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You don’t have to be a tree-hugger to care about the environment

August 3, 2010

It’s true.  You don’t have to be a tree-hugger or a liberal or an “environmentalist” to care about the environment.  You can be whoever you want to be with whatever political, religious, or social affiliation you choose and still care about the environment, even if it’s only just a little bit.  We can all do something to help.

I hold NPR responsible for the title of this post as it was there that I first heard this theme used in an effort to gain supporters for the opposition of The Pebble Mine Project up here in Alaska and I thought it ingenious.  You see, lots of folks up in these parts would rather die than be labeled a tree hugger, a liberal or an environmentalist.  Knowing this, those in opposition to the Mine created an ad campaign trying to sell the idea that saying no to the Mine does not make you a tree hugger.  Like I said, I thought this was very clever since it just seems that the two always go hand in hand, doesn’t it?  On the one hand, if you care about the environment, then you are stereotyped as a tree hugging, liberal, hippy and on the other hand, if you care about the exploitation of natural resources, then….you get the idea.  AND for the sake of this blog post, it doesn’t matter if you are for or against the mine, if you are liberal or conservative, if you are fat or thin, or tall or short, what matters is that you can be all of those things or none of those things and still care about the environment…even if it’s just a little bit.

Why all this crazy talk about the environment all of a sudden, you ask?  No worries, I haven’t drunk the kool-aid and this blog is not going to morph into some personal social activism platform.   I’ve been wanting to write this post ever since I saw the documentary, No Impact Man a few months ago.  I thought it a good, interesting, enlightening, and thought-provoking movie and I simply want to spread the goodness around.  Please take it or leave it as you see fit.  It is completely up to you and what you think best.

I’ve pasted this blurb from his website which gives a quick overview of Colin Beavan and his idea as it stood back in 2007.  The documentary follows his year-long project and, like I said, is quite thought-provoking.  Here is the link to his blog if you are interested in learning more. It is surprising how many small things each of us can do to lessen our impact on the earth, things that really aren’t hard at all, just habit changing.  Since watching the documentary and reading the blog and The No Impact Week in particular, I’ve made a host of small changes and am working my way toward adopting  more as I’m able.  Take a look if you like and let me know what you think.

From the No Impact Man blog.

“The blog is just launching this balmy February day of 2007—yippee!—but our no impact experiment has been going on for two and half months. So, just a little recap and update to let you know what you need to know to understand what is going on and where we’re at.

No Impact Man is my experiment with researching, developing and adopting a way of life for me and my little family—one wife, one toddler, one dog—to live in the heart of New York City while causing no net environmental impact. To do this, we will decrease the things we do that hurt the earth—make trash, cause carbon dioxide emissions, for example—and increase the things we do that help the earth—clean up the banks of the Hudson River, give money to charity, rescue sea birds, say.

In mathematical terms, in case you are an engineer or just a geek who likes math, we are trying to achieve an equilibrium that looks something like this:

Negative Impact + Positive Impact = Zero.

No net impact. Get it?

We’re taking a year to do this thing (starting the end of November, 2006) and it’s working in stages. Stage one was figuring out how to live without making garbage: no disposable products, no packaging, etc. Stage two was figuring out how to cause the least environmental impact with our food choices. Stage three is figuring out how to reduce our consumption to only what is necessary and how to do that sustainably. The whole thing gets harder and harder as we add each stage.

What will the future stages be? Who knows? I am no eco-expert. I am just a liberal schlub who got sick of not putting my money where my mouth was. In a way, the whole project is a protest against my highly-principled, lowly-actioned former self. I’m fumbling through, trying to do my best and doing the research as I go along. This blog is my attempt to tell you how it’s going.

That’s pretty much everything you need to know to understand this blog. But for more details on the design of No Impact Man, the book, the movie and all of that, see the posts on the left hand side under “What’s It’s All About.”

So that’s it from me other than to point out that Netflix has the movie should you wish to see it.  If you do watch it or have already seen it, I’d love to hear from you.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucinda Denton permalink
    August 3, 2010 11:47 pm

    Thanks for the information……….I was not familiar with this documentary and will order it from NETFLIX immediately.

  2. Devin permalink
    August 4, 2010 10:07 am

    I am familiar with the movement and am also striving to have less of an impact. Thanks for sharing the information.

  3. Margie permalink
    August 9, 2010 7:03 pm

    Great idea!!! I think I will order the doc. as soon as my job ends…thanks

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