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Interview: Colin Beavan

By TOM MEEK  |  October 2, 2009

How involved were you in the making of the film?
The film came about because I was just getting ready to write the book and the director, Laura Gabbert, who's friends with my wife, they had diner and came up with the idea. So we talked and at first, I didn't want to do it, but they convinced me that the combination of a book and a movie would reach a wider audience. How it worked was Michelle (Beavan's wife) would call them (Gabbert and co-director Justin Schein) up and alert them to things that we thought might be worth filming. But they made the movie, it's their movie.

How did you come up with the title?
The guilty liberal who whines and moans but doesn't do anything about it is kind of a stereotype and I was kind of like that. Then I became sick of my own inaction and I snapped. The book is about stumbling forward as an average citizen and that is who we need to get involved. The title is self deprecating humor that makes fun of my own earnestness. I take the subject very seriously, but not myself.

How green are you now?
We have many systems like electricity that are not sustainable, that you can't do without. So it makes sense to save $1,200 a year by getting rid of our air conditioners and when it's hot, we just go and play in a fountain in Washington Square Park and talk to our neighbors and have fun. And it makes sense for us to get our exercise biking everywhere and it makes sense to eat foods that don't have chemicals in them whose names we can pronounce, so we continue to eat local, but unlike the (No Impact) year, there are no rules.

I assume you now ride the elevator.
Actually I do, but I want to say that the city is now running a campaign to take the stairs instead of the elevator as a way to combat obesity.

So what do you want people to do?
We have an environmental emergency and there are lots of areas we can push for change for in. Legislative, business and individual, and we also need to push for a change in the culture and lifestyle. My argument is that we can find a better lifestyle that has less of an environmental impact.

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Related: Review: No Impact Man, Hardboiled hub, Going Green Guide, More more >
  Topics: Features , Science and Technology, Nature and the Environment, Boston Public Library,  More more >
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