No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

Today I’m sharing a must watch and a must read all at once. It’s about Coling Beavan and his family. That’s because Beavan names himself the No Impact Man. As Beavan mentions, his family and him used to be like most other American families. They barely cook their own food, don’t own a bike and work a whole lot to name a few things. But then they go on a journey! The journey to becoming a No Impact Man (or family really). Beavan doesn’t want to have a negative impact on the planet anymore (what I’d call an eco-positive lifestyle). The book and documentary I’m sharing today are about this journey towards that goal.

No Impact

The book and documentary about Beavan and his family tell the story of them switching to a lifestyle with no impact on the planet. I’d say this is unrealistic. It’s just not possible. You can live within the earth’s capacity, but you’ll always have impact (maybe even positive impact!). But Beavan defines the term ‘no impact’ by not emitting any CO2 and not producing any waste. It’s a noble goal! The book tells the story during the period of a year and you see how the family slowly adds new sustainable habits during this project.

Sustainability and Health

In the first few months they first aim to eat local and vegetarian, so they’ll start cooking theirselves. This part really shows how sustainable switches can create healthy habits too. They go to the farmers market and cook more healthily. Coffee isn’t local and so you see the journey of quitting that too. They also go through their waste in this period, to see where to improve. By this insight, they start using reusable diapers for example.

Sustainability and Fun

As the story goes on, they keep on adding new habits. One of the last things they do is cut off the power! I found that so radical (but interesting to read!). But this story also shows that sustainability can be a lot of fun too and can bring you together (unexpectedly). Since the family doesn’t own a TV anymore they spend way more time together with family and friends. They get way more sleep because they sleep not long after it gets dark (and people even compliment them for looking so good and rested). They never take elevators anymore and choose to buy bikes to travel around. Life gets more fun and healthy, and more sustainable!

Why You Should Read It

I loved the book! I was sincerely sad when I finished it because I wanted to follow the family longer. But luckily a documentary was made about them too. This makes the story more visual (which I liked a lot). You really get an image of the journey, how the family lives and what they look like. I love how their journey is about doing things cold turkey. They choose to do something and they jump right into it. The No Impact project lasts one year in extreme form and then they evaluate which parts stay and which go. Some things seem radical at first, like getting rid of the TV, but in the end it turns out they like those things the most. Everything seems scary at first, but you can really see how the family gets happier over time.

Since it’s a personal story, it’s a book I really love. You get sucked into the family’s story. And at the same time I learned from them. All things I can do myself when I have my own home. You can follow Beavan via this website if you would like to. But first, read the book and watch the documentary!

Yours sincerely,
Romee

0 thoughts on “No Impact Man by Colin Beavan”

  1. Wat mij vooral opviel was dat zijn vrouw nog nooit had gekookt! Dat komt in Nederland iets minder vaak voor denk ik. Buiten de deur eten is hier echt veel duurder dan in Amerika en Japan… (al kunnen in Japan alle vrouwen sowieso wel wat koken, in Amerika blijkbaar niet?)

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