Colin Beavan was a writer living in Manhattan who had the usual concerns over the future of the environment until he realized he wasn't doing much about it. Beavan decided that it was time he and his family did something to deal with the practical issues of global warming and environmental sustainability, so he set out on a grand experiment -- to see if he, his wife, Michelle Conlin, their young daughter, and their dog could live for a year in New York City without leaving any sort of carbon footprint.
Michelle, a writer for Business Week with a taste for fashion, was a hard sell for the notion of spending a year without electricity, takeout, toilet paper, or motorized transportation, but in time she agreed and found that their new life was a life-changing experience. Colin, however, found his will tested by the experience and his ideals questioned when he began writing a book about his experiences and sharing his story with the news media, becoming a minor celebrity in the process. Colin and Michelle's friends Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein are filmmakers who decided to capture the family's year of environmental purity on film, and No Impact Man is a documentary that chronicles the nuts and bolts of living a carbon-neutral life as well as how the experience impacted the family. No Impact Man was an official selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.