The College of William and Mary hosted a talk by Colin Beavan, followed by his documentary: "No Impact Man." In this documentary, Collin and his family dedicated themselves to a year of living without a negative impact on the environment.
The event began with a speech by Colin that touched various issues. One of his main points was that we can't say "it was good while it lasted" because we don't have great results given all the resources we have been consuming. He mentioned high rates of anxiety and depression and stated generally that many people end up doing things they don't want without a higher sense of purpose. He compared the world we live in now to a bad party, not enjoyable enough to make the effort worthwhile.
Colin expressed his view that much of the problem was how we interact with others and ourselves, often focusing on the faults and blame of others. He noted that he was mad at many things in the world from SUVs to wars and pollution, and then walked home one day to a cold apartment because he had left the air conditioning on all day. It was at this point that he realized he needed to make the differences he could to reduce his impact on the planet. His response to those who asked if he was stupid enough to think one man could make a difference was "yes" and he ended saying he hoped we were all stupid enough to believe it, too.
The documentary followed and chronicled his yearlong struggle to move off the grid, buy locally and live outside of the consumerist society. He tries various ways to adapt to these restrictions and ends up going along way to reduce his impact. While many of the actions taken in the documentary may be unfeasible for many, there are certainly a range of changes for one to look at and follow as it may suit them. Every little bit helps and it is good to keep in mind that we can change and don’t need to keep doing business as usual.
If you are interested in further posts about Colin and his "No Impact" efforts, here are just a few to pick from: