• Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Here’s a kid in his 40s called No Impact Man, the age of my children, who has done something I have not been imaginative or courageous enough to do.

For 365 days he and wife Michelle and child Isabella, living in New York City, produced no trash which was not composted, purchased no food except that grown with a 250-mile radius, used no carbon-based transportation (cycling and walking), and used no paper products, including toilet paper. No TV. No fast food. No meat.

I see and hear this boyish person, Colin Beavan, at Illinois Wesleyan University. Two thousand students at IWU, among 30,000 nationwide, have read his book, No Impact Man (2009), as part of their summer reading assignment. Illinois Wesleyan, along with many institutions around the world, have committed this semester to using his principles during No Impact Week.

About 30% of Americans suffer from depression or high anxiety. No Impact Year, for the Beavans, meant life slowed down, the kitchen table became the center of a social network, and they became happier, with less anxiety.

The meaning of ecological crises is not to live small, with self-denial, but to address the big question, How can I help build healthy community?

Photo below comes from Colin’s appearance at Illinois Wesleyan.

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