Here’s an interesting story brought to my attention by Readers Edition: http://www.readers-edition.de/2010/04/30/mein-klimagerechtes-leben/. German ZDF television, Germany’s version of the Beeb, shows its viewers how to live if you want to reach Salvation. It’s in German but you can read this post and then easily follow the clip.
Bathing Belgian in rainwater
The ZDF clip starts with a Belgian man using a fitness bike to power his laptop. He buys only second-hand clothes, bathes in rainwater – fish and meat of course are taboo. He cooks using only low energy methods; that is he removes the pot from the stove as soon as it starts to boil and places it inside an insulated box which he covers with his second-hand rags. The trapped heat does the rest. In all he cut his energy consumption by 70%. Not only does he save a lot of CO2, he also saves a lot of money – so much in fact that he has been able to buy a new shiny piano! (Just don’t ask how the piano is manufactured or shipped).
This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes… The one-year no-consumption experiment in New York City
Scene change over to New York, the capital of consumption, epicentre of trash production. Meet Colin Beavan, whose website http://noimpactman.typepad.com/ tells you how you too can be an “extraordinary person”. He conducted an experiment: one year without consumption. See how he and his family do not take the elevator, preferring to climb 22 flights of stairs. They neither use a car nor the subway, preferring to risk their daughter’s life on bikes. They do not produce any trash. They have their own compost in their appartment (Wow! imagine if we all had composts in our homes). And take a look at their leg-powered washing machine.
Beavan says: We have to consume way way less
So why does Colin put him and his family through all the trouble? He says he wants to find out what’s possible. How much can we refrain from in modern living? Beavan wants radical change. He says it’s not about changing your consumption habits, it’s about consuming “way way less”. The first step in the one-year no-consumption project was to throw out all those energy guzzling applicance and all the chemical products, and to impose an absolute halt on shopping. That’s right – no shopping for one year.
Beavan the ecostar
His wife Michelle is an editor for Businessweek and admits she was a typical consumer (er, sinner), who just couldn’t live without the modern vice called consumerism. But it’s Beavan’s project and the family decided to go along cold turkey. They kicked off the project by throwing a “lights-out” party and using candles for illumination. Beavan, the no-impact man, has since become an eco-star. His message: “Everybody can and must do something”. My question is: Why “must”?
No toilet paper
Colin’s family did not even use an air conditioner during New York’s hot sticky summer and no refrigerator. They didn’t even use toilet paper – it’s waste of resources! Some of Michelle’s BusinessWeek colleagues refused to shake her hand. Hot water? Didn’t mention it. Beavan did have second thoughts during the one-year ordeal. Yet he looked at the bright side, like better nutrition and more time with the family. Many habits have remained since the one-year experiment ended. For example he now uses canning jars as glasses. Ironically he says pessimism is the obstacle to change. That’s funny, aren’t the tree-huggers the ones always telling us a Climate Armegeddon is coming? How does one develop his brand of optimism?
Buy Beavan’s DVD, today!
By the way you can purchase Beavan’s story on a plastic DVD. http://www.noimpactdoc.com/index_m.php. Just don’t ask how the DVDs are recorded, manufactured, shipped, played or disposed of. In fact, don’t bloody ask how German ZDF produced and aired it’s stupid report on Beavan, Ms BusinessWeek and Mr Secondhand Rags.