No Impact Man

Greetings from Marsha Robertson….


Here’s an indication that I think a new book or a movie I’ve seen is particularly good:  I’ll promote it for free.

That’s right. No monthly retainer or hourly fees. I may be a seasoned PR professional paid to craft innovative campaigns, but I’m also a cheerleader when I discover something entertaining or important enough to pass along. “NO IMPACT MAN” is both.


Coming to a theater near you on September 11, this feature-length documentary opened the first-ever Sausalito Film Festival this past weekend. The story follows a single-minded writer named Colin Beaven, his patient wife Michelle and their adorable toddler Isabella as they commit to living in the heart of New York City for ONE YEAR while causing ZERO environmental impact. And they’re serious.  No trash, no restaurants, no consumer purchases and no transportation besides bicycles and scooters. Eat only locally grown, organic foods. Compost with worms. Turn off the electricity. Are they absolutely crazy?


Yes. And no. While the Beavens commit to a “do no harm” manifesto, they wind down in stages.  And sometimes it’s painful to watch. You’ll particularly relate to Michelle, a smart and stylish writer at Business Week. It’s clear that she’s going to miss shopping. And Chinese take-out. And cappuccino in a paper cup. At a certain point, when she’s given up electricity and a refrigerator, her biggest treats will be sneaking ice cubes at work and making a stealth trip to the hair salon. 


Sometimes the Beavens are miserable, but often they’re happy and usually they’re hungry. They’re everything you would be if someone came in to your home tomorrow and took away your television, radio, iPod, magazines, junk food and toilet paper.  But mostly they are committed to “no environmental impact “ – an extremely ambitious goal. As Colin and Michelle are playing charades by candlelight with friends, or washing clothes in the bathtub with Isabella, they grow as a family — and their message begins to grow on you as an audience.  


We don’t all have to turn off our electricity to save the planet, but would it kill us to turn off our computers at night? Ease up on the paper towels? And get over this marketing-induced need for bottled water?  Eat more organic fruits and vegetables. Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room. Stop watching so much mindless television.  Call a friend and go to the movies.  

Start with this one! 


Heres’s the trailer:


For more information on the NO IMPACT MAN blog, book and movie:






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