Apr 18 2010

No Impact Man

One of the most amazing documentaries I’ve ever seen! It follows a man, Colin Beavan, his wife, and young daughter in New York City  as they attempt living a zero-waste lifestyle for one year.They did it in gradual steps. They did not purchase any new items except food. Their food was all locally grown, and bought at farmers markets.

They used only bikes for transportation. They used no toilet paper, or purchased household cleaners, and used no electricity for the last six months of the project.

They tore up old clothing to make scraps for toilet paper and washed their clothes in the bathtub with laundry soap they made themselves.

They did eventually receive a donated solar panel so Colin could continue writing his blog and they could cook some food in the oven.

He was highly criticized for being a self-promoter. He made no secret that he was doing a documentary and writing a book chronicling his project. That criticism from the skeptics was so quickly dismissing of the positive impact he and his family experienced as a result of the project.

They all looked a lot better and the end of the film. They lost weight, their skin looked brighter and they genuinely seemed happier.

His wife was no longer at risk for diabetes and they saved a great deal of money. Sure he did it to make some money, but you would think the capitalist critics would have been patting him on the back for that.

What’s wrong with making money if at the same time you can improve your health, spread a positive message and inspire many others to do the same?

On his website, No Impact Project, he invites those of us who wish, to do the project for one week.

There is a step-by-step manual to help, and if you don’t have anyone to do it with,

the organization will link you to others who chose the same start date so you can support one another. I have not picked my start date, but I will do the project sometime late spring, early summer. One caveat – I think I need my toilet paper. I’m still undecided on that one.

There are some changes I know I will make now. I will buy our cereal in bulk, and bring our own bags to do so, and I will attempt to make our own cleaning products.

We already do a pretty good job eating local, but I’m going to try to step it up. I’m also going to try using my bike for transportation more.

One of the things he discussed was buying local milk.

We do buy our milk from a local farm, and it comes in glass containers.

We bring the containers back to the store when we’re through so the farm can re-use them. Re-cycling is good, but reducing and re-using is better! Before I decided to get milk from that particular farm, I called the owner with some questions. He was wonderful and not only answered all of my questions, he invited the kids and I to come to the farm.

He said the kids would be able to milk the cows as well. I asked him a question that was asked in the film as well, and the answer was the same.

Question “Why isn’t your milk organic?”

Answer, “In order for it to be organic, you can’t use any antibiotics. I would never give my ‘girls’ antibiotics unnecessarily, but if they have a c-section or are sick, I’m not going to let them die.’

Sounds reasonable to me. He puts the sick cow in a different area, and does not milk her again until the antibiotics are out of her system. He also said that some of the larger organic distributors of milk (not going to name names for liability reasons), purchase milk from organic farms all over the country after they have pasteurized the milk.

Then they pasteurize it again.

By the time you drink the milk, it’s very difficult for your body to digest because it’s been ultra-pasteurized.

Take note of the expiration date of those larger organic brands next time you go to the store. They’re suspiciously long durations.

We are going in the next few weeks, and I’m sure we will have a great time and learn a lot more. I can’t wait to pass along the deets!

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