Tuesday, October 13, 2009

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I’m a little nervous. You see, our year-long foray into full-scale environmentalism just ramped up--as in, next week is the Official
“No Impact Experiment.”

We’re only in week three of our journey. Yikes.

What, you may ask, is the “No Impact Experiment?” And who, you might wonder, made it official?

First of all, let me back up. Our little family experiment began after I read an article about Colin Beavan, the original “No Impact Man.” A writer by trade, Beavan, his wife, and young daughter began a year-long experiment to make zero net impact on the environment. Here’s the kicker--they live in New York City. “That means no trash, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subways, no products in packaging, no air-conditioning, no television, no toilet paper...” states his book, No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes about Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process. You’ve probably heard about him--he’s a talk show darling, challenging Stephen Colbert to participate in No Impact Week. (“Hell, no!” said Colbert.)

As a writer, Beavan began blogging about the experiment and still continues to share his thoughts and actions via blog: www.noimpactman.typepad.com. He’s living every writer’s dream--his blog became a book, the project became a documentary, and now he has la
unched the No Impact Foundation. This guy doesn’t just “talk the talk.” He is the poster boy for environmental goodness.

Anyway--Beavan’s journey prompted our family’s year-long experiment: “No Impact Man-Lite,” as I lovingly refer to it. I read his book during the first week of our project and found many ideas our family will adopt...and some that just aren’t going to happen. We’re not going to give up toilet paper, we logistically can’t eliminate driving, but there are plenty of ways to turn our negative habits into positive ones.

That’s where the No Impact Experiment comes in.
According to the website, http://noimpactproject.org/experiment/:

“The No Impact Experiment is a one-week carbon cleanse. It is a chance for you to see what a difference no-impact living can have on your quality of life. It’s not about giving up creature comforts but an opportunity for you to test whether the modern ‘conveniences’ you take for granted are actually making you happier or just eating away at your time and money.”

Wow. Not sure if we’re ready for this, I thought, when I read about the launch of the experiment.

But as I read deeper into the website, I remembered words of wisdom from two of my friends. While I was beating myself up over the purchase of a drink in a styrofoam cup yesterday, my friend Jessie reminded me that I don’t have to eradicate my carbon footprint overnight--it’s a journey. And my insightful friend Dana, who was part of the wine sampling Friday night, mentioned how much difference we could all make if we just reduced our consumption by 10%. Ten percent? That’s not hard. You barely feel 10%.

The official project site provides fantastic tools and strategies to help transition into No Impact Week. When you log on to the site, you’ll find a downloadable manual full of ideas to help ease you into environmental commitment. The project itself is broken into stages, with each day focusing on a new area:
  • Sunday: Consumption
  • Monday: Trash
  • Tuesday: Transportation (I know this will be the most challenging for us.)
  • Wednesday: Food
  • Thursday: Energy
  • Friday: Water
  • Saturday: Giving back
  • Sunday: Eco-Sabbath
The official launch is this Sunday, October 18. We’re going to try it, and I’ll be writing about our progress...and the things that challenge us.

Who’s in? Want to play? The prizes are fabulous...


  1. I've said it before-I'll say it again: You are my hero!

  2. Laura, you're funny! Are you going to play along with us? :-)

  3. Julie-I'm taking baby steps. Today I brought my own reusable plastic cup to work where we can have all the free tea we want provided in styrofoam cups!