This was an interesting documentary, certainly worth watching. I feel his efforts to live with no impact would have been much more effective and practical if he did not live in a major city, but the extreme of New York City as his setting served to make a point, demonstrating what can be done by the majority, those who live without much access to the natural world who typically have the most impact on the environment. I really appreciate that it did not claim to be scientific or in any way an authority on its subject, despite its clear attempt at honesty. The man seemed to make great efforts to remain sensible and down-to-earth, despite the extreme nature of his experiment, which gave the whole thing a kind of honest credibility.
Of the two people this film followed, I found the man to be quite relateable in his motives, practices, and execution, but found his wife to be absolutely intolerable. The entire film I was trying to figure out what brought these two clearly incompatible people together, and hearing that they had separated after the film came as no surprise. Maybe it has something to do with my upbringing, but I just can’t bring myself to understand her kind of manipulative, helpless victim, consumer mentality.
My family has always been environmentally conscious, regularly recycling, composting, almost never eating out, and enjoying many long camping excursions where we would separate ourselves from civilization entirely with no electricity, plumbing, or access to shopping centers, often eating fish that we had caught ourselves. The few things we never gave up were toilet paper, meat, and sugary food. Simply because I’ve never given these things up, I feel compelled to try living without them, though the idea going without toilet paper is a bit off-putting. Given the minimal environmental impact of paper products, I feel this aspect of the experiment was a bit unnecessary but I noticed that they never really discussed their personal feelings about it, which is all the more strange.