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03/11/2014

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Eric Thurston

I'm waiting to see a clickable picture on my browser that says,"You can save civilization by trying this one weird trick!"

Robert Arrington

O.K., so is homo sapiens therefore confirmatory evidence that sarcasm is an emergent property of evolution?

adam

Dave, Beaven may be crazy but I think you're giving him a bad rap. Having read the book, it's a fun read and he gives plenty of opportunities for the reader to laugh at him. He goes into depth on what worked and what didn't (he gave up on handwashing his clothes for one). It's a stunt, sure, but a useful one. Well, theoretically useful, as almost nobody is going to bother to follow his example or try to live in a less wasteful way. He pretty much found out by elimination what's really neccessary to make life comfortable, and it turns out to be much less than expected (but a clothes washer turns out to make life much easier).

To be honest, Kolbert is full of shit - she wrote a hit piece, presumably because Beavan actually succeeded in significantly cutting down his use of crap and energy. I think she feels threatened because he actually tried this out, more than anything else, and didn't die or suffer terribly like the environmental martyrs/poor suffering souls who need to be brought into the modern world in India or South America or whatever.

There is a strain of that in the modern environmental movement - that you are horrible if you don't moan over global warming, but you're a freak if you give up your car, and the people who are without modern things are martyrs but also desperately need to experience the western lifestyle. There is no room for living well with less electricity or no car or whatever.

People who insult and denigrate those who are at least trying kinda piss me off. It's like, if I refuse to eat maguro I'm an asshole, but if I eat it I'm a hypocrite? Sorry, that game is BS.

Oliver

Hilariously off beam.

If you want to have no impact, tell the truth about the putrefying corruption at the base of all human society.

No impact guaranteed.

Dave Cohen

@adam

Let me ask you -- why do you read DOTE? What do you get out of it?

You might also consider that the phrase "no impact man" is ambiguous in this context.

What's the second meaning? The one you apparently missed?

-- Dave

Jim

I've been thinking about the interconnectedness of all things and how this ties to that. Action, reaction.

An interesting question on Beavan's experiment would be what the balance is on a purely environmentally impactful basis. He'd have to have a fairly significant impact on convincing others to change their habits to offset the impact of all the printed books, the movie, his appearances, and so on (and that'd just be for a 'no impact' balance).

He's probably aware of this. He has a website to encourage others to reduce their footprint:
http://noimpactproject.org/

'No Impact Project' is a kind of doubling down on the double entendre, but whatever. Notice how the thought bubbles over the people on the main screen all want more. Beavan knows his audience, anyway. But to be fair, he is addressing some of the concerns Kolbert had about his experiment mentioned in the last paragraphs of Green Like Me.

I watched the movie several years ago and I remember thinking that his message was that everyone should move to New York City and stop using toilet paper - which didn't seem like the best of ideas.

Kolbert has a recent interview here:
http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2014/mar/09/elizabeth-kolbert-whole-world-becoming-zoo

adam

Dave, I'm not a fucking idiot, I get your point. That's why I read your blog, you're very realistic. I know what he's doing isn't going to change shit - but I remember you once applauding scientists trying to slow down or stop the current wave of extinctions as heros. Beaven is not a hero by any standard, but he's at least not eating the maguro. I'd rather have fools like him than our current crop of "wise men".

Kolbert's piece ends specifically with the paean to the poor of the world, and a claim that he would have been better to try to change the world through politics - which both you and I know is bullshit. That's what really pisses me off. She's calling him an asshole for not living in a cardboard box? And telling US lobbying for a carbon tax would do more good? Really?

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