Friday, March 23, 2007

A year without toilet paper

Colin Beaven, 43, a writer and Michelle Colin, 39, a senior writer at Business Week, along with their two-year old daughter, Isabella, are living the next year -- in the middle of Manhattan -- without toilet paper. As bizarre as this may seem, not having toilet paper is only a small part of a bigger plan called No Impact. You see, Colin and his family are going to live the next year with minimal or no impact to the environment. Although the rules are evolving, the loose descriptors are as follows:
  • eating only food organically grown withing a 250-mile radius of Manhattan
  • no shopping for anything except for food
  • producing no trash (compost is okay)
  • using no paper
  • using no-carbon fueled transportation
Some of the most entertaining questions posed on his blog about this "experiment" truly depict the difficulties all of us face when trying to be more environmentally conscious in a city: simple questions like what they use to wipe, toys for his daughter, books he reads and making vinegar. I admire his efforts, at least he is trying to do something.

Together the couple discard their lightbulbs, disposable razors and olive oil, vowing to live green. They even confiscate the cleaning lady's paper towels, though in a touching scene, lit only by flickering beeswax candles, the woman makes a plea to keep her beloved vacuum.


“That’s the thing about this current wave of environmentalism,” he continued. “It’s not about, how do we protect some abstract pristine space? It’s what can real people do in their home or office or whatever.


The philosophy is based not only on restricting consumption but on changing what is consumed so that it actually helps or at least does not hinder the world.


Tags: Environment | New York | No Impact living | Climate Canaries | environmentalism | newsgroup | opinion | sustainable living

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