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No Impact Man (2009)No Impact Man (2009)

First there was the obligatory blog, then print and television coverage around the world (New York Times, Colbert, Diane Sawyer, etc.), a book, and now the film — all documenting Colin Beavan's year-long project to live in such a way as to have zero impact on the environment. He crowned himself "no impact man," which led to charges of eco-sanctimony, delusion, self-promotion, and even deceit. Beavan and his wife Michelle, a high fructose and caffeine junky by her own admission, live in Manhattan, but that didn't stop them from shedding possessions, eliminating all packaged products, replacing toilet paper with rags, using bikes instead of powered transport, walking the stairs instead of riding the elevator, and lighting candles when they shut off their electricity. Yes, you can even compost in a tiny urban apartment. Despite the many charges that this was little more than a stunt by a zealot, I was reminded that in our culture of consumption we could all do more to live in more earth-friendly ways. For a good critique of Beavan and his project see Elizabeth Kolbert's article in the New Yorker, "Green Like Me.".

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