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Showing 1-10 of 85 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 133 reviews
on April 9, 2014
This is the autobiographical story of Colin Beavan, an author in New York who becomes greatly concerned with the negative impacts humans are having on the environment and embarks on a journey to discover what it looks like to live life in New York with a wife, small child and a dog while having no net impact on the environment. Beavan makes this transition gradually, making the following lifestyle changes over the course of a year: no production of trash whatsoever, almost entire reduction of carbon emissions, no impact eating through consumption of locally grown, organic foods, only purchasing previously owned or used goods, no coal-powered electricity and making positive impacts on the environment. He does not simply talk about the experiences, however, but explains his motives for undertaking the No Impact project, shares information about the degradation of different environmental resources and integrates his own personal struggles and past experiences in an occasionally heart-wrenching narrative style. This journey is clearly moral as he wrestles with the relationship between humanity and nature and searches for answers to human realities of suffering and death. Beavan ultimately concludes that while action by individuals is absolutely necessary to the restoration of our environment, a fundamental culture change must take place for the degradation of our habitat to come to a halt.

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.
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on April 9, 2014
The statistics that Beavan uses throughout the book were astounding to me. Whether the specific statistic discussed the amount of trash that the average American produces every day or the amount of Carbon dioxide that is emitted through driving, it showed how many things Americans do that harm the environment. Since it seems to me that we are fighting a losing battle, part of me thinks “What is the point?” but I think that this is part of the reason that Beavan underwent this dramatic lifestyle change. His actions show that we can make a difference but our individual actions are related to the individual actions of other people. If individual effort leads to collective effort, the struggle is so much sweeter. Through their actions, Beavan and his family exposed me to a new way to think about the way I affect my immediate environment and the planet as a whole.
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on April 24, 2017
I give this a gift and they loved it.
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on August 30, 2015
I really enjoyed this book. However, it does not go into great detail about how he did what he did. For example, he stops producing almost all trash, but he only lists a couple of ways he did that. What I'm trying to say is its a great read and very inspiring, but it is certainly not a "how-to" book if you're wanting to do what he did.
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on April 29, 2015
I love this book and it's message. Living with minimal impact is something we should all strive for. Not only for humans but for the sake of all nature and all living things. Everything comes in a package it seems, so to attempt living without creating garbage is not easy; but it's very admirable and offers positive influence and change that we need in this world. Hats off to Colin and his family for doing their part towards making a difference.
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on May 15, 2017
The book made me take a more serious look at how I use common resources. Even small changes made by many people can impact our environment. I am a recycler but am now using fewer paper products that litter our landfills and fewer chemical cleaning products.
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on November 25, 2016
This book is amazing... (better than the movie). A lot of really good facts. I have been trying to go zero waste which made me get the book. Not only, does it say things that are NOT just common sense it really motivates you. Still reading... wish there was a sequel.
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on May 27, 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation! It was great fun to compare the movie with the audio book--sometimes it was the difference of night and day. I think I listened to this about 30-35 times--and will probably have to order a new copy, eventually! Very enjoyable to see the changes and interactions between the two principals, and how they grew during the course of the year-long experiment. Well worth it!
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on March 3, 2016
I think this book does a great job highlighting the importance of being environmentally friendly. It was really encouraging to me, and has encouraged me to try to make a difference.
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on January 4, 2013
"Negative Impact + Positive Impact = No Net Impact." (No Impact Man, page 15) In many ways that simple equation from Colin Beavens' book, No Impact Man, is what the book and his no impact experiment is all about. His individual responsibility to his family, his planet and himself. Mr. Beavens' book doesn't come off as preachy at all, it's actually a pretty interesting journey of self exploration.

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.
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