No Impact — what worked and what flopped?

The film on the “No Impact Man” that we viewed in class brought up several interesting methods in which we can reduce impact on the earth that I had not previously thought of. It also reminded me of several methods that I, myself, had convinced myself I would make use of. For example, I’d never thought that people actually used composting techniques to get rid of trash—I’d always thought of it as more of a joke. Hell, I’d never even heard of the “pot in a pot”. I have heard of biking/scootering to work and around town, however—that practice is far more common in modern society, and something that I would definitely like to take advantage of rather than drive around in my unfortunately sized FJ Cruiser (it’s for long-distance travel purposes and not leisure, I assure you).

There are three things that were constantly going through my head as we watched the film; the first being “is it really practical in our culture to live your life with the restrictions that ‘no impact man’ puts on himself?” I mean sure, he can do it for a year, but even he, who was so driven the entire time, had to admit that he desperately missed his old lifestyle at the end of the allotted time. I’d wager that about 95%, probably more, of Americans couldn’t last for even half as long as he did. Secondly, I was wondering if his methods, as extreme as they are, would really work—for him or for the planet. The composting and lack of electricity were probably the only things that were truly successful as far as helping the environment while allowing “no impact man” to maintain a normal lifestyle. But other things like the “pot in a pot” just flopped, and ended in him making an impact on the earth anyway. Yes, the ice was borrowed from someone else and technically he himself had no impact from it, but the family still used the ice, and thusly is responsible for the fact that the people they borrowed it from had to buy more ice sooner, and contribute that tiny amount to the earth’s Freon poisoning in making more ice.

Lastly, I just wanted to slap his wife. Like… the whole time. I mean come on, an iced quad-espresso? Ugh.

–William Avery


5 thoughts on “No Impact — what worked and what flopped?

  1. Even though the pot in the pot thing was a great idea. The only problem was that since he lives in the city it was hard for him to have it outside. Overall when the composting box was inside, flies were in there and they were flying out. Thats kind of gross.

  2. It does seem impractical to be completely no impact in this day and age in the city, considering they have no land really to compost stuff outside or grow anything except for a small community plot. I see it more just as a experiment than really a feasible way to live, but I think that the Beavan family got a lot of becoming no-impact, such as spending more time with friends and family that’s not centered around a television and how the wife reversed her pre-diabetic conditions by switching to a mostly vegetarian diet. If not for the sake of the environment, I think that the benefit that you’ll become a better, healthier individual is a good reason to switch off the TV and lay off the double dose of meat.

  3. It is impractical to put yourself through extreme measures like that, especially when you compare the little impact it has on the environment to the great impact it may have on your lifestyle and health. I think the key is to reduce your impact instead of trying to have no impact at all. Because it’ll only really have an affect on the environment if there are many other people joining in on the effort, which they’d be more willing to do if they only have to change some of their lifestyle.

  4. A lot of the ways that he tried to have no impact were pretty easy to adapt. Cloth diapers are a regular thing that happens around the world, so as to produce less waste and save money. The pot in a pot, though it didn’t work so well, I’m sure works in different conditions around the world. All of his ideas that he tried to implement were taken from other cultures because they, at some point, work.

    -Kathryn Fell

  5. The key is to find a adaptable lifestyle that can also co-exist with the eco friendly one. Like biking to work instead of driving. Using reusable bags instead of plastic.

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