In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Some Impact Man

Today, Richard and I went to watch the movie No Impact Man. It is a documentary about a guy in New York and his family who attempt to have no carbon impact on the world for one year. They cut out all food that isn't local, all paper products (including toilet paper), and eventually turn off the electricity.

As I see what he's doing, I am impressed. But I'm more into the character development of the man and his wife. His wife agrees to go along with his project, but she certainly isn't happy about it. She makes that known. Eventually however, she warms up to many of the changes that they have made. When the year is over, she reflects on the changes she wants to keep (and the changes she wants to go back to).

Perhaps even more powerful is the husband. He began his project in an attempt to write a blog and a book on the experience (and perhaps film this movie that I saw). Eventually, he learned that it isn't enough for one person to take himself out of the grid. Everyone needs collective action to make this work. He and his wife both grow together. He is much less wide-eyed and optimistic, and his wife is more open to changing her lifestyle in ways that she couldn't imagine.

I couple this with a great news story that I heard yesterday about the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community becoming energy independent. The Shakopee was a very poor tribe until 1982, when they opened a bingo hall. Then they opened what become the most profitable casino in the region. Instead of just dispersing the money, the Shakopee invested on how to achieve sovereignty, at least in the energy realm.

Seeing and hearing stories like this make me examine my own life. What can I still do? Most of my food is local (yea farm share!). Our house is as energy efficient as it can be without major renovations. I do still drive a car, although it's a hybrid. One thing that we could change is that we could start actively composting. I think that about 1/2 of our garbage is compostable. Perhaps we can join with a neighbor who already composts stuff. Or, we can try it ourselves. Composting might be the next step that I take to decrease my impact on the earth.

I know that I will never be as extreme as No Impact Man. He did many things that I don't want to do...or can't do (if I'm honest, they are probably things that I don't want more than can't). However, I can continually examine my life and push myself to make choices that will make the world a better place.

We are beyond the point where recycling is enough. We need to think about our consumption in new ways. God gave us a beautiful earth, and that earth needs to last for many more generations. Think about your own life and what you are able to do.


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