No Impact Man

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Ben Kerr
Professor Tate
English 20
February 6th, 2012
How Good is ‘Good Enough?’
An environment consists of the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives in or operates. The environment is a home shared by every person on Earth and there is a duty, as a people, to protect it. Today, it is threatened by the actions of the people living here. The planet’s climate is warming, polar ice caps are melting, and the very existence of its inhabitants is at risk. A new kind of lifestyle must be adopted to cure the damage done thus far. People must use less energy, conserve nonrenewable resources, and minimize their negative impact on Earth. An example of this new way of living is that of Colin Beavan in his book, “No Impact Man.” It is a true story about the year he spent having no impact on the earth and living an entirely eco-effective life. Along with his family, he does so by minimizing his use of electricity, generating no waste, and watching every move they make to ensure his family makes no impact on Earth. Beavan is initially motivated by the global, highly publicized problems, his relationship with his family, and the guilt he feels for his lack of environmental action. Throughout the project, these motivations evolve and he is ultimately motivated by more personal, community problems, maintaining his new relationship with his family, and the guilt he feels about leaving the project. At first, Beavan is concerned with the largely publicized environmental problems. However, throughout the project, he becomes more and more concerned with the small hometown problems. It started at initially when the news of global warming (already out for twenty years) actually entered Beavan’s “liberal subconscious,” (6). One example was that of polar bears in the arctic that were drowning as a result of the melting ice (8). He went on, using global warming to explain other current disasters, such as plagues, disease, natural disasters,...
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