Colin Beavan

Meet the author of No Impact Man (also a documentary opening tonight at the Varsity), whose project was, for an entire year, to systematically reduce his Manhattan family’s consumption, garbage, and carbon impact. Beavan is media-savvy enough not to wave his finger or come across as a scold, both in this film and his book (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25), which carries the lengthy, self-inoculating subtitle “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.” What Beavan is telling us is obvious. Is No Impact Man a landmark documentary? Is the book a Walden for our time? Not really. Both, in a modest, agreeable fashion, tell us what we already know: We buy too much, we waste too much, and we’re using up resources disproportionate to our presence on the planet. BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Sept. 25, 7 p.m., 2009

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