29 January 2016

Low Impact Living Can Yield High Returns in Happiness

Six years ago American author Colin Beavan decided to see what it would take to live a truly eco-friendly life and have zero impact on the environment, all while living in the heart of New York City.  He chronicled his yearlong experiment in the 2010 book No Impact Man: 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.

Mr. Beavan stopped by the UN Bookshop at United Nations Headquarters on 28 January to launch his new book, How To Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World, and discuss his ideas on how people can live a life more aligned with their values, passions and concerns.  The discussion was moderated by Peter H. Kostmayer, CEO of the Citizens Committee for New York City, and UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Cristina Gallach, made opening remarks.

In his new book Beavan contends that people are questioning what it means to live a successful and satisfying life, and that the answer is no longer the simple straightforward path of college, career, marriage, house, kids and retirement. 

How To Be Alive serves as a handbook for achieving happiness and fulfillment through every day choices and actions that can have a big impact on your life, your community and the world.  The author argues that happiness comes by helping others and using your individual choices to make the world a better place. 

Beavan is a well-known activist on environmental and quality of life issues and advocates for bringing more people into the community of “no impact” or “less impact” in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  He serves as the executive director of the No Impact Project and a board member of Transportation Alternatives.

A review of How To Be Alive in Publishers Weekly hailed the book as “an encouraging approach to living a less materialistic, more fulfilling life.”