Colin Beavan

Impact Man
September 21, 2010

Freedom By Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 562 pp., $28) A few years ago there appeared in The New York Times a profile of a Manhattan environmentalist who became known as No Impact Man. No Impact Man—his real name was Colin Beavan—had set himself the goal of radically reducing his family’s carbon footprint for a year: no paper products, no food that came from farther than a 250-mile radius of New York City, no fuel-consuming transportation.

The Green Bubble

SOMETIME AFTER THE release of An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, environmentalism crossed from political movement to cultural moment. Fortune 500 companies pledged to go carbon neutral. Seemingly every magazine in the country, including Sports Illustrated, released a special green issue. Paris dimmed the lights on the Eiffel Tower. Solar investments became hot, even for oil companies. Evangelical ministers preached the gospel of “creation care.” Even archconservative Newt Gingrich published a book demanding action on global warming. Green had moved beyond politics.