No Impact Man

The movie No Impact Man confused me.  I still haven’t decided how I feel about it.  .  For one year, Colin Beavan and his family stopped using electricity, produced no trash, used on bikes and walking for transportation, and bought nothing but food that was locally grown.  At first I thought Beaven’s plan was ambitious, his project not only had the possibility of changing his families life, but also of having a greater global affect on climate change.  Personally, I think he’s crazy to actually live that way for an entire year, but I also kind of understand how he thought the experiment could potentially have a greater effect on climate change.  Though the project was started with the right idea, however, throughout the year I feel like Beaven began to use the project for individual gain and focused less on the global impact it might have. Ultimately, I feel like the project advances and challenges important problems, but does so not only in a cliché way, but also comes off as an “ethically murky” self promotion.

Beavan had the right idea, but ended up looking like an attention seeking extremist. The movie started and I was in shock.  I thought not only was it impossible, but also it seemed pointless. As soon the movie continued I started to feel sort of bad for his wife and child, thinking that some aspects of the project seemed not only unhygienic, but also cruel.  I’m genuinely impressed his wife tolerated the entire year the project lasted.

Though he repeatedly made the point that no everyone was meant to take the extremist path that he forced his family upon, I feel like his efforts were not big enough to actually do any actual good for the greater population, but just big enough to act as a type of self promotion that allowed fame in both his field and city. He constantly preaches that his intentions are to change society, but in reality the entire film focuses on him, not even really on his family.  I feel like the film could have been more successful if it focused more on the process that his wife and child went through because both of them come off as much more relatable than he does (which is sad considering the child is a toddler).  Throughout the film, Beaven becomes very intense and unlikeable.  Also, I feel like the film would’ve been more successful if it had addressed less dramatic ways of lowering ones footprint.  I think that it focuses too much on Beaven and his extremist ideals.

The steps taken by Beaven and his family definitely had some genuine intentions of exposing Americans to their ability to change or lower their impact on the environment, but the main problem with the film is that that message became murky due to Beaven’s obvious intentions of self promotion.  The feedback he got from the project was both negative and positive, but in today’s society, in terms of becoming famous, bad press is just as good as good press.  After watching the movie, I went on to Beaven’s website to read more about the project.  The first article I came across was called “No Impact Man Runs For Office.”  This made it clear to me that despite Beaven’s original intentions, he had become better known then the ideas he displayed in his film.

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