Sundance movie recap: No Impact Man

Author Colin Beavan wants to help the environment by doing absolutely nothing to it in “No Impact Man.” Is it lunacy, bravery or just self-promotion? Here’s a documentary to help you decide.

No Impact Man

Category: Documentary Spotlight

Directors: Laura Gabbert, Justin Schein

U.S.A., 2008, 90 minutes

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of author Colin Beavan. He’s the “psychotic” tree hugger who decided to force his Starbucks-loving wife and baby daughter through a year without electricity, toilet paper and nonlocal food. Now, he’s the Morgan Spurlock of environmentalism.

Beavan is the brains behind He’s neither psychotic nor a self-promoter as many articles and media entities have painted him to be, just an aw-shucks kind of guy looking to make a difference.

No Impact Man follows the Beavan family’s journey as the three embrace his new book idea: Can a family living in a metropolitan area exist for one year without any environmental impact? That means no food bought from outside the region, no items bought in packaging, and, after six months, it even means flipping off the power to the Beavan family’s ninth story New York apartment.