This past weekend I had the incredible and fortunate experience of attending a weekend-long workshop in Rosendale, New York that was hosted by Colin Beavan and his team from the No Impact Project. If you are unfamiliar with Colin, he and his family spent an entire year in New York City reducing the amount of resources they were consuming until they ultimately had no impact on the planet, quite the feat for a city dweller! Colin’s book, blog, and documentary are both fascinating and inspirational.
When I initially heard about the No Impact Project, I imagined it would be both extremely difficult and relatively unpleasant to live without purchasing anything new except local foods, living entirely off the electrical grid, producing absolutely no waste, and transporting yourself solely by foot or bicycle. However, after watching the film I learned that these lifestyle changes caused the Beavan family to be not only healthier, but happier and richer in ways they never imagined. Their lives grew more meaningful and their relationships amongst themselves, their friends and family, and with their natural environment stronger. It was incredible to witness the transformative power of growing more conscientious about the earth and your place within it. The newly enriched happiness of this family was remarkable.
When I later learned that the No Impact Project was to host a workshop to train “Eco Leaders”, I jumped at the opportunity to take part of in this endeavor. My application was selected out of a couple hundred and I had the privilege of attending this all-expenses paid, fabulous training at the Lifebridge Sanctuary in upstate New York, a beautiful retreat and conference center. We were privileged to dine on delicious, healthy cuisine and spent our moments in introspective dialogue, exploring what it means and feels to be a leader. We also learned about the process of facilitating groups and how to plan and organize No Impact Weeks in our local communities, a task I cannot wait to now embark upon.
No Impact Weeks challenge small groups of community members to live as Colin did, with no or little impact on their environment. Participants are not asked to give up everything, but only what they are ready for. At the end of the week, participants are left feeling pride for their accomplishments, and often to their surprise, more psychologically and spiritually whole. The challenge will also connect people with one another, so that participants feel more supported and can share reflections on the week’s events.
My next journey in life will be to help start up at least three No Impact Weeks throughout New Hampshire, to begin the same week as Earth Day. I am looking forward to working with people who are interested in exploring small and large steps they can take to help simplify their lives, minimize their impacts on the earth, and live richer and healthier lives. If you are interested in taking part, that’s great! All you have to do is give me a call or email and I will give you more details. It’s that simple.