No Impact Man

No Impact Man seems heavily criticized, as everything should be. Colin Beavan is not perfect, and his project’s name is a misnomer, of course, and he is very privileged to be able to do what he is doing. That’s not to say, however, that it was an easy feat. He did what a lot of people could do, technically, but did not have as strong a will. It was a “What If” project that was able to highlight a lot of ignored problems in a way that some parts of the population can relate. He (and his family) were able to touch a lot of people with their project. This was not a documentary with a global impact, but does it have to be?

In particular, the documentary really got me to realize how much trash my apartment was producing on a weekly basis, and how generally clueless I could be about where it all was coming from. For one, we use a lot of water bottles and coke cans. We want to get a water filter to reduce or flat out eliminate our water bottle use, and consume less coke. Sometimes we eat out, like at Brickman’s or Burger King, and we get a paper plate and a paper cup or a bag full of disposable things. What is there to do for us? Stop eating at Brickman’s? Stop eating fast food? Do we really have to make these big lifestyle changes? This wastefulness is deeply ingrained into our society, and I’m disturbed at the culture we’ve created that has such a painful reliance on disposability.

Anyway, if “No Impact Man” can touch anyone in a meaningful way, and get them to consider their actions more, and make what changes they can, then it is of no harm.

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2 thoughts on “No Impact Man

  1. A lot of the criticism hurled at No Impact Man was tied to how the project, in its entirety, was a huge, hardly subtle jab at the American consumer lifestyle of the middle class. People don’t like being told that they way they live, and the lifestyle they’ve been raised to live by, is “wrong”. But the point of the project wasn’t to insult its audience, but rather, to show them a “better path”, if you will. So you’re closing sentence is one I wholeheartedly agree with.

  2. I think you make some great observations about why No Impact Man was rejected by many. Its purpose, truly, had a great impact on its viewers. I too have considered the amount of waste my household creates. For me, I feel as if there has always been a perilous balance between complete acceptance of the American consumerist lifestyle, and challenging the norm but also being criticized as “snobby,” “hippie,” and “unrealistic” that puts people off of making big changes in their own lives. But, after watching No Impact Man, I believe that we all can make a huge difference with what we have. Farmer’s Market, here I come.

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