“Is it possible to have a good life without wasting so much?”
Well, depending on your own nature (plus irritability factor), you may want to either scream “YES, YOU MORON, ARE YOU KIDDING?!” or more calmly intone, “Absolutely, Mr. Beavan, I already get it and am doing what I can, but how do we efficaciously spread the gospel far and wide?”
Well, with response two lies the big question, which No Impact Man, the blog, the book and the movie, grapples with to varying degrees of success. As we’re already deep in cliche-ville when it comes to constant reminders of “it’s not easy being green,” do we need another reminder of how our modern world of 24/7 conveniences and heedless mass consumption clash head-on with getting back to planet-preserving simplicity, if not to the non-subsidized, people-powerd farm, preferably off the grid, where the vast majority of GDP-boosting consumer practices are eschewed or pilloried?
I believe the answer’s yes, especially if it sparks dialogue and debate, and seeps, burbles or boils further into the mainstream.
In No Impact Man, the movie, wider viewership (now that it’s on DVD) can be stimulated by its simple “reality TV factor,” which draws the trendy gaze by its train-wreck premise—How is Beavan’s family going to actually do this for a whole year without going batty? Can they survive without—gasp!—toilet paper, disposable diapers for the baby, a fridge, packaged foods, etc.? It becomes as much an intimate character study (there’s a bit of cabin fever on display here, too) as stick-by-your-guns eco-pledge, and it works quite effectively well in this potentially wobbly and at-odds context. It certainly shows the everyday challenges of attempting to live a no/low-impact life (the ice-cooler “cheat,” when it occurs, is entirely understandable and easy to commiserate with).
So if you’re not entirely put off by the book and blog gimmick tie in (Julie and Julia, anybody?), take a gander at No Impact Man while sitting in the dark, and why not? spread the gospel of wasting little and living more.