Tuesday, 11 June 2013

No Impact Man - A Book Review

I don't often do book reviews, but I thought that this book deserved one as it was a good read.  I bought it on a local market stall.  It was a brand new paperback edition and cost just £1.  It is called ' No Impact Man - Saving the Planet One Family at a Time' by Colin Beavan.

It is basically one man's story of a year he spent trying to have as little or no net impact on the environment. Living in New York with his wife, child and dog, regularly eating takeaways for convenience and as a consequence creating a large amount of unnecessary garbage, taking numerous carbon guzzling flights every year to visit relatives in other parts of the US and generally consuming their way through life.  In this experiment, described in detail in this book, he takes the reader through his 'off grid' year, whilst drawing the reader's attention to the global consequences of the rampant consumerism we are encouraged to perpetuate by large retail/food corporations, in order to facilitate their making huge profits.

I wasn't too sure about this book at first.  A previous 'eco lifestyle' book I'd read I had found quite hard going and hadn't enjoyed too much.  This book, however, was nothing like this.  He doesn't preach, patronise or make the reader feel guilty, he just tells you about his struggle with his own conscience in an attempt to provoke your own, and takes you along with him on his journey.  I really enjoyed reading it.  I didn't sit down and read it all in one go or even over a week.  It took a couple of months, reading a chapter here, a chapter there, but it was good.  I had to admire his and his family's adherence to the plan and the sacrifices they made in so doing and I admired his honesty about the things they didn't manage to adhere to.  Some ideas perhaps went a bit too far, such as turning off the electricity in their apartment and living by candlelight in an evening, but they managed to convey a valid learning experience from each endeavour, which did make me think more consciously about my own usage of resources on an everyday basis. 

If anyone out there is trying to live a less consumerist, more eco friendly lifestyle or if you would just like to live a slightly slower and greener lifestyle eating locally grown food or  locally made products, I would definitely recommend reading this book.  There is something for everyone in it.


  1. If it comes into the shop I'll give it a go.
    I've been enjoying the Ben Fogal TV series about people who live unusual & very alternative life styles.

    1. That series sounds interesting. I might check it out on iPlayer. Some people live very interesting lives.