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A Disposable World pictures and text by Valentina Quintano

On October 18, 2009 over 2.000 people will join the the collective “No Impact Week”, launched by the “No Impact Project”, in which everyone is invited to challenge himself to substantially lower his environmental impact for a week.

The “No Impact Man” project

In November 2006, the New York based writer Colin Beavan decided to end his passive behaviour of just watching governors endlessly discuss how to save the environment. He considered what to do, starting with himself, and the “No Impact Man” project began. His question was whether or not it is possible to live without making any environmental impact; no thrash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no packaged products, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilets, and so on. People thought it to be crazy and that it had no chance of success. Together with his family, he would test this life-style for a whole year. The result was surprising: living simply was not just good for the environment; it made them healthier, happier and richer in ways they would never expected. The philosophy of the project was not to eat less or give up essentials, but to change their consumption patterns so that their every day life respects, or at least does not harm the planet he stated in one of the first posts of the blog were he shared the experience. Another step he considered necessary, in order to complete the experiment, was to document this experience for the public,

and to take actions with a positive environmental impact, like community efforts to clean up the shorelines. Even though his project is now over, and his book and documentary have been published, he still attempts to preserve as much of that lifestyle as possible. He also decided to launch the “No Impact Project”, of which the main goal is to promote behavioral change, addressing citizens to make choices which better their lives and lower their environmental impact. In a recent interview he underlined the unexpected positive results he and his family noticed: “during our experience we were able to replace consumption with social connection, I lost 20 pounds without going to the gym once, and without TV we become better parents. We eat locally and seasonally, and it ended up reversing my wife’s prediabetic condition. It’s funny because some of the people told us that not using the elevator in New York was extreme, but now the city is promoting taking the stairs as a way to combat obesity. Our culture is a consuming one, and that is the problem, we are in climate emergency and I wanted to promote the idea that each of us can contribute”.


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