No Impact Man


After watching “No Impact Man”, I was so impressed about the main guy’s effort. Whatever it succeed or not, he tried at least. At some point in our lives, all of us have gone without some aspect of our modern lifestyles that we love or take for granted. Perhaps the power went out in my apartment complex for half a day, and I could not watch television. Maybe the family car broke down and everyone had to take the bus or ride a bicycle. However, I can’t really imagine if these temporary changes to my life were more permanent, lasting for one year instead of a few days. An American family living in New York City not only imagined these changes, but actually put them into action. That’s the No Impact Man.

He had concerns about the environment, but like most of us, only worried instead of taking action. One day, however, he got an idea. He wondered if he and his family could live for one year without most of life’s basic luxuries that we all take for granted. In the beginning, Colin and his wife gave things up in stages, starting with easier things first. For example, they first got rid of things they truly didn’t need, such as a big television set. They stopped taking taxis and instead rode bicycles, and they also quit going to restaurants, as this was considered another unnecessary expense. As a result, it turned out to be harder than they had originally thought.

After Colin and his family completed their year-long experiment, Colin decided to “keep” certain changes in his life, such as brushing his teeth and washing his hair with baking soda. However, other aspects of his lift went back to normal; for example, he now takes the subway when it rains. During the year, Colin and his family also noticed other changes – because they watched less TV and spent less time on the computer, they spent more time together as a family, and hung out with friends more often. There were also health benefits – Colin and his wife lost weight from riding bicycles and eating better. Of course, the Beavan family’s actions were extreme, but couldn’t we all make some of these changes, some of the time? I can give up TV for a while, I can wash my laundry by hand, and I can try to not eat fast food. These are all small changes but they are reasonable ones. I think we should take some time to see what we can do to help the environment – the number of positive changes we can make is almost infinite. We got an impact of “No Impact Man.”



-Jamie Kong


3 thoughts on “No Impact Man

  1. As a new student in Biodiversity of Earth, spring semester 2015, I greatly anticipate learning the relationship between man and environment. For our first assignment, we were asked to comment on a post from a previous semester, and I was very intrigued by your review of the film “No Impact Man”. The protagonist seems to have made decisions that are very inspirational. Advanced technology, cities, culture – the world has done what it can to make lives “easier” for humankind. It has become especially helpful in the art world, for we can contact clients/companies via email, post our work online, and even create illustrations on the computer. In turn, it is easier to make a living. But it’s important to consider that this wasn’t always an option, and there are plenty of changes we can make in our lives to improve our conditions and help the planet. My family doesn’t have cable television. We reuse and recycle at every opportunity and walk everywhere we can. But the possibilities of a “less-impact” life are endless, and in this course, I’d like to explore more options for achieving a “greener” life.

  2. I agree with the article that we need to get rid of some thing in our life that we took for granted. For examples, TV and laptop, I thought about stay away from my laptop sometimes because I realized that I spent too much time on it while I could do something else that would benefit me in the future. But it would take some effort since those things has became a part of my life, without them I wouldn’t be able to do my works.

  3. I completely agree with this read and the fact that we take too many things in life for granted. In areas where we truly don’t need a car or restaurants, out of convenience, we should consider alternatives that not only benefit our environment but also ourselves.

    We need to be more cautious of our environment by taking better care of it, and these are baby steps that everyone is capable of taking.

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