We’re just back from a lovely relaxing weekend with my brother and sister-in-law in Cardiff. On Saturday night, after what can only be described as ‘the day of food gluttony’, we sat down to watch ‘No Impact Man’. Not your usual Saturday viewing, but I somehow convinced them. My friend Morgan had told me about this movie a couple of years ago and I am so glad she did.
It’s a really honest documentary about Colin, a writer from New York, his Wife, Michelle and their young daughter as they try and take a look at their consumption and impact on the world. For one year, they take on this experiment to eliminate the habits and things they were carelessly using in order to see if it is possible to have a clean, enjoyable life without the trimmings that causes us (knowingly & unknowingly) to harm to earth and waste so much.
To say his wife was a little reluctant is a bit of an understatement. A self confessed ‘high-fructose-corn-syrup-meat-eating-take-out-addict’, she brought a lot of humour to the project and it was refreshing to see some honesty about how difficult these choices can be to begin with. It reminded me of the 2384 times I’ve come up with new ways to wash our clothes without using washing powder chemicals to the bafflement and eye-rolling of my patient husband.
So cutting out non-local and only eating seasonal food, no buying new things, having no waste, not using electricity etc throughout the year. That’s pretty full on – but it felt particularly relevant and inspiring to watch because they were doing all this with their little girl – not much older than Levi. I thought about how great an example they were to her by exploring this with her instead of passing on the notion that we are completely voiceless at the hands of the capitalist society that tells us we need to consume, use and waste. I really want to be an example of a different way of living for Levi.
I won’t give it away any more away – but here’s a preview to warm you up:
There were so many important messages throughout this movie, but the strongest one I took away was Colin’s thoughts on community:
‘I believe very strongly that a lot of the environmental problems in our planet have come because of the breakdown of community. Because without community, no one feels accountable to anybody else. But all of us are interconnected – if I make pollution, you have to breathe it in. My mind wants to tell me that I am the only one that’s important – but I have to keep telling myself that that’s not true.’
I know this to be true in so many other areas of my life – but it was a timely reminder about it being just as true in terms of my consumption and my impact on the earth and it’s resources.
Anyway, I’m letting it all ruminate a little bit because that’s the first step in making changes, but I challenge you to give it a watch and let me know what you think too.