Can you imagine what life would be like if you lived it so that none of your actions had an impact on the environment? It would have to be pretty crazy, right? Well, wonder no longer – someone’s tried that. No Impact Man is a book + movie about a guy who decided to live off the grid and tailor all of his actions so that he didn’t leave an impact on the environment. Not only did he try this experiment for a year – but he did it with his wife and toddler, in the middle of New York City.
No Impact Man is a hilarious story that has eco-lessons for all of us. It takes a crazy story like Colin’s to capture our attention and realize that a lot that has to do with sustainability is actually within our reach: like buying local food, commuting by bike (or skateboard?) and washing your clothes in the tub. It also shows the perspective of an Earth-savior battling through the 21st century (Colin) and the perspective of someone who’s not all that crazy and just wants to go through the motions of life without harming the environment too much in the process (Colin’s wife). Part of the reason I love this book so much is because of it shows the dynamics of Earth-saving between people, social interactions, media, and family.
This true story is certainly inspiring and encouraging to everyone who is crazy enough to think they can change the world. It’s available in book format (Colin’s perspective) or in a documentary (shows everyone’s perspective and interviews). Both are worth taking a look at in my opinion because they show different mentalities and philosophies. I’d love to have the chance to see what life would be like if no one had an impact on the environment, and Colin’s experiment shows us just how real (or not, I’m not spoiling the end!) that can be. It’s a must-read for Earth-saviors and for those who are interested in a good, true, and somewhat moralizing story.
A crowd of smiling faces in Ivory Coast. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Doing a good deed for someone always results in more goodness in the world. You can’t fight evil by putting more evil into the world, right? Doing random acts of kindness not only is good for you (what comes around, goes around) but it is good for humanity. Every time you choose to be nice, you’re putting a little more awesomeness into the world.
Now imagine you do something good that is also ecological! How awesome is that?! Not only are you doing your share to leave less of an impact on the planet, you’re helping someone get there, too – and reducing the impact of that person on the planet. I can’t even count how much “good” you get out of helping someone be a better human on Earth – it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Not only are you being environmentally friendly, you’re actually doing more than your share. Pretty cool, huh?
If you want bonus points on being an Earth-savior, check out my tips below.
- Cook a vegetarian meal for someone. Often people don’t have time or mind-energy to think about adopting a greener lifestyle, like taking meat out of their diets. By cooking them a vegetarian meal, you’re 1) showing them that it’s possible and tasty 2) filling someone’s belly with veggies instead of meat – that’s a win for the planet! 3) actually being nice to them by saving time and resources 4) showing them some love.
- Sort someone else’s trash and make recycling easier for them. This could even be done at work.
- Bring palm-oil free cookies to work.
- Listen to someone you normally wouldn’t listen to or on ideas you normally wouldn’t listen about. So much good comes out of listening – people feel appreciated, cared for, loved, and they will be more open to your ideas (ecological ones included).
- Forgive your roommates for stealing your soap. Letting go of anger instead of exploding is also an act of kindness that makes you a better person in their eyes. (They will also be more likely to listen when you gently ask them to not leave the water running.)
- Let people borrow your tools/sharpies/books/camera/stuff. The more you lend, the less people have to buy new stuff, which isn’t good for consumerism.
- Pick up random trash on the street/beach. I’ve seen countless people take on a beach challenge (picking up all the micro trash within a radius of their beach spot) or street challenge (picking up all the trash on their daily walks/commutes). It makes the environment cleaner, nicer, and less likely to be a death-trap for animals. Don’t leave it just because you think the trash guy is responsible for picking it up!
- Do someone’s dishes for them – especially for that person that loves to leave the faucet running. Do it for the environment!
- Give someone a ride, or car share!
- Offer to run an errand for someone, knowing that you could do it with less carbon dioxide (going by foot to do grocery shopping for your eldery neighbor , picking up something on the way home for your friend, mailing a letter for your family member that would rather use a car instead).
Like these? Have more? Share your ideas, I’d love to hear them! Kindness is what makes the world go round.