I picked up No Impact Man, by Colin Beavan, at the library, vaguely thinking that I'd read a review and wanted to read it. And as is my practise, I started reading it on the bus.
Oh. My. Word. This book is crazy-amazing, inspiring, frustrating, funny, scary-- I think it hit all my emotions as I read through it. To begin with, I'm totally with Mr. Beavan on the frustration at seeing people make planet-destroying choices every day that could easily be fixed. (Just get a reusable travel mug for your Starbucks and a stainless steel water bottle for everything else, already! Enough with the styrofoam and plastic!) And like him, I have realised that the only cure to the irritation is to change myself and hope that other people will come to the same conclusion*.
So, Mr. Beavan, his wife, and their 2-year-old set out on a year-long adventure to live without making any impact upon the earth. They began with eliminating trash from their lives (and do you know how much stuff produces trash?) and refusing to use any transportation that they didn't run under their own power: no elevators, no buses, no subway. By the end of the year, they had progressed to turning off their electricity and were carefully rationing and reusing their water. Along the way, they switched to locally-grown food only, became vegetarians, and relearned how to communicate with one another and their friends without being continuously entertained by a TV or the internet.
Even if you aren't a passionate environmental activist, this book is well worth reading, if only for the chance to look at living from a different perspective. I found it really enjoyable and, as I said, inspiring-- so much so that after returning it to the library, I trotted over to Amazon and bought myself a copy (used, so I saved money and kept it from being thrown away-- but it did, unfortunately, require shipping). And Chad and I have since added composting to our repertoire of earth-saving habits, now that we know it is compatible with apartment-dwelling.
*One of my instructors told me one day that she is always careful to bring her reusable containers with her on the days when I have an appointment. Guess there is something to be said for a good example.
Have you read No Impact Man? Visited Mr. Beavan's blog? Feel totally jealous that he got the book deal because he thought of it first?