Monday, May 7, 2007

No (Book) Impact Man

Who wouldn't want to read almost daily about "A guilty liberal [who] finally snaps, swears off plastic, goes organic, becomes a bicycle nut, turns off his power, composts his poop and, while living in New York City, generally turns into a tree-hugging lunatic"? That irresistible character is No Impact Man, author of one of my very favorite blogs. Since his posts started arriving in my inbox a month ago, NIM has chronicled adventures such as saving electricity by stomping his laundry like grapes in the tub and waxed philosophic about the pollution-induced death of a minke whale in New York harbor. Though I sometimes can't even imagine following his example (we have wayward ants, but no composting worms, in our kitchen), he always gives me something to ponder and often a laugh or two.

You can imagine my suspense upon reading today's headline--"Worse Than Giving up Toilet Paper." What could be worse? NIM is starting a new phase of his energy-efficient living experiment, which he calls the "sustainable consumption stage." A writer and book glutton of long standing, NIM began seeing his bulging shelves as antithetical to his sustainability goals. Yet the prospect of parting with objects of such varied and rich values left him feeling panicked. Will NIM get rid of some or all of his treasured books? Should others seeking to save the planet follow suit? And what should be done with books demeaned unworthy of one's own shelves? I won't spoil his story by telling you. But I'd love to hear what you think about his decision and about the comments on that thread of NIM's discussion. Like NIM, I think that what to do about buying, keeping, and purging accumulated books are vital questions in determining how books can and could be used to slow climate change and generally save the earth.


Wild Flora said...

I'm a big fan of the No Impact Man blog too. Not only is he going where no (toilet-paper using contemporary urban North American) human has gone before, but he does it with a sense of humor. But my experience suggests that he'll regret getting rid of books. Four years ago I moved from Seattle to Nova Scotia, with the cost of shipping at about $1/pound. Because books are heavy, I thought about getting rid of books. Instead, although I did sell some books, mostly I got rid of other stuff. That's a decision I've never regretted. If I have any regrets it's that I sold off as many books as I did!
Wild Flora

pinenut said...

No Impact Man was supposed to be on morning tv today, so I sat watching for an hour before realizing that I was tuned to "Today" and NIM was on Good Morning America. My kids had a good laugh.

People have such different feelings about book keeping. I pretty regularly purge mine and rarely regret it. I live close to an amazing library so that helps me keep my personal stash down, and with six readers in the house, we have to be a bit restrained.