Environmental Conservation & Protection - General
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||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
||September 01, 2009|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 109 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
( 109 customer reviews )
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19 of 24 found the following review helpful:
Inspiring!Sep 17, 2009
By Amazon Customer
No Impact Man
By Colin Beavan
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Publishers
I love to read environmental writing. There are so many good books available right now on the subject of the environment and global warming that a person can become overwhelmed. I believe this book is a must if you have to limit what you read in this category. (But please don't limit yourself!)
There are so many things to like about this book that I will try to do it justice in this review.
First of all I like the subject. I think that this timely subject must be written about if there is any possibility for changing the status quo. Mr. Beavan takes on the subject from an if not me then who perspective that shows his willingness to step outside of his safety zone and do his part to find some answers.
Secondly I like the fact that one of the main focuses of this book is how changing our way of life to one that does not impact the earth also has an equally positive impact on our personal relationships. I think that it is important that people start to realize the benefits that we all receive when our lifestyles are no longer focused on the act of consumption.
Third, I like his commitment throughout the whole project to do the best he could. Sometimes we are not perfect (thank heavens) but the act of trying is what makes the biggest impact. This commitment carried over to the production of the book itself. It was produced as low impact as possible and shows what can be done if the desire is there.
From a writing standpoint I feel that Mr. Beavan did a wonderful job of making the transitions from information that he has researched, His own personal feelings, and anecdotes on the affect this project had on his family. My interest was always kept happily looking forward to reading just a little more and for the most part I found the flow of the book to move well. Occasionally, I did find some sentences that I had to go over a time or two to make sure that my comprehension was correct. In general it was a very relaxing read. I also appreciate the fact that he included in the back of the book additional places to find information.
What this book does not have a great deal of is detailed information on how they accomplished going off of the grid. Mind you there was a lot of discussion of mason jars and bicycles and a specific change that had to find a solution in each chapter, but not very many more details on how to go off the grid. Near the end of the book, however, you will find a brief outline of a typical day in their household. For the most part the book seemed to be about how they went about researching the information that they needed to accomplish their goals given their specific situation. I think that if this idea is to work for us we all need to do a bit of our own research. I live in Los Angeles. What I have to do to have no impact, especially in the area of transportation is much different than it is in New York. So instead of being told exactly what to do, I found myself being inspired to find the way that works best for my family and my self.
"Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free"
Thank you for such an inspiring work.
16 of 20 found the following review helpful:
A little naiveFeb 21, 2011
By D. King
I found it incredible that he was in a tailspin right from the start over a runny nose! That "normal" for him was eating take-out or restaurant food every meal, or that his wife was well into the year before she stopped her constant buying--and never did stop drinking coffee. How about a book for the rest of us--those of us who already buy used, and cook our own meals?
In a way, this book does a disservice to the environment movement. By making the assumption that it's an "all or nothing" process, he glosses over the hundreds of millions who could use some guidance in real decisions that may be smaller than reading by beeswax candlelight, but are tremendously important. For example, those of us who don't live in New York City, where things are within walking or bicycling (or scootering) range, probably could use a little more discussion of transportation. I live in a suburb of Houston. Every morning schoolbuses roll by half empty, while the kiddies ride in gas guzzling SUVs. Every afternoon, there's a 2-block-long lineup of those SUVs along the streets around every school in the area, engines idling to keep the air conditioning going most months of the year. Why not exchange some of his endless soul searching for a little prodding to change this scene?
And why does he get so offended when people continue to ask what he uses instead of toilet paper? He's proud of his increased sex life when the television is switched off for the year; what's so terrible about saying that he uses a bidet, or the phone book, or whatever?
Still, I didn't rate it lower because he DOES get points for trying, and for doing his best to make it work. And for trying to make others think about their own impacts.
33 of 44 found the following review helpful:
Too Much (Boring) Soul-SearchingJan 30, 2010
While this book had its interesting point, I thought the writer was forcing meaning out of simple changes. It took him a full day to realize that the reusable replacement for a tissue was a handkercheif, and he spent entirely too much time soul-searching, at least for my taste.
The simple fact of the matter is that no one can have no impact, it's just not possible to live like that. But instead of finding the healthiest, easiest ways to be environmentally friendly, the author wastes pages on questioning the world's methods, people's sanity, and where our values have gone. The book felt preachy and slightly self-righteous. I also thought the author was unable to face all the facts of life, especially as he never addresses what he uses instead of toilet paper. An immature topic, but one that is necessary.
Overall the book was too long, too detailed in things I had no interest in, and not detailed enough in actual life-style changes. I also found it a little frustrating that by the end of the book the author feels guilty taking mass-transit and keeping more than one light on. I'm all in favor of reducing one's impact, but at a certain point it just seems silly to completely ignore modern technology, especially as that technology becomes more earth-friendly.
14 of 18 found the following review helpful:
The Book is Finally Out!!!Sep 09, 2009
By Amazon Customer
As a long time reader of the No Impact Man Blog I was eager to read this book. It does not disappoint. The year of living low/no impact was a huge undertaking. Often when reading the blog I wondered what Michelle really thought about it all. The book answers many of those questions about the hows and whys. This book is very inspiring to the rest of us guilty liberals who really want to help and change the world or at least our own lives a little bit. It is not so much a detailed list of things to do but more a way of thinking about the whole process that is invaluable. To try this experiment in a place like NY is just amazing. Colin and Michelle are courageous role models for the rest of us. I wish everyone in the US would read this book. Want to be inspired to change your life? Read this book!
8 of 10 found the following review helpful:
Profoundly moving in unexpected waysOct 04, 2009
By Todd Bartholomew
While a lot of erstwhile "environmentalists" talk a big game about trying to decrease our individual carbon footprints, few put their money where their mouth is. Colin Beavan is not among their number and in the vein of George Plimpton and Morgan Spurlock opted to not only try and reduce his carbon footprint but that of his entire family, who became somewhat willing participants. Beavan chronicled the highs and lows of doing without in an often hilarious and frequently thought-provoking blog ([...]) that was the basis for "No Impact Man." Living in New York City it could be easy to give up motorized transportation but giving up electricity entirely and toilet paper in particular gives pause. What keeps things readable are Beavan's wit and insight, not just into what he's attempting to do, but into the human condition. Beavan readily admits that going as hardcore as he did is not for everyone but shares the things he and his family learned while on this adventure which certainly should be taken to heart. Many of us speak of doing little things like planting trees, recycling, and taking mass transit, but few of us would probably care to follow where Beavan and his family went.
Rather than being a radical environmentalist screed, "No Impact Man" is instead a plea for us to rebel against the compromises all of us make on so many levels. Beavan isn't satirizing us, but showing us how we've become divorced from our surroundings, from each other, and from nature and the price that we pay as a result. Rather than making readers feel guilty you'll more likely be inspired into introspection and action and in that regard it's a bit like reading Thoreau. "No Impact Man" is a bit like Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It and other recent projects intended to shock the public's consciousness and will be accompanied by a documentary. Whether the larger public comprehends Beavan's larger intentions or not remains to be seen.
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