“No Impact Man” vs. Childhood Memories of Amish

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While watching No Impact Man it occurred to me that there are those around us who currently live in a similar situation as he did, and they’ve been doing it all there life as a part of their Religion. The Amish or the Pennsylvania Dutch, are not Dutch, they are in fact German.(It is a long story how they came to be where they are, but basically they wished to be free to express their religion in peace. They eventually came to settle in America with the hopes of living that life) Sometimes known as the Amish Mennonites, they are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships that form a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. They Amish are known for their simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. For the most part the live a life away from chemicals, pollution, and they eat and make a living off what they can produce locally.

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My Great Uncle John (Uncle by marriage) was once apart of a community in the Pennsylvania area many years ago, but he left to marry my Great Aunt Sis. I remember him taking us to see them all the time and us going back to see them on our own just about every month, picking up supplies and goods. I remember their large counters full of handmade wooden goods, blankets, cheeses, vegetables, homemade candies (the best!) and farm fresh eggs. In particular, I remember how they would candle their eggs to see if it was a “double yoke”, and they could sell you a pack of them. I’m sure not that many know what a double yoke is, or have ever had one, but they’re simply an egg with two yokes (an act of nature, not Human hands) – which is pretty amazing to any two-year-old, as I was when I first saw them.

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Furthermore, I recall the difference in quality of items bought from them because they did not travel a large distance. I can’t recall ever buying something from then, getting home, and seeing it was bad or rotten (as I have had happen in grocery stores mainly with meats). They toke their time and care to make things too. We still have a few furniture pieces, wall hangings, and heavy blankets from them that have stood the test of time, not a machine used in the process of making them (nor a car used in the process of getting them to the market).

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In short, I personally I grew up around them so I can imagine a life without power and technology (or at least minimum amounts of it) working out well and being much more interesting then what we have now (As well, I feel these humble people make a bigger difference then No impact man could have ever imagined. This is their life and not an experiment in order to write a book) And now looking back on all those years of watching their horses and buggies though my car window as they traveled down along side us out to their large market, I can see the positive effect they have on my memories as well as the earth.

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7 thoughts on ““No Impact Man” vs. Childhood Memories of Amish

  1. I agree. The Amish, because of their simple lives in every sense of the word, are quite remarkable people and they live out their lives in such a way because it falls in line with their beliefs, it’s what they know.

    As far as the whole No Impact Man thing goes, I admire his courage to at least try something so extreme that would undoubtedly change his whole life. He branched off from what he knew to embark on a journey that most turned their noses up to. I respect the Amish and their strong faith, their simple lives are also something that they know, it’s second nature.

    Part of me agrees with your statement “I feel these humble people make a bigger difference then No impact man could have ever imagined.”, but at the same time, I can’t compare the actions of either because the point at the end of the day is, they’re doing it no matter what the reason.

  2. This is an interesting comparison – there are a lot of neat innovations the Amish have made to do what they need to do without using electricity. I too grew up in Pennsylvania – about 20 to 30 minutes away from Lancaster. How neat it must have been to experience part of that lifestyle at such a young age – I bet it must’ve been inspiring!

  3. What a small world! My uncle’s house was in Lancaster, I lived in Berlin (south) New Jersey, but all my family was in PA. I still remember their homemade buttery ham and cheese filled pretzels and creamy ice-cream. If you get the chance (and are back home any time soon) I’d visit them. I think the market in Turnersville NJ is still open(that’s the one we visited the most), but there’s also a couple of places in Lancaster too. (Turnersville Market: http://www.yelp.com/biz/amish-farmers-market-williamstown)

  4. I would love to try out living in an amish community for a while, to live life for a while without technology and having a more simple life. I feel like it would be a great experience and be more satisfying. I haven’t had personal experience with Amish myself, except seeing them traveling on the side of the road. It seems like we have a small community near my home town so I’m going to see if I am able to buy produces from them if they have a market available.

  5. When I was in upstate New York for the summer a few years back I stayed within a large amish community for the first time. Their way of life seemed completely new to me. On one hand it was so simple but at the same time so difficult to imagine. It was refreshing to see everyone working together and an entire household and community in complete synch. The entire time I watched “No Impact Man” I was thinking of the amish communities and wondering why he didn’t do his research into the amish way of life or even bother to look at a variety of indigenous tribes all over the world that all have unique methods to live off the land.

  6. Great comparison! The Amish are living “no impact” in a quiet way—not looking for a book deal or media. I don’t know much about the Amish but I do want to know more…..

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