He didn't just amp up his recycling and go with reusable grocery bags instead of the plastic ones. No, Colin Beavan went as far as cutting the power in his house in an attempt to be the "no impact man" in the documentary of the same name.
I was a bit surprised at what he found, and I don't just mean what happened when he, his wife, and their two-year-old girl gave up toilet paper.
They learned something about consumerism and the values of a consumer culture. When you cut out TV (and the power) you spend more time outdoors. When you need help, it's nice to have a supportive community of friends. You can even tell when the seasons change by what's growing in the ground (you don't need a calendar to know what time of year it is!)
I've been to New York, but guess I didn't fully understand the self-absorbed culture. Ultimately, I think Beavan learned what he does has an impact on people around him. He learned we're interconnected, and it's not all about me. Shocker!
Take or leave the environmental message (strange thing for me to be saying about an environmental documentary) but I think you'll find the things he learned contain lessons for people of faith.
Here are a couple of the key things I took from the film that don't require you to wash clothes in the bathtub.
Community. Colin's wife worried what would happen when she couldn't watch reality TV. By the end, she said she couldn't believe how long days are when spent with others or spent outside doing things.
Be more connected to the land. Living in the midwest, this isn't as much of a problem. I know where food comes from, but apparently many people don't. Thank a farmer.
Stop consuming so much. This is something we could all benefit from.