no impact man


The cold hard truth is that in order to keep our planet clean and healthy for the generations to come, humans need to consume less. The average American produces over 1,600 pounds of garbage and 27 tons of air pollution a year. The air pollution we cause comes from our use of natural fuels and electricity, mainly consumed through transportation of ourselves and the goods that we consume. Often, those goods not only use energy in their transportation half-way around the world, but also in their production.

But what if we were to limit our consumption? What if we were to live making as little an impact as humanly possible? It's a radical thought, but not too radical for Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man. In 2006 Colin and his family decided to live producing as little environmental impact as possible. What does that mean? Try no packaged goods, electricity, driving, even toilet paper. They made the decision to only consume food that was produced within 250 miles of their NYC home, which if you think about it, means no coffee, olive oil, pasta, kiwi, or any other goods that are not produced in upstate NY. 

As radical as Colin's project is, he makes several very great points. To start, the purpose of his experiment is to see what, after a year, they can and cannot live without in order to cut back on consumption. He believes that optimism will incite change, and even points out that it's not always about how can you go without something, but how can you make it work in a more sustainable way. If we can get back to a communal way of life, we can understand how our own impact effects others, and we can work together to provide what everyone needs in an efficient way.

A huge proponent of the eat local movement and a lover of green goods, I was deeply moved by Colin's documentary. It's not about flip turning your life upside down, but about questioning your habits and believing that we can repair what we've already destroyed through simple changes. What you can do to make a difference? It can be as easy as purchasing a reusable shopping bag or a water bottle and committing to their use. Below are several of the things that I can commit to myself as of right now. I hope to make more and more changes in the months to come, and I hope you'll join me. We're all in this together.

My Commitments to Less Impact:
1. To cut back on my use of plastic ware  I will bring a set of silverware to work along with the plate and mug that I already have.
2. I will never use ziplock bags again, just reusable containers.
3. I will walk and ride my bike as many places as possible, no being lazy!
4. I will continue to eat local, and try to do so in a bigger/stricter way.
5. I will buy the majority of my clothing from thrift and vintage stores.
6. I will get reusable bags for bulk foods at the supermarket, and no more plastic bags in general.


Check out the No Impact Project for more ideas on what you can do to help create change

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