I have mixed feelings about no impact man. I definitely think it is really cool how the guy went through as many means necessary to reduce his impact. His message about changing yourself instead of waiting for things to change is also great and makes a whole lot of sense. It was pretty ironic when the guy who was helping him grow crops mentioned that not matter what he tried to do, it is nearly impossible to live without leaving some kind of impact. The ironic part being that his wife writes for a magazine (or a paper I don’t remember which) which uses tons of paper and other things that undermine what he was trying to do.

My biggest problem with this way of life is the cost. For most people, it’s incredibly hard to be able to afford that kind of lifestyle. In the film, they both seem to have steady, higher paying jobs and can afford things (like $400 purses, over tipping waiters for Starbucks coffee and going to hair salons). Mostly it’s a food issue. Buying fresh tends to run a little more expensive on average and spoils faster. It’s really weird (like it was mentioned in class) how you have to pay more to have less done to your food. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it’s weird how nowadays the mindset is: “make as much money as you can, by the quickest and cheapest means possible, while simultaneously finding ways to destroy any competition.” On the other side of that, there’s the instant gratification side to things which perpetuates it. Money thing aside, doing small things like not buying certain meats and trying not to use a ton of paper towels ect. are pretty simple things anyone can do.

Anyway, it definitely had an impact on me (whether I wanted it to or not). I’ve been trying to go to the farmers market downtown on the weekends and getting what I can there. I’ve also been trying to stop buying too many things that come in wasteful packages or only have single uses. I try to reuse any jars I get (for holding water or brushes). I was also thinking that when I get older, I might consider raising my own honey bees. It seems like a really good thing for the environment, could get me to interact with neighbors and community, as well as provide a challenge. Not to mention honey tastes really good.

A cool link on DIY bee keeping:

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/diy-backyard-beekeeping-47031701

A link to Sarasota Farmer’s Market:

http://www.sarasotafarmersmarket.org/

Image of No Impact Man came from here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/sep/05/documentary

-Martin Valentino

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14 responses »

  1. Tim L. says:

    Good point on the financial angle. I feel like the majority of all the recent positive environmental and health trends can only really feasibly be undertaken by the more wealthy classes, at least here in the states. We’re living in a time where Americas middle class is disappearing. The gap between the wealthy and the poor expands everyday.

    Buying fancy water bottles, cutting out fast food, buying organic or refurnishing your entire house with green energy saving appliances and light bulbs is a ridiculous notion to the average American family. That average American family are most likely struggling just to put food on the table every night, and pay their mortgage payments so they don’t end up on the street-which I guess in the eyes of the wealthy would be the ultimate form of “going green.”

    I think the ideas presented in No Impact Man are positive, admirable, and a source of inspiration, but ultimately not an option for the most of us.

    • mvalenti (2) says:

      It’s really strange how it seems to work that way. Why does it have to cost so much? I guess this goes along with the whole Occupy Wallstreet movement going on. Hopefully more people will become educated more about what they eat and things will change.

  2. Eric De Barros says:

    I agree with you about most of what you said, except the bee’s. They are like flying death creatures. I couldn’t raise them, although I do plan on raising chickens at some point. I understand what you are saying about expensive food, but compared to fast food shopping at the grocery store can be much cheaper actually. I suppose it just depends on what you are looking for though.

    • mvalenti (3) says:

      Haha, flying death creatures just makes them sound much more exciting. Raising chickens seems kinda cool, I know one person at this school who does/did that. As far as shopping at the grocery, it brings up another point, people diets may be altered in varying degrees. For instance, if someone was used to eating meat their whole life and then decided to become vegetarian, it may take a while to adjust if they don’t know the kinds of foods they need to look for.

  3. April Manuel says:

    You know I was thinking about that. How they were able to afford that way of living. When I think about making change for our environment I think about how it’s going to cost way more. Just like how it costs way more to eat healthy food over junk food. It seems like what’s good for us in this world is harder to get than the easier bad for us things. Like eating from fast food places because it’s so cheap compared to buying organic food. Hopefully we will find a way to come together and help each other in making our country better with being green.

    I hope to start buying organic foods instead of eating mostly fast food. I also started putting away cardboard to recycle. I plan to start recycling at home off campus and make other changes to my lifestyle to help the environment.

    • mvalenti (4) says:

      I know for a lot of people who have families it is probably easier to feed them off of a McDonald’s dollar menu vs having to buy lots of food in bulk to cook every night. I think the problem is a lot of people don’t have a ton of time to cook. They may have multiple jobs or dysfunctional families which makes it harder. At that point it comes down to lifestyle as well.

      Anyway, it’s really awesome that you are making changes to help the environment.

  4. Maggie says:

    You should definitely try to make a visit to the farmer’s market. Although I have not been to the one here in Sarasota, I have been to a bunch of them before. People say that they are expensive, but I don’t understand why. For me, it is cheaper! And often times, the sellers will give you free stuff or be lenient with pricing. For example, I would strike up conversations with the sellers, and they would say things like “Oh, you havent tried these before?! Here take a few and try it!” It really is a better environment to shop for your food.

  5. Ciera Fedock says:

    The Sarasota Farmer’s Market has some great stuff for sale that you would normally pay twice the amount for at a retail store. You can find fruits and vegetables there that are far better than those you would find at places like Whole Foods (which is funny considering there is a Whole Foods right around the corner from the Market). You can also find beautiful flowers there for very reasonable prices and you feel good when you leave too which is a definite plus.

    • mvalenti (5) says:

      I actually went to check out prices of unfiltered honey a few weeks ago. It was pretty insane how expensive it was (about $8 – $12 for a honey bear sized bottle). I went to the Wholes Foods next door and it cost about $6 a bottle. I think publix lower quality stuff runs around $3 for a larger volume. It doesn’t make sense. I bought some from Whole Foods though, and it does feel good (and taste good).

  6. It’s funny how you mentioned taking care of bees in the future before we watched the bee film. 🙂 I think it would be a terrific idea!
    It is very frustrating knowing how much better it is for you to eat fresh and oraganic foods but I normally avoid it only because they are much more expensive. My hope is that the organic food industry will continue to rise which would allow more companies to compete with one another which would lead them to lower their prices. But we may not see that until far into the future.

    • mvalenti (6) says:

      Yeah, that was a pretty funny coincidence. Who knows, maybe things will change for the better. I hope it’s not like this forever.

  7. Grace Betts says:

    I’m really glad this class is helping people acknowledge their local farmers markets (notably Sarasota’s) By having more people attend those, the more different vendors and options we’ll be able to have. Then, because we’ll have more vendors, they will start lowering their prices (a little bit) to stay competitive – it’s definitely a cycle. But I totally understand how sad it makes one feel to have to put down the delicious organic fruits for the standard ones just because you’d like to eat tomorrow too. But that is where I feel the personal/community garden comes in. Of course there are some start up costs, but your yield should make up for it. I feel like this class is honestly helping a lot of us with making our every day lives more sustainable and getting us to talk about it.

  8. Nice, looks like you pre-empted the positive impact of bee keeping, which we talked about two weeks later. I agree about the contrast between no impact man and his shopaholic wife, that was at best comical and at worse really pretty sad…

    -Victor

    • What I think is that it almost came off at times like she was the villain in the story because of how she tried to undermine him at times, like with the coffee and such, but she ended up convincing him to go through to the end.

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