22 April 2007

Environmentalist Urban Campers

My friend, Lesa, sent me another type: A family conducting a 12-month lifestyle experiment called No Impact.

The 'camping' nature of the experiment is clearly indicated by the title of the article that Penelope Green wrote about this family: "The Year Without Toilet Paper."

This type of urban camper is very urban, although not at all nomadic. And even though they are practicing simplification in a very home-based context, I am still adding them to THE LIST.

The 22 March 2007 New York Times article explains, "Thoreau left home for the woods to make his point (and secure his own book deal); Mr. Beavan and Ms. Conlin and others like them aren't budging from their bricks-and-mortar, haut-bourgeois nests."

The family lives on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The 43-year-old father, Colin Beavan, has a Ph.D. in applied physics and is a historical non-fiction writer. The 39-year-old mother, Michelle Conlin, is a senior writer at Business Week. The writers have a two-year-old daughter.

Their environmental urban camping rules are:
  • eat only food organically grown within a 250-mile radius of Manhattan (the longest distance a farmer can drive in and out of the city in one day)
  • do not shop for anything new except food
  • produce no trash except compost
  • use no paper (including toilet paper)
  • use no carbon-fueled transportation (including elevators)
The article describes the very urban and very people-focused new wave of environmentalism:
"Andrew Kirk, an environmental history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, paints a contrasting picture to environmentalism's last big bubble, in the 1970s, long before Ronald Reagan pulled federal funding for alternative fuel technologies (and his speechwriters made fun of the spotted owl and its liberal protectors, a deft feat of propaganda that set the movement back decades)."
[Did you notice the speechwriters ... designing effects?]

When they got rid of their TV, they started playing Saturday night charades instead. The article says, "Mr. Beavan likes to talk about social glue -- community building -- as a natural byproduct of No Impact."

Instead of 'getting rid of', they turned off the dishwasher, microwave, coffee machine and food processor. However, they still use the washing machine and let the maid use the vacuum cleaner. They scooter to work, take the stairs, and pack organic greens and homemade bread for lunch.

There was a big shopping binge before 'the year' started. When she runs out of make-up they plan to create 'rules-based' substitutes. However, the toilet paper will only ever be replaced by lots of water and air drying.

Read more at Beavan's blog: www.noimpactman.com

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06 April 2007

Little Urban Campers

My friend, Martijn, spotted a different kind of urban camper. The 27-year-old "slinkachu" has made:
Little People - A Tiny Street Art Project

Little Handpainted People,
Left in London to Fend for Themselves
Here are the urban campers:


I've added them to the list.

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