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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 – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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The brilliance of this book is its simplicity and acknowledgement of humanity; changing how we live is just plain hard, and Beavan never shies away from that fact but is instead brutally honest about how much he struggled at times. His writing is very accessible and even when he's sharing a lot of information about ecological crises around the world his terms are never so technical that the average person wouldn't be able to understand. Furthermore, he provides illustrations that make big numbers make sense for the individual, something that is rarely done but incredibly powerful. He has a very positive view of human nature, which is sometimes inspiring and empowering and other times comes off as rather naive. He is very upfront about his political and religious beliefs which I found refreshing and helpful for contextualizing his arguments and actions, whether or not I agreed with them.
The actions he takes to live in a more sustainable way are well researched and quite practical. He admits that he does not really expect the average American to put all of his ideas into practice (and that he was only able to do so because it was part of his job to carry out this whole project) but he writes of many people who were able to take a few of his ideas and integrate them into their everyday lifestyles. I found this helpful because I think living sustainably often sounds like a lot of work. It's helpful to get lots of ideas of different ways to live that are simultaneously minimally disruptive to the environment and our present lives. If reducing our contribution to the ecological crises of our day is so easy to do then we can feel empowered instead of helplessly complacent. That said, his ideas are significantly more relevant to other people living in large cities.
Have to admit I wouldn't have thought about buying this book if I wasn't required to for a college course, but I can also say that I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.
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.
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.