No Impact Man: One Man's Attempt to Go Off the Grid

At Be Green Packaging, we believe the planet is full of eco-conscious individuals. These people likely drive their cars to work, produce garbage, and consume electricity and water. They may feel guilty each time they are at the pump or when they forget to turn the lights off, but it is unlikely that the average consumer will make disciplined lifestyle changes.

Colin Beaven, on the other hand, decided that he wanted to change his ways. In 2006, he convinced his family to conduct a year long experiment to see if, in the twenty first century, it was possible for a family to make no net impact on the environment.

“Beaven swore off plastic and toxins, turned off his electricity, went organic, became a bicycle nut and tried to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.” For one year, he lived a completely self-sufficient lifestyle. “In other words, no trash, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no air-conditioning, no television” (www.borders.com).

A few days ago, Be Green asked the question, “Could You Eliminate Plastic From Your Life?” No Impact Man shows that with some sacrifice, anything is possible. Beaven no only eliminated plastics from his life, but did so much more.

Beaven documented his year-long experiment in his book No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process. Beaven also created a blog to allow people who were inspired by his family’s effort, to follow suit.

“By the end, they discovered something surprising. Living simply wasn’t just good for the environment; it made them healthier, happier and richer in ways they’d never expected” (http://noimpactproject.org/)

If, after reading the book or watching the film, you feel empowered to change your lifestyle, you can participate in the No Impact Experiment. This is a one-week long “carbon cleanse” that takes place in August. “It is a chance for you to see what a difference no impact living can have on your quality of life” (http://noimpactproject.org/experiment).

In the 20th century, the American dream was to have two cars in every garage. Now, in the 21st century, perhaps this dream has become a bit antiquated. Why not have two bicycles in every garage and two feet on the ground as we move towards a healthier planet and a healthier population?