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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 Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Beavan (Fingerprint) chronicles his yearlong effort to leave as little impact on the environment as possible. Realizing that he had erred in thinking that condemning other people's misdeeds somehow made [him] virtuous, he makes a stab at genuine (and radical) virtue: forgoing toilet paper and electricity, relinquishing motorized transportation, becoming a locavore and volunteering with environmental organizations. Beavan captures his own shortcomings with candor and wit and offers surprising revelations: lower resource use won't fill the empty spaces in my life, but it is just possible that a world in which we already suffer so much loss could be made a little bit better if husbands were kinder to their wives. While few readers will be tempted to go to Beavan's extremes, most will mull over his thought-provoking reflections and hopefully reconsider their own lifestyles. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“From their first baby steps (no takeout) to their giant leap (no toilet paper), the Beavans' experiment in ecological responsibility was a daunting escapade in going green . . . So fervent as to make Al Gore look like a profligate wastrel, Beavan's commitment to the cause is, nonetheless, infectiously inspiring and uproariously entertaining.” ―Booklist
“With thorough research, Beavan updates his blog (noimpactman.com) with convincing statistical evidence, while discovering new ways to reduce consumption and his family's environmental footprint . . . An inspiring, persuasive argument that individuals are not helpless in the battle against environmental degradation and global warming.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Beavan captures his own shortcomings with candor and wit and offers surprising revelations . . . [Readers] will mull over his thought-provoking reflections and hopefully reconsider their own lifestyles.” ―Publishers Weekly
“No Impact Man is a deeply honest and riveting account of the year in which Colin Beavan and his wife attempted to do what most of us would consider impossible. What might seem inconvenient to the point of absurdity instead teaches lessons that all of us need to learn. We as individuals can take action to address important social problems. One person can make a difference.” ―Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat
“Colin Beavan has the disarming and uniquely remedial ability to make you laugh while he's making you feel like a swine, and what's more, to make you not only want to, but to actually do something, about it.” ―Norah Vincent, author of Voluntary Madness
“There's something of Thoreau in Colin Beavan's great project--but a fully engaged, connected, and right-this-minute helpful version. It's a moment when we need to have as little impact in our own lives as possible--and as much impact in our political lives as we can possibly muster. Beavan shows how!” ―Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy
“No Impact Man is a subversive book--not because it preaches a radical environmental agenda, but because it gives the secret to personal rebellion against the bitterness of a man's own compromises.” ―Arthur Brooks, author of Gross National Happiness
“The No Impact Experiment changed Colin Beavan and reading No Impact Man will change you.” ―Annie Leonard, creator of "The Story of Stuff"
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Beavan's changes in his family's lifestyle have many changes from they're used to. You'll have to read it yourself to find out if the changes improve their way of life or not.
The one page that left a sour taste was 222, about the BBC journalist who insisted on knowing what they did in lieu of toilet paper. The author's bitterness towards people's understandable fascination with the toilet paper issue erupts here, and the self-righteous tone of it feels totally out of place in an otherwise humble and beautifully written book. Better to just say, "we used water," or leaves or whatever the case may have been.
Besides that one quip, reading "No Impact Man" made me feel noticeably more self-aware. I am more thoughtful about how I affect the world around me with every thought and action, and I find myself making positive changes in my behavior, even without any conscious effort to do so. To me, that is the standard of an excellent and worthwhile book. Thank you for your contribution, Mr. Beavan.
The story was entertaining but I kind of expected him to go no impact all at once, not slowly, over the course of almost a year. The book had a lot of good links for people interested in green lifestyles. It was worth buying just for these links but the story of this guy's struggles with going no impact was an entertaining read.
If nothing else, it kind of made me feel good about myself because I have never been anywhere near as wasteful as this man and his wife were before they did this project.