Thursday, December 24, 2009

488. Unexpected Responses from Review on "No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet..." By Colin Beavan

Back in November of 2009, I was browsing the internet into the weee hours of the night and encountered the "No Impact Man" website, which had this epic format of coupling film with book with blog, which is an optimal platform for myself one day....

But as I was doing further research on the No Impact project, the more and more I became very upset on how limited the reasoning was behind the writing... how this seemed to highlight "trendy environmentalism" rather than more deep-rooted thinking.... I became so upset that I managed to have enough courage to write a review of the book on Amazon, which can be found here:
Amazon Review by Victoria Minnich for No Impact Man. I will copy and paste the review below. The two main points I raised were (1) "No Impact" is impossible as an organism, so it's a faulty premise, a faulty goal and (2) "No Isabella" or the human population problem / birth control problem is not really addressed whatsoever in the book. People responded to the review and my reviewer rating went up about a million! Woohoo!!! (ha ha ha) Sometimes writing reviews in a state of upsetedness into the wee hours of the night can lead to good things....

What about the source of all environmental problems? The mind? The kid?

As a "skimmer" of No Impact Man, I have issues about the fundamental muscular/skeletal structure of the entire book itself. I am greatly concerned about the lack of mentioning of the "ultimate source" of environmental problems: too many humans. Having kids. Population. It is the HUMAN MIND that generates the notion of "problems" in the first place, and the fewer humans, the less problems in the world. I am surprised that family planning agencies have not associated their campaigns with environmental problems. For the birth of every child in this world equates to the death of thousands of millions of plants and animals, the excavations of how many tons of rocks and minerals... the sculpting of so many parcels of landscapes... all occurring in a very indirect manner to the life of that child.

The fundamental human-environmental paradox assumes this: as long as you exist, occupy space and time, consume resources, excrete wastes, and especially replicate yourself, you by default as a human, a living organism, are impacting the environment (I invented this paradox on my Biologically Incorrect Blog). The concept of "zero impact" is a farse. The question is how can this level of impact be minimized, or at most be "perceivably beneficial" at an individual and collective scale, such that the individual does not sacrifice his/her own health and survival (aka become an "environmental Jesus Christ") and the collective network of human society won't fall apart all together?

I don't see this book being addressed at a more systematic level with a fundamentally strong premise such as the statement above. It seems to be more at a "trendy" level--such as alternative transportation and going to farmers' markets and using recycled grocery bags. At least it's a start.

As for my own personal values, I choose to not have an Isabella (having kids is sooo cliche) and will take the right to using toilet paper. And if there's no more TP, I've used sticks and leaves before, and they seem to work fine. I also choose to catch my own fish and tend to my own garden. No problem.

I don't think birth control and family planning should be the invisible 800-pound gorilla in the room anymore.

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