One of the very first documentaries I viewed after getting Netflix a few years back was No Impact Man. Recommended to me at work by a fellow health nut, I was surprised and challenged by this family’s brave quest.
The premise of the documentary (and corresponding book of the same title) is that the Beavan family (husband, wife, and child) attempt to live with no environmental impact for an entire year- while residing in the middle of Manhattan. Many challenges arise, from transportation (bikes become a favorite) to food sourcing (how can you eat locally?) to what to do about toilet paper (do they ever answer that one?).
The participants are very honest about their feelings during the experiment, and how it affects them in life afterwards as well. It’s quite entertaining to see the whole family stomping laundry in the tub, or experimenting with ancient preservation techniques in lieu of a refrigerator. They even go to visit the farms (just outside of NYC) where most of their food was coming from. There is great dialogue interspersed about different industries (dairy and “organics” being two big ones) that may change the way you think about things, too. This film changed that way I view “antibiotic free” labeling.
While I know that not everyone can live like this family, I love that they inspired little changes in my life, and caused me to question what I could do differently to lessen my environmental impact. After seeing this, Matt and I started walking to the grocery store when we could, and using cut up old tees instead of paper towels for small messes. We also made use of power strips so that we can turn off unnecessary electronics when we are gone for an extended time. We might not live without refrigeration, but we certainly were moved to make changes where we could. If you have a free night, I highly suggest watching this film- you wont regret it!
Lessening impact alongside you this weekend,