Author and self-proclaimed No Impact Man Colin Beavan is loved and hated with equal passion. In 2006, the New York City resident came up with an idea for a new book: He and his family, consisting of wife (and BusinessWeek
writer) Michelle Conlin and toddler Isabella, would spend a year trying to make no impact on the environment (or at least as little as possible), and he'd write about the process. The clan subsequently gave up everything from TV to toilet paper as Beavan energetically publicized his efforts via regular appearances on Good Morning America
and interviews with pretty much any media outlet that would provide him with a forum (and plenty did). Along the way, he was either celebrated as an ecological hero or savaged as a egomaniacal putz trying to ride a stunt to fame.
Today, Beavan remains in promotional mode. He's just published No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process, and he's at the center of a No Impact Man, a documentary film that opens today at the Chez Artiste. Look below for an extended conversation with Beavan about both projects, during which he alternately defends himself from criticism and does his best to focus attention on what we can do to improve our lives and the planet -- his oft-stated goal.