I have some mixed feelings about No Impact Man. On one hand, I believe that he was well-intentioned. Of course, it’s better to do something than nothing. Even if his high level of publicity/visibility came from a place of privilege, I’m sure he has inspired people to lower their own impact or at least think about the concept of environmental impact.
As mentioned in class today, all of this is most important for young people — our age or younger — who still have the open-mindedness and relative practical freedom to change the way they live and see the world. That is why it is so important to provide education to as many children as possible, so that they can grow up to be a more responsible and eco-conscious generation. A new generation has to take over for society to change in any major way, and it is the responsibility of previous generations to work towards the change being a positive one. So I can really see how the family in the video made a positive contribution, even if their personal actions didn’t do too much on their own.
It’s also important to remember that regular people, without book deals or camera crews, can do the same thing on a smaller scale. If you live in a way that reduces your impact, you can lead by example. The more people that do this, or see others in the community doing it, the more widespread, understandable and socially acceptable environmental living will become. That’s kind of the paradox — individual action is crucial… but it has to happen en masse.
I think the weaker point of the movie is that it’s not extremely relatable. The couple is not necessarily likable, and many viewers may be put off or distracted by their personalities. Of course, dismissing a good idea or concept because of the character of the person introducing it is a logical fallacy, but it is how people work all the same. But the solution is to give voice to a more diverse sampling of the environmental movement, rather than silencing or dismissing this (overall positive) documentary.