April 30, 2011 Leave a comment
I decided to go with another documentary for the Movie of the Day, not because I am lazy and documentaries are an easy thing to write, but rather for my enjoyment of the subject matter that they cover. I decided to pick another social agenda topic that is probably the best case for the green movement. Most of the green documentaries show the impact of our excess on a more global scale. The air that is being polluted and the land that is being damaged from our agricultural impacts. Although global scale consciousness is needed to wake people up to our Earth’s plight, I think the approach of going small-scale at a personal level to raise awareness is much more effective.
No Impact Man takes this idea of living green, reducing your carbon footprint, and generally living better to a small-scale experiment. The documentary follows Colin Beavan and his family who make the attempt to live as green as possible in the city of New York. We are presented with a family who lives the New York lifestyle, or the lifestyle I assume New Yorker’s have. Lattes, shopping, and expensive dining are just some of the excesses that the family has at the start of the documentary. Beavan wants to attempt to give that all up and live for one year with as little trash as possible.
So with their journey into the realm of walking and biking where ever they go, hitting up the farmer’s market and giving up television in full swing. The documentary focuses on the social coping that the family goes through as a results of stopping their luxury living. This is where I enjoy the documentary more since it begins to not only show the impact they are having on their carbon footprint, but also the effect that it has on their family. Without TV to occupy their time, they spend more time as a family, bonding over a story of board game by candlelight or going out to the park during the daytime. We seem them grow as a family when they decided to live their life without excess. The documentary is strengthened by the revelations the family has when they take stock in the items they have stopped depending on. The wife realizes her spending and daily habits can be curbed and still feel better about herself. Beavan loses more weight and feel more alive after reducing their waste and spending. The family is stronger together now and live a better life.
I applaud the movie for not beating us over the head with strong imagery of oil fields raping the Earth, ice caps slowly turning into water or pictures of endless rush hour traffic jams to instill this idea of needless exhaust and pollution. You can get across the idea of living better and green but focusing your attention on the efforts of an individual or family. The use of big images of pollution and trash just emphasizes the monumental hurdles of changing our ways. It makes it seem more daunting than it really it is. By chronicling one person’s effort and showing the results of that effort, you can sympathize and feel that you can actually make some sort of impact on the global problem.
The movie is available on Netflix Instant Streaming, so you know the drill…put it on your queue now.