No Impact Man

by Leisa on November 16, 2010

I really enjoyed this movie when I saw it a while ago. I think it was a really interesting insight into how most of us would handle lowering our environmental impact, coming from a modern western society lifestyle. The challenges, hardships, benefits and changes that the family went through were very real and honest.

“Writer Colin Beavan decided to be a guinea pig for a radical experiment to help the planet for one year. He vowed to live outside the comfort zone and make as little environmental impact as possible. His wife, Michelle, and their 2-year-old daughter, Isabella, were forced to go along. Some of the things they gave up included toilet paper, disposable razors, television, automated transportation, non-local food, plastic bags, take-out meals, shopping for anything new and electricity.

Directors Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein take a character-driven approach in this 90-minute documentary. It is enjoyable to get to know this Manhattan-based family and spend time with them as they struggle with extreme lifestyle changes.

The movie is filled with humorous moments as these engaging personalities make sacrifices to benefit the environment. They are forced to spend more time outside and find the days last longer. It forces the viewer to rethink what is really important in life and consider similar beneficial changes. Michelle told Colin when they got married that she did not like camping. “Now our whole house (actually an apartment) has turned into a campground,” says Michelle.

Commendable camera work contrasts their claustrophobic 5th Avenue apartment with familiar Manhattan landmarks. This project of reduce, reuse and recycle became the subject of Beavan’s just-published book about his experiences. Environmental activists questioned Beavan’s sincerity and motives. They claimed this was a publicity stunt with the book’s release on 9/11 coinciding with the documentary’s opening date in New York and Los Angeles.

The movie makes some sound arguments regarding the breakdown of community. Beavan stresses that we are all interconnected and not isolated on some remote island. This non-fiction film compares favorably with “Super Size Me” where Morgan Spurlock ate all his meals for a year at McDonald’s.

This curiosity piece should stimulate interesting conversations about the lessons learned from the viewing experience. Now showing exclusively for a limited engagement at the Tivoli in Westport.Review By:
Keith Cohen “The Movie Guy”

Although most of us are not going to go to this extreme level of change in one hit – the story provides some tips and tools as to how to lower your impact in many ways. Highly recommended.



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4 commentsAdd comment

Helen Selmeczy November 17, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I just watched the trailer of this movie and i can totally understand where Beavan is coming from. I’ve always been health and environmentally conscious ,or so I thought. In August this year my life changed rapidly. I watched “Food Matters” , then I enrolled in David Wolfes on line “Raw Certification Course”. Then I very happily made huge changes in my life. The changes came from all levels, Dietary, environmentally, spiritually.I am devouring information on health and environment issues and I can feel myself interconnecting and becoming centred like never in my life . My Husband and friends (some of them ) think I have totally lost it. I don’t care about peer pressure or what others think. I am doing what I feel is 100% right for all beings and our mother earth. I have never been happier or healthier and I am able to touch others with my lifestyle. I still have a long way to go . I am learning every step of way. I really admire this family and am really looking forward to seeing the whole movie. I am 100% with Beavan when he says we are interconnected. I know that every positive change all of us make ,grows a bigger , stronger, more powerful positive change. Wishing you a wonderful Day . 🙂

Darlene December 15, 2010 at 7:50 am

When you give up things like these you realize how much you depend on them making your life easier and how lazy we are.

Leisa January 2, 2011 at 5:08 am

Hi Helen,
Great to see you on here! What you are doing and the direction you’re taking in life has so many benefits, that it is mind-blowing to hear that some of your friends thing you’ve lost it! It makes so much sense for our health, connectedness, spirituality, emotional health, the health of the planet and our ability to think more clearly and critically when we move towards these ideals of living more in tune with nature and the planet. More and more people are moving in this direction, and we’re not all crazy, so you go girl!

Leisa January 2, 2011 at 5:09 am

Hi Darlene,
Yes, we do get complacent and take a lot of things for granted, so watching this type of movie highlights areas where we don’t need to be so complacent and can shift things in our lives. Every step helps.

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