Ever since he was written up in the Times last week, No Impact Man has been causing shockwaves. Here’s a guy who, with his family, is going without… reducing his intake to local foods and his output to a tiny fraction of the typical American’s.
I was at the Union Square Market last week, buying some local eggs. A well-dressed woman marched up and handed two empty cardboard egg trays to the farmer, for reusing (a step better than recycling).
Suddenly, $40 an ounce for raspberries flown in from Chile isn’t so sexy any more.
Now, people look at someone driving a Chevy Suburban the same way they look at a fit person parking in a handicapped space. "Why," they wonder, "do you need to do that?" It’s sort of a mix of suspicion and pity.
The richest and best-educated people in our economy are shifting, and pretty quickly. They’re just as willing to spend money as they always were, but now it’s not focused on fancy organic stuff at the Whole Foods Market or giant bulletproof cars from Germany or private jet travel. Instead, the market is trying as hard as it can to spend time and money without leaving much of a trace.
I think this story has legs and is going to be around for a long time. Zero is the new black.