Like a few others that have already posted, I had mixed feelings about No Impact Man. I related more to the wife and enjoyed her humor as she played along with her husband’s antics, but to be honest I felt mostly annoyed by the extremist actions the husband undertook throughout the movie. Even before taking this class, living as “environmentally friendly” as possible has been something already in the forefront of my mind. I don’t claim to be an activist or even an environmentalist (I stay as far away from “outdoor” activities as possible!), but I am constantly looking for small changes I can make to treat the environment better with the understanding that I don’t have to change my entire lifestyle to do so. For example, I buy sustainable household products, spend the extra money to buy cage-free eggs and chickens in opposition to factory farming, I look for recycled products (especially school supplies!) when buying necessities, and I find volunteer opportunities in my community that make a personal difference to me (currently I volunteer with Racing Dog Rescue Project giving care to 20+ greyhounds in need of homes). I also believe in the power of spreading awareness about topics such as ending greyhound racing, puppy mills and the pet shop business of cruelty, and most recently the collapse of New York City carriage horses because of the exhaust fumes they breathe in on a daily basis. Technically, horse-drawn carriages are sustainable, right? Never mind how inhumane the practice is.
That being said, I found myself more and more bothered by the extremist stance the husband had taken and moreover, his condescending attitude towards people like myself, who put value in the smaller actions you can take to instill change. There was one point in the movie where I believe the husband was making his own cleaning products and telling the camera that the sustainable ones found in stores don’t make enough of a difference; or how the recycled Starbucks cups are just a gimmick (Starbucks is pushing for their cups to be made from 100% recycled materials in the next year, but he failed to mention that). I just found his attitude extremely arrogant and dismissive of people who really do try to make positive changes without being extreme about it, and without sacrificing the all the conveniences of living in the modern age. You don’t have to subject your child to New York City winters completely without heat to reduce your consumption of electricity, or make your wife read by candle light (while you blog on your computer) when you can simply buy lower wattage light bulbs. One person who opposed him in the movie said it best, “Its the crazy people like you who make the rest of us look bad,” and I have to admit that that was my sentiments exactly.