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No Impact Man

Author of the best-selling book encourages students to be more environmentally aware

BY LARA DE ALBA
OCT. 14, 2010

For someone who has done their best to make no impact on the environment, Colin Beavan has made a huge impact on the readers of his book, “No Impact Man.”

Beavan gave a speech at the new Student Center Thursday October 6 at noon, followed by a book signing. He addressed the freshman class, who read his book as their summer reading assignment.

However, freshmen were not the only students present. Students from high schools around the Cleveland area also attended the discussion, as well as faculty, staff, and other CSU students.

Beavan gave a brief overview of his book for those who were unfamiliar with his story, but spent most of his time speaking to the audience about his concerns for the environment.No Impact Man

Beavan was personable and funny, and made it clear that he was in no way trying to persuade others to be like him.

“I don’t want others to be more like me, I want them to be more like themselves,” he said. “The process of combining my passion and talent with my concerns about the world was my way of me becoming more like me.”

One of Beavan’s main concerns is that there is no sense of connection to a higher purpose for many people. As a society we are very work oriented, which can ultimately lead to higher stress levels, lack of exercise and less time for what he believes is really important-family.

“We work very hard for our economy, but shouldn’t our economy be working hard for us?” Beavan asked the audience, who responded with applause.

With the many problems we are facing today, Beavan feels that we should not be looking at whom to place the blame on, but focus on one’s own impact on the situation, as he did with his experience as a no impact citizen.

For those unfamiliar with Beavan, his claim to fame is the adventure he took his wife and daughter on in 2006. He became angry with the problems today’s society causes for the environment and decided that he wanted to live with as little impact on it as possible.

This entailed riding a bike or walking to wherever they needed to go, consuming very little except necessities, and producing no trash. The family even gave away their air conditioners. In fact, this is where Beavan got his inspiration from.

“I came home from work one summer day to find our two air conditioners on full blast,” recalled Beavan. “I had left them on that morning so it wouldn’t be too hot when we got home at night. But when I thought about how many natural resources I had been using during the day when no one was even home, I became angry with myself.”

From that point forward, Beavan embarked upon an eco-friendly quest to reduce his negative impact on the environment while greatly increasing his positive impact. He spent his free time planting trees to replace those which had been cut down for other uses.

While Beavan touched on these subjects during his speech, his purpose was to provoke individual consideration to the matter. The passion in his voice was evident when he told students who asked how he confronted his challengers by saying “Was I too stupid to realize that one person can’t make a difference? Yes,” answered Beaven. “Maybe one person can’t make a difference by themselves, but it’s a start. I chose to be myself and ended up making a living that way.”

Beavan encouraged students to start within their own communities and find what works best for them to be environmentally friendly.

Beavan’s best-selling book, “No Impact Man,” can be found at bookstores or through his Web site, www.noimpactman.com