So my fourth and final enviro-documentary in April was “No Impact Man.” This was an entertaining movie. It not only dealt with the environmental aspects, which I expected, it also showed the often humorous and endearing relationship between “No impact man” and his wife (a writer for BusinessWeek). As with all movies, things get cut out, but a few of the environmental aspects confused me and I wasn’t sure if the cohesiveness was lost on the cutting room floor. More on that in a minute.
Near the middle to end of the movie, you start to understand he is doing various environmental things in phases. First, he cuts out disposable products and ate locally more, then moved on to using more non-toxic chemicals, biking and, finally, decreasing his energy consumption.
It was this energy consumption that confused me. At first the plan was to do without energy in his apartment altogether (no heat/air, no refrigerator, no computer, etc.). However, the need to run the computer to blog about “No Impact Man” took precedence, so he was able to borrow a solar power panel to run his computer (but continued to survive without heat or a refrigerator). I also assumed they continued charging their cell phones.
My second concern was their health. At some point they went without toilet paper. I’m not sure how long this portion of the experiment lasted since they were going to use rags instead of toilet paper. However, they were also doing without a washing machine so their clothes (and toilet rags) were getting washed in the bathtub by hand. Call me snobbish, but I would have trouble doing this. My preference would be to purchase toilet paper made with recycled material.
Lastly, he kind-of dogged plastics recycling. I agree we should create less plastic waste in the first place, but there are recycling markets available for the material. He points out that most plastic recycling is down-sized, meaning it isn’t turned back into a bottle or its original form. However, this technology is coming online quickly.
Check it out if you get a chance. Make a positive impact in your community. Every little bit helps.