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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No Impact Fan

I'm a fan of living a life of little to no consumption, so No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process seemed interesting to me. I heard about the documentary last year and added it to my streaming queue on Netflix, but never got around to watching it. Recently I somehow came across the book on a random library search, and decided to give the book a whirl since I had been wanting to watch the film. If you've been living with your head in the sand like me, this is the story about a family who tries to live as sustainably as they can for a year without wasting. While I like the idea of the experiment and I think that everyone should question their consumption and impact on our world through their current lifestyle, I just thought the book could have been written a little better. There was too much personal writing, and not really enough about how they went about their life changes. For instance, Mr. Beavan takes to using a straight razor for shaving, but does his wife? How did they clean up after their dog on walks? They stopped using toilet paper, and I understand that Mr. Beavan got really annoyed because people always brought up that issue when talking to him about the experiment, but seriously though, what the heck did they do to clean their dairy aires? What did they do when out in public? I mean, if readers want to make similar changes, they've got to know these things. Plus, every time Colin Beavan wrote something about our excessive use of paper and cutting down trees, I would turn the book over and make sure I didn't miss something... I mean, the book was made out of paper right?

The book did pique my interest enough to check out Mr. Beaven's blog and to finally stream the documentary, which I recommend if you aren't interested in the book (and if you are interested in the book, just check it out at the library.) Even though I've already been aware of and have taken steps to change many of things that Mr. Beavin discovered on his one year journey, his experiment did open my eyes to a lot of things I had not considered before. I've always cringed at fast food places and how much trash they generate, but one thing I hadn't really looked at was our own trash bin at home and how much trash we generate and why it matters until reading this book. I am now very tempted to take on the challenge of a one-week carbon cleanse, as soon as our garage sale is over next week. I know that it won't be difficult at all for me, but I know it will be for Lee.

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