Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Impact Man

This past weekend I had a chance to see a very unique and thoughtful film called No Impact Man. The 90 min documentary was part of the Adventure Film Festival in Boulder, of which Leave No Trace was the nonprofit partner.

The film followed a Manhattan family (dad, mom and baby daughter) as they attempt to live an entire year in NYC - creating no environmental impact. The real irony became evident in the first few minutes, when the family admitted that they are both addicted to retail and reality t.v. Not only was their New Year's resolution going to be challenging, it was going to give their lifestyle a complete 180.

From cutting out all new purchases, to buying only farmer's market food, turning off the electricity and attempting to create a refrigeration system out of terracotta pots, sand and water (really fascinating!), the family's efforts were really commendable.

It was interesting to me to watch the family struggle with some of the same issues that we as an organization do. For instance, they received a lot of criticism along the lines of "How can you really create no impact? That is impossible, it's too extreme, and it gives the environmental movement a bad name."

The point, though, was that as the family conducted this environmental audit on themselves, they realized how interconnected everything was (trying to cut out one thing led to another and another), which made them more aware, and more "global" citizens. Most importantly, they learned that altering their lifestyle, even just a little bit, could create measurable change.

Leave No Trace is the outdoor recreation version of No Impact Man and his family. A specific program, it as part of a much larger environmental education landscape that promotes awareness, social responsibility and activism.

If you haven't had a chance to view this film, I highly recommend it! I look forward to hearing your comments.

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