Alternative Living, Part Two: No Impact


A number of years ago I heard a radio interview with a man who was striving to live for an entire year without creating a carbon footprint* on the earth. I was immediately captivated by the idea and the details of his plan, and impressed that he had taken on the challenge with a somewhat less enthusiastic wife, and a toddler in tow. Colin Bevan, aka “No Impact Man” lives in New York City, which both eased and complicated the lifestyle experiment he took on in 2007. Imagine living a whole year in the city, your only means of transportation your own two feet (which also are used to power the family bike); not using the subway or elevators; buying nothing encased in packaging (buying almost nothing new, for that matter); not using air conditioning or watching TV; using nothing made of plastic; and composting ALL your waste (and I do mean all!). There’s even more.

I followed his No Impact Year via his blog then watched the documentary when it was released.

Colin’s original idea for following a no impact lifestyle was to make a difference for the environment and the earth. What he never expected- and what turned out to be the best lasting effect of the No Impact Year- was the increased health and happiness he experienced within himself, and with his family; how they learned to live and enjoy life together in a deeper way than ever before. I’ll never forget one story he told about riding his bike through the city streets in pouring rain, his little daughter in a carrier backpack, worried about her getting soaked. He tried to keep her covered with an umbrella, but she still cried and cried. Then he realized she always stopped crying when gusts of wind brought the rain down upon them. She actually wanted to feel the rain and the wind; the real elements of the life they were living.

Ready to take on the challenge? For a year? A month? How about just a week? No Impact Man still provides the guidance and opportunity.

*the amount of greenhouse gases that you generate in the form of carbon dioxide.


One thought on “Alternative Living, Part Two: No Impact

  1. Pingback: Thirty-One Days: Reuse, Remake, Re-love | reusethematerialgirl

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