No Impact Man is a documentary about a family that embarks on a year-long project to live without making an environmental impact. The movie evolved from the clever, informative blog No Impact Man written by a man who believes that efforts like reducing waste and eating sustainable food should not be about deprivation, but about making the world a better place to live, which will ultimately make us happier than all that stuff anyway. I found myself nodding in agreement throughout the entire movie.
It may be tricky to give up toilet paper, but it’s not so hard to bring your strawberry cartons back to the farmer’s market to reuse, or just to start shopping at a farmer’s market, or to eliminate household chemical cleaners, or just to think about each purchase.
Suffice it to say, there are about a million things you can do shrink your impact if you want. Here’s No Impact Man’s Top Ten Eco-Lifestyle Changes to get you started. Or you could just rent the movie for inspiration. It’s a balanced portrayal of the project (they have plenty of critics) and an honest profile of a marriage in the midst of a stressful experiment. Their 2-year-old daughter is perhaps the most natural environmentalist, comfy in her cloth diapers and squealing in delight at the worms in the compost. She didn’t complain about reading by candlelight and taking the stairs; she thought cleaning the laundry by stomping on it the in the bathtub was the most fun a girl could have. Perhaps, then, the key to being a good friend to the planet is to reclaim your 2-year-old self and find joy in the everyday.