No Impact Man Comes to eBay

Lorin May


Colin Beavan is not your average New Yorker. A few years ago, during a particularly uncomfortable heat wave that hit Manhattan in January, Colin Beavan realized something was off. It wasn’t supposed to feel like summer before Valentine’s Day.

He didn’t know much about global warming at the time, but he thought that whatever was happening could be one of the most important things to occur in his lifetime—and he wanted to do something about it. So, No Impact Man was born.

It’s no coincidence that Beavan’s alter-ego sounds like a superhero. In a lot of ways No Impact Man was trying to do something that sounded impossible. For one year, Colin, his wife, their then 2-year-old daughter and their dog attempted to live in New York City without making any net impact on the environment. In other words, no trash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV…

Making a difference isn’t just for superheroes.

The thing is—and this is something that Beavan’s newly-formed No Impact Project tries to hit home—reducing our impact on the planet isn’t something only fictional caped crusaders in Marvel comics or blockbuster movies can do.

You don’t have to unplug your refrigerator or stop buying toilet paper just yet (though Beavan tried both!). It’s not about deprivation, but about rethinking how you do what you do and making small changes that not only help the environment but improve your quality of life. For some, that might mean buying more local food or eating less meat. For others, it might mean biking to work or volunteering in the community.

Today we were fortunate to have Colin visit our office in San Jose to talk about his year-long experiment and the lessons that stuck with him. Check out the short video below for a taste of his talk.


No Impact Man at eBay from eBay Green Team on Vimeo.