produce from distant lands, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no buying anything new….” Not to mention no electricity and toilet paper.

The film is less about how to live sustainably and more about what Beavan and his family learn about themselves during the experiment. Is it possible to live a no-impact lifestyle, especially in New York City? Would living this way be more fun or less fun? More satisfying or less satisfying? How necessary are the conveniences we take for granted? What can we live without and what can’t we live without?

Most importantly, do individual actions make a difference?

I enjoyed the film very much. I especially found Beavan’s wife, Michelle, to be interesting. Addicted to shopping and Starbucks, Michelle sacrificed the most during their yearlong experiment, yet she always maintained a positive attitude and sense of humor.

The film inspired me to pick up Beavan’s book by the same title. (Review coming soon!) It also inspired me to take additional steps to live more sustainably. I’ll share some of the changes that I’ve made in the next couple of weeks.

No Impact Man is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a long time, and I highly recommend it. Central Arkansas Library System has a copy of it, so check it out!

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