Monday, April 11, 2011

Film Favorites - No Impact Man

"In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. 
And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."  
                                                                                           Eleanor Roosevelt  -

The documentary "No Impact Man" provides tremendous opportunity to explore with students, the choices they make and the impact that those choices have on an interconnected world.
"No Impact Man", follows the lives of the Manhattan-based Beavan family. Writer Colin Beavan decides to write about a year of abandoning their high consumption 5th Avenue lifestyle and try to live a year while making no net environmental impact.

I really enjoy monitoring my students impressions of the Beavans from start to finish of the film.  Most of my students begin the movie with the notion that this guy has lost his mond and what the Beavan family is taking on is impossible.  However, student impressions change as they see how this no impact lifestyle not only impacts the family in an environmental sense but truly brings the family together as they eliminate many of the daily activities, such as television and computers, that detract from the relationship of family.
 At the end of the film Colin's message to bring about change is a simple one, VOLUNTEER!
It is through the act of volunteerism that the building of a community takes place.  This message parallels the Lasallian principle of service and our motto of "Enter to Learn. Leave to Serve." 
Too, often our students feel that they are powerless as individuals to make change and have an impact.  Plain and simple the message to our students needs to be make the choice to become involved. Because, it is in the development of community and the act of volunteering that an understanding of the power that individuals can have when their ideas have a positive impact on the world we share.

To learn more about Colin Beavan and the No Impact Project, go to the website at
For information packets for educators, go to the No Impact Project at
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
                                                                   -  Edmund Burke  -

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