Simplicity, Sustainability

No Impact Man: Balance Your Give and Take

So I just watched the documentary “No Impact Man” and I was so inspired by his project I immediately got his book out from the library and ripped through it in a couple of days. To sum it up, it’s about a regular guy who, upon learning about the terrible negative effects the human population is having on the earth due to over-consumption and greed, decides to truly separate human needs from wants by giving up all modern day luxuries for 1 year: electricity, toilet paper, motor transportation, and so on. In doing so he intends on having zero negative impact on our planet.

His formula was simple:Positive impact – Negative Impact = 0

By doing positive, moral deeds for the environment, it would effectively cancel out any small negative impacts he had. For example, if he used his refrigerator (energy) for a day, maybe he would plant more vegetables in his garden.

This got me thinking: the average person’s ratio of GIVE to TAKE is waaaay, way off. We consume tons of resources: electricity, gas, paper, plastic, garbage, to name a few. And to add to it, many of us consume knowledge and entertainment resources without really giving back. For instance, I read somewhere that 90% of people don’t actively participate on the internet. They enjoy the vast free resources but never add value back or donate towards valuable resources like Wikipedia and Kickstarter.

Albert Einstein said: “It is every man and women’s obligation to put back in to the world at least the equivalent of what he/she takes out of it.”

And Muhammad Ali said: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

So the idea is: Bought some leather shoes? Plant a flower. Read a great, informative post on the internet? Write a comment or even better, write your own post. If a friend helps you out of a bind, buy a coffee for the stranger behind you in the drive-through.

No Impact Man’s experiment was extreme- no question about it. But he proved that many of the environmentally damaging things we use and take for granted in our daily lives can easily be reduced or eliminated. Your soul and the air you breathe will thank you.


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