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No Impact Man: Saving the planet one family at a time (English Edition) par [Beavan, Colin]
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No Impact Man: Saving the planet one family at a time (English Edition) Format Kindle

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Longueur : 282 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
Page Flip: Activé Langue : Anglais

Description du produit


How a Schlub Like Me Gets Mixed Up in a Stunt Like This

For one year, my wife, baby daughter, and I, while residing in the middle of New York City, attempted to live without making any net impact on the environment. Ultimately, this meant we did our best to create no trash (so no take-out food), cause no carbon dioxide emissions (so no driving or flying), pour no toxins in the water (so no laundry detergent), buy no produce from distant lands (so no New Zealand fruit). Not to mention: no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no buying anything new . . .

But before we get into all that, I should explain what drove me to become No Impact Man. To start, I’m going to tell a story that is more a confession, a pre-changing-of-my-ways stocktaking, a prodigal-son, mea-culpa sort of thing.

The story starts with a deal I made with my wife, Michelle.

By way of background: Michelle grew up all Daddy’s gold Amex and taxi company charge account and huge boats and three country clubs and pledge allegiance to the flag. I, on the other hand, grew up all long hair to my shoulders, designer labels are silly, wish I was old enough to be a draft dodger and take LSD, alternative schooling, short on cash, save the whales, and we don’t want to be rich anyway because we hate materialism.

Once, during a visit to my mother’s house in Westport, Massachusetts, Michelle lay on the bed in my former bedroom and stared up at the ugly foam ceiling tiles. “You know, I grew up with much nicer ceilings than you did,” she said. That, her facial expression seemed to say, explained every thing.

My best friend, Tanner, meanwhile, once called me to tell me that his therapist had said that he “despairs of Michelle and Colin’s differences.” Why Tanner’s therapist analyzed my marriage was a question best left for Tanner to explore in his next session, but the point was that Michelle and I had a lot to negotiate. And the story I’m telling here has to do with one of our negotiations.

For my part, I agreed to put up with the cacophony that comes with Michelle watching back-to-back episodes of Bridezilla, The Bachelor, and all the other trash-talk TV. I hate reality shows. Michelle conceded, on her shopping sprees, not to purchase anything made of or even trimmed with fur. That was the compromise.

Michelle liked a little fur. Not long fur coats per se, but fur hats and fur linings and stuff like that. Michelle was a Daily Candy girl, a Marc Jacobs white Stella handbag girl, a kind of Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw grows up, gets married, and has a baby girl.

On the other hand, call me a pussy, but I felt bad every time I saw one of those raccoons or possums with their guts spilled out on the Palisades Parkway. I also felt bad for little animals getting killed for nothing but their skins.

Yet I managed to exempt, back then, my leather shoes from my concern that humanity puts vanity before kindness to animals. In the cold glare of my own I Want To Buy, my disdain for designer labels and all things consumerist became a little, shall we say, mushy. I was the type of guy who shopped for the fifty-two-inch television, then thought he was a rebel against consumerism because he bought the discounted floor model.

I don’t mean to imply that I was a total do-nothing liberal. I did go to Pennsylvania to canvass voters in the 2000 and 2004 elections. I made get-out-the-vote phone calls for when they asked me to. I tried to adopt some sort of an attitude of service in my daily encounters and to generally avoid doing harm. I volunteered at the World Trade Center site after 9/11. I even prayed for George Bush, on the premise that hating him just created a hateful world.

The question was, given the state of woman affairs, whether I shouldn’t have been asking more of myself.

A few months after our TV-fur negotiation, Michelle got offered a brand-new, thousand-dollar, white-fox shawl by a friend whose father is a furrier in Michelle’s hometown, Minneapolis.

It’s free and the fox is already dead, went Michelle’s reasoning.

It’s not one fox, it’s ten, went mine. I’ve already suffered your freebasing bad television, and we have a deal about this, I said.

But those are your standards, replied Michelle. Then came her trump card: I want to discuss it at couple’s therapy.

Not that what we actually went to was couple’s therapy. What really happened was, I would drop by sometimes during one of Michelle’s sessions with her own therapist. Anyway, I trundled along to the Upper East Side office, and Michelle explained the situation. Free fox shawl, on the one hand. No fur, on the other–which is Colin’s standard. Why, Michelle asked, should I have to adhere to his ethic?

When the therapist turned to me and said, “Colin?” I surprised both of them by saying that Michelle could buy all the fur she wants. Except, I said, there’s one condition to my releasing her from our deal–and here’s the part where I look like a jerk–namely, that Michelle read out loud certain passages of a PETA brochure about the fur trade that I’d highlighted in green.

“I can read them when I get home,” Michelle said.

“Nope,” I said. “The deal is, if you want to renege on our fur deal, you read it out loud, here.”

Sport that she is, Michelle grabbed the papers, cleared her throat, and began to read. Two results came of all this: First, Michelle decided that she didn’t want to buy fur anymore because she actually has the biggest heart known to humankind and because we are nowhere near so different on the inside as we seem on the outside. Second–and here’s the point of the story–I showed myself to be a smug little fuck. I had mobilized my intellectual and persuasive resources to get someone else to change her behavior, and remained, I saw, utterly complacent about my own.

It’s true that I had occasionally tried to make a difference in the world, but I was coming to think my political views had too often been about changing other people, like Michelle, and too seldom about changing myself.

I made the mistake of thinking that condemning other people’s misdeeds somehow made me virtuous. I’d become, I realized, a member of that class of liberals who allowed themselves to glide by on way too few political gestures and lifestyle concessions and then spent the rest of their energy feeling superior to other people who supposedly don’t do as much.

A year or so later, news about global warming started coming out. I mean, it’s been out for twenty years, but somehow it hadn’t entered my liberal consciousness. We can’t maintain this way of life, the scientists said, the world can’t sustain it. The ice caps will melt, the sea levels will rise, there will be droughts–or, in short, the planet will be fucked and millions of people will suffer.

The countries of the world had negotiated the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, assigning mandatory targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases to signatory nations. But the United States, a signatory to the protocol, as well as the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, refused to ratify it.

What had I done in light of our country’s deaf ear to environmental concerns? Well, if it rained torrentially, I would say gloomily to whoever was listening, “I blame George Bush for this strange weather.” If in conversation someone said global warming was just a theory, I’d say, “Actually, the scientists say it’s a fact,” and I’d also get a really angry look on my face to show just how adamant I was. And if it was so hot out that I felt the need to turn on both air conditioners, I’d sometimes even feel despondent for a moment or two about the fact that I was contributing to the problem.

Cut to 2006. At the age of forty-two, I have a little girl, Isabella, who is nearly one. We live on lower Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. It is January but seventy degrees outside. The middle of winter, and joggers run past in shorts. Young women from the nearby NYU dorm saunter by my building in tank tops.

I’m on the street. I’m walking our dog, Frankie. People around me are happy but I am not. Instead, I’m worried. I put the key in the front door of my building. I walk through the granite-floored lobby. I step into the elevator. The operator, Tommy, an older gray-haired man from Greece, says, “It’s too warm, no?”

“Yeah, well, imagine how warm it would be if there was such a thing as global warming,” I say.

I was being sarcastic, of course. People back then still argued about whether global warming existed. Not me. This was around the time when I had begun to feel really ill at ease. What I read in the news only confirmed, I believed, what I could already feel in my bones.

Summer seemed to toggle straight into winter, and then back to summer–the long fall and spring seasons of my childhood had disappeared. I’d witnessed, that December, a winter storm in which thunder clapped violently and lightning flashed the white blanket of snow into eerie green. Never in my recollection of northeastern winters had there ever been thunder and lightning in a snowstorm.

Tommy chuckled at my sarcastic remark. He threw the lever forward and the elevator lurched upward. After all, what could we do?

For the last few months I had traveled around, discussing a book I wrote about a secret Allied operation in France during World War II. For the last few months, in other words, I’d spent my time talking about sixty years’ worth of yesterdays whe...

Revue de presse

'Hilarious and eye-opening, it poses a challenge to any would-be environmentalist' --Instyle

'infectiously inspiring and uproariously entertaining' --Booklist

'Beavan captures his own shortcomings with candor and wit and offers surprising revelations . . .[Readers] will mull over his thought-provoking reflections and hopefully reconsider their own lifestyles' --Publishers Weekly

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 804 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 282 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0312429835
  • Editeur : Piatkus (7 juillet 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00550NY9Y
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Lecteur d’écran : Pris en charge
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.7 étoiles sur 5 3 commentaires client
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°79.326 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Le livre est en fait un journal intime d'un gars assez culoté qui décide un jour que lui et sa petite famille vont réduire leur empreinte écologique à zéro... en vivant à Manhattan, NY! Ca veut dire: aucun transport électrique ou à combustion (même pas d'ascenseurs!), aucun déchet (fini les 5 cafés en goblet chaque jour), de la consommation locale exclusivement (fini le café tout court) et toute consommation électrique doit être autogénérée ou compensée par des investissements en projet visant à réduire les taux de CO2.
Le tout est phasé en trois étappes durant la durée de l'expérience, un an. C'est une approche graduelle qui a le mérite d'apporter une dimension pédagogique. A chaque étappe, le lecteur est confronté à un certain nombres de faits et de statistiques à propos de l'écologie mondiale, qui donnent envie de suivre au moins une partie des initiatives de l'auteur.
C'est bien documenté, ça se laisse lire relativement facilement et ça apporte des idées à mettre en pratique dans sa propre vie, si l'envie vous en dit.
Je ne recommande pas le documentaire du même nom, il est assez ennuyeux et n'a pas la structure ni la richesse qu'apporte le livre.
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I have benn following Colin Beavan's experiments since the beginning (through his blog). Reading his book was a very pleasant experience and also a good opportunity to challenge my way of living. Since then, I have been changing lots of thing in my life regarding environmental issues and the fact that it is possible to live happy with less things!
By the way I am French and I am looking forward to seeing his movie !
Have a great time !
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In this book, you won't get tips and tricks as in "zero waste home". What you do get is a feeling of not being alone trying to change things. You walk along colin and his family wondering of you could do the same, better, or even try...
I enjoyed reading the book: I like Colin's humor and the way he writes makes it an easy book.
I recommend it
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 4.2 étoiles sur 5 133 commentaires
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly informative and accessible 10 avril 2014
Par Lost & Found - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This is the autobiographical story of Colin Beavan, an author in New York who becomes greatly concerned with the negative impacts humans are having on the environment and embarks on a journey to discover what it looks like to live life in New York with a wife, small child and a dog while having no net impact on the environment. Beavan makes this transition gradually, making the following lifestyle changes over the course of a year: no production of trash whatsoever, almost entire reduction of carbon emissions, no impact eating through consumption of locally grown, organic foods, only purchasing previously owned or used goods, no coal-powered electricity and making positive impacts on the environment. He does not simply talk about the experiences, however, but explains his motives for undertaking the No Impact project, shares information about the degradation of different environmental resources and integrates his own personal struggles and past experiences in an occasionally heart-wrenching narrative style. This journey is clearly moral as he wrestles with the relationship between humanity and nature and searches for answers to human realities of suffering and death. Beavan ultimately concludes that while action by individuals is absolutely necessary to the restoration of our environment, a fundamental culture change must take place for the degradation of our habitat to come to a halt.

The brilliance of this book is its simplicity and acknowledgement of humanity; changing how we live is just plain hard, and Beavan never shies away from that fact but is instead brutally honest about how much he struggled at times. His writing is very accessible and even when he's sharing a lot of information about ecological crises around the world his terms are never so technical that the average person wouldn't be able to understand. Furthermore, he provides illustrations that make big numbers make sense for the individual, something that is rarely done but incredibly powerful. He has a very positive view of human nature, which is sometimes inspiring and empowering and other times comes off as rather naive. He is very upfront about his political and religious beliefs which I found refreshing and helpful for contextualizing his arguments and actions, whether or not I agreed with them.

The actions he takes to live in a more sustainable way are well researched and quite practical. He admits that he does not really expect the average American to put all of his ideas into practice (and that he was only able to do so because it was part of his job to carry out this whole project) but he writes of many people who were able to take a few of his ideas and integrate them into their everyday lifestyles. I found this helpful because I think living sustainably often sounds like a lot of work. It's helpful to get lots of ideas of different ways to live that are simultaneously minimally disruptive to the environment and our present lives. If reducing our contribution to the ecological crises of our day is so easy to do then we can feel empowered instead of helplessly complacent. That said, his ideas are significantly more relevant to other people living in large cities.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Book 10 avril 2014
Par Daniel Ardis - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The statistics that Beavan uses throughout the book were astounding to me. Whether the specific statistic discussed the amount of trash that the average American produces every day or the amount of Carbon dioxide that is emitted through driving, it showed how many things Americans do that harm the environment. Since it seems to me that we are fighting a losing battle, part of me thinks “What is the point?” but I think that this is part of the reason that Beavan underwent this dramatic lifestyle change. His actions show that we can make a difference but our individual actions are related to the individual actions of other people. If individual effort leads to collective effort, the struggle is so much sweeter. Through their actions, Beavan and his family exposed me to a new way to think about the way I affect my immediate environment and the planet as a whole.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 25 avril 2017
Par Brandi Merriman - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I give this a gift and they loved it.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 I really enjoyed this book 30 août 2015
Par alisha - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I really enjoyed this book. However, it does not go into great detail about how he did what he did. For example, he stops producing almost all trash, but he only lists a couple of ways he did that. What I'm trying to say is its a great read and very inspiring, but it is certainly not a "how-to" book if you're wanting to do what he did.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great message! 29 avril 2015
Par Leo Lefty - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I love this book and it's message. Living with minimal impact is something we should all strive for. Not only for humans but for the sake of all nature and all living things. Everything comes in a package it seems, so to attempt living without creating garbage is not easy; but it's very admirable and offers positive influence and change that we need in this world. Hats off to Colin and his family for doing their part towards making a difference.
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