Dinty Moore, Dumpster Diving, and No Impact Man's Cult of Personality

To counterbalance today's Weekly Standard evisceration, a little love for the magazine: In this week's issue, Matt Labash signs on to the Internet-wide crusade of No Impact Man Colin Beavan, and tells a terrible tale of what happens when amateurs try to reduce their carbon footprint to zero:

We erased our carbon footprint! Well, we didn't erase it exactly. It's impossible to leave no footprints. I mean human exhalation leaves 1 kg of carbon dioxide a day, which traps heat in the atmosphere, which warms the polar ice caps, which drowns polar bears, which makes Al Gore weep. So we can't be no impact strictly speaking, unless we hold our breath until the Climate Bill passes and President Obama goes to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December and invents green jobs and finds green solutions to intractable problems like human breathing. So let's just say I went Low Impact. If my Low Impact week was an aerobics class, it'd be the kind where I jog in place on a mini-trampoline while wearing a decorative headband.

In a single low-carbon week, Labash manages to destroy his son's birthday by dumpster diving for a present, miss out of fireside nooky with his wife to watch a webcast from the No Impact movement's Dear Leader, and then end the whole experiment early so that he can go fly fishing.

And at the heartwarming conclusion: Volunteering at a food pantry (Day 7: Give Back Day) Labash realizes canned beef stew is the bee's carbon-intensive knees:

Across the grounds at the pantry, over a dozen volunteers work for a couple hours full-tilt, unloading the truck and stocking the shelves, and more food is still coming in from additional members who missed the truck. One carbon-monster wheels up in his chariot-of-death--a Cadillac Escalade--and unpacks an entire SUV of plastic-bagged groceries, bought at his own expense.

As I join in the shelf-stocking, putting the boxed mac'n'cheese, canned Dinty Moore beef stew, offbrand toilet paper, and packaged Ramen noodles in their respective places, I realize how these needy carbon-emitters--the church helps 100 families per week--wouldn't make it for a second in the No Impact Experiment. Where's the locally grown, unpackaged delights? Where's the exotic farmer's market daikon radishes and lovage and baby fennel and swiss chard?

Read Reason's review of No Impact Man's documentary here.

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  • Paul||

    I realize how these needy carbon-emitters--the church helps 100 families per week--wouldn't make it for a second in the No Impact Experiment. Where's the locally grown, unpackaged delights? Where's the exotic farmer's market daikon radishes and lovage and baby fennel and swiss chard?

    No (threaded) comments necessary.

  • ¢||

    I'm unfamiliar with the incantations of the cult, so when WS guy says b.s. guy's book was "manufactured with energy generated by bio-gas," I can't tell if it's a joke. But it's a good one.

  • ||

    I can't tell if the whole thing is a joke. Maybe Dave Barry stole his laptop or something.

  • Spartacus||

    miss out of fireside nooky with his wife to watch a webcast from the No Impact movement's Dear Leader,

    I didn't realize that going low impact made you gay. Or not gay, just non-sexual, I guess. Gay guys probably wouldn't be so lame.

  • Paul||

    Living in Seattle, I'm know or am acquainted with no shortage of gay men. In my experience, they don't go low impact on anything.

    Lesbians on the other hand...

  • Paul||

    For instance, my ex-wife's apartment is entirely furnished from the leavings of her gay male friends who redecorate every 18 months.

    So I guess that makes her a low-carbon beneficiary of a high-carbon lifestyle? It's all so confrusing.

  • ||

    Either you have a different definition of "leavings", or your ex-wife's apartment has brown walls (with perhaps a little white mixed in, depending on how many gays were involved).

  • Barney Frank||

    I know a good way to get rid of those leavings...

  • ||

    "I didn't realize that going low impact made you gay"

    You clearly haven't known many low impact people. It doesn't make you gay so much as dickless.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Paul, I still have to say it:

    What an asshole.

  • MattXIV||

    It's impossible to leave no footprints. I mean human exhalation leaves 1 kg of carbon dioxide a day

    Actually it's quite easy for a human to be a net carbon sink. All the carbon in your diet was at one point drawn from the air via photosynthesis - if you burn it for calories and exhale it as CO2, you're carbon neutral. But, if you don't burn it, it stays sequestered within your body. So, eat a lot and move as little as possible. Eventually, you'll be too fat to leave your dormicle, cutting out your transportation-related GHG emissions as well. The enviromentally ignorant may see a 700 lb shut-in, but true ecowarriors will celebrate you as the man who single handedly is sequestering nearly a quater ton of CO2.

  • ||

    All that carbon is going to be re-emitted when you die and are burnt/feasted upon by roaches.

  • ||

    And gets sequestered in the roaches. It all works out.

  • ||

    what about roach farts?

  • anonymous||

    That's why you have to be dumped deep in a hole when you die.

    Wait, does that make mass graves a form of carbon sequestration?

  • jester||

    Here is an awesome story about how to beat your carbon imprint and eminent domain in one.

    From 'Night Gallery', I give you 'Greenfingers':

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/5880.....en-fingers

  • ||

    ...or just don't worry about pollution at all. It's good for you!

  • Paul||

    CO2 isn't pollution.

  • nigger||

    No, but vehicles release more than CO2 into the air

  • ||

    Dear Jesus, today I drove my '79 convertible Super Beetle over the hill to Whole Foods and spent over $100 on 2 days worth of food. It was all organic and stuff, and mostly had no #2-corn byproducts, so I think I put to work a number of hippies who dropped out of corporate life to grow arugula at the other end of a freeway that is often filled with big trucks carrying their goods to the city where I keep my 53" TV. I am sorry, baby Jesus, that I just can't tell the difference between what's good for the earth and a six-pack of Fentiman's Curiosity Cola that was shipped from Burnaby, BC to San Francisco, where I and my friends wear hemp so that we can thumb our noses at the Rayon industry. Am I going to hell? If so, which ring? I get them all confused.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    I weep for the plants deprived of his 1kg of CO2 per day.

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    From the article:

    (I scrupulously buy fair trade tea. I go to Safeway. I have money. They have Lipton. I give them the money. They give me the tea. Fair trade)

    Ha. I'm going to use this.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No Impact Man should do the right thing... and throw himself into a volcano.

    I'll help pay for his trip. Who's in?

  • Attorney||

    I would like to know whether he has a college degree (or higher), and if so, where it's from and in what.

    He just seems so ... deluded.

  • Attorney||

    Huh. His website says he has a PhD in electronic engineering from U. of Liverpool. I hadn't thought engineers could be so flaky.

  • ||

    You are fortunate enough not to have known too many engineers.

  • jester||

    Yes, sad but true, chronic eczema is really what drove him to the unspeakable.

  • Chad||

    Do you eat coal? Drink natural gas? No? I didn't think so. Therefore, your exhalations are carbon neutral.

    Turn on your peanut brains for once, will ya?

    (Yes, producing and shipping your food is an environmental disaster. The food itself is not).

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Well, hell, Chad... maybe we should all commit suicide, so that Mother Earth may be saved.

    You go first. We promise to follow your lead.

  • jester||

    Q:Do you eat coal?
    A:No, it's hard on the teeth and has a burnt taste.

    Q:Drink natural gas?
    A:No, gasses are hard to drink. I accidentally breathe them in sometimes. When they are liquefied they give me a horrible popsical headache.

    Q:Turn on your peanut brains for once, will ya?
    A:That isn't a question. It's a command.

  • jester||

    Q:Do you eat coal?
    A:No, it's hard on the teeth and has a burnt taste.

    Q:Drink natural gas?
    A:No, gasses are hard to drink. I accidentally breathe them in sometimes. When they are liquefied they give me a horrible popsical headache.

    Q:Turn on your peanut brains for once, will ya?
    A:That isn't a question. It's a command.

  • Marc||

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Why hasn't Tony come in here to blame every problem on old, rich white guys?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Because he's currently trolling for one to be his sugar daddy.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Yeah, but Obama is supposed to pay our mortgages and put gas in our cars, according to that lady at one of his rallies.

    Pardon... His rallies. Must grovel to Dear Leader.

  • Ska||

    "Dinty" above "Cult" in a headline can be misread to great effect while scrolling.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "One carbon-monster wheels up in his chariot-of-death--a Cadillac Escalade"

    See, this is one reason why AGW-worshippers are insane.

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