N.Y. Times Hails the Eco-Extreme: Going Without Toilet Paper for a Year

"Welcome to Walden Pond, Fifth Avenue style," wrote Penelope Green in the March 22 New York Times.

Green's 2,247-word profile of a family striving to have no environmental impact for one year took up roughly two-thirds of the home section front and another two-thirds of a page inside.

The story was a glowing account of Colin Beavan, Michelle Conlin and their 2-year-old daughter's life of eco-extremism: forgoing toilet paper, only buying organic food grown within 250 miles of Manhattan, and not using the TV, incandescent light, dishwasher, coffee maker, the elevator or any emitting form of transportation.

Green made the family's experiment sound idyllic and pleasant, though surely Conlin's trip to work on her unpowered scooter in the recent snowstorm was anything but. The Times writer also missed the very serious irony of the story. Mr. Beavan and his wife and child are living a "No Impact" life for one year, so he can write a book about it. Last time I checked books are still printed on paper ... just not toilet paper.

Environment New York Times
Julia A. Seymour's picture