Remember No Impact Man? In 2006, New York City writer Colin Beavan decided to wean his comfortable, upper-middle class life off of everyday materialism. He attempted to go further in the process than anyone else had pursuing similar projects—Beavan restricted his food consumption to that which could be obtained within 250 miles, eschewed “carbon-producing transportation” (cars, buses, subways, planes), and yes, yes, became that guy who made his family give up toilet paper. Beavan penned a book about the process, and his family’s story of transformation was turned into a documentary. Now, it seems that No Impact Man wants his message to directly impact public policy—Beavan is running for Congress.
According to a press release we received this morning, No Impact Man will run on the Green Party ticket in New York’s recently re-configured 8th Congressional District, which comprises much of central Brooklyn. He’ll be competing in the wake of the renowned Edolphus Towns, who, after 30 years in Congress, announced he would not be running for reelection last month.
It seems that Beavan’s platform will be closely aligned with his personal sense of locavorism. Beavan’s list of priorities includes, “prioritizing human connection before goods consumption,” as well as, “encouragement of service rather than product-based economies.” Still, Beavan’s primary talking points are less eco-activist than one might think. Keeping corporate money out of politics and putting an end to the NYPD’s stop and frisk policies are both listed as campaign goals.
“We have a crazy system where our communities’ human and financial capital are siphoned away by far-away corporations and government,” Beavan said in the release. “Then, we beg the same institutions to send us jobs and services. What if we strengthened our communities and didn’t have to send our wealth away in the first place? We’d have healthier communities, happy and safer people, much less crime and a greater quality of life for all.”
Surely, No Impact Man will be called on to justify this platform in politics as much as he has his experiment in publishing. Not all crunchy liberal types were thrilled with Beavan’s method and message—the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert wrote that the No Impact Man would be more aptly titled the “Not Quite So High Impact Man,” and the New York Times reduced his work to the headline, “The Year Without Toilet Paper.” I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how Mr. Zero Waste applies his principles to the campaign—biodegradable flyers and bumper stickers, anyone?