No Impact Man tells how he became an activist. Plus an American Uprising in Wisconsin, People Power in Egypt, and much more...
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  Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions         February 2011 

Colin Beavan, photographed by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine

Colin Beavan. Photo by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine

photo iconNo Impact Week Photo Awards
  Food, energy, giving back, and more: The winning entries from January’s YES! No Impact Week participants.

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My Life as an Accidental Activist

Colin Beavan didn’t set out to lead a movement. But that’s where he ended up. Here’s how a regular guy found he had the power to change the world…

So many of us have good ideas for helping the world. But we tuck our ideas away. I did. I’d tell myself that if the idea were any good someone else would have already done it. That I’m not capable of making a difference. I’d sit on my ideas, get on with my “life,” and then feel angry at the world because the problems I cared about didn’t get solved.

I had that fear of going first.

Then I took my first hapless step into what I call accidental activism. In 2006, I started a project where I lived as environmentally as possible for a year—with my little family, on the ninth floor of an apartment building in the middle of New York City—to attract attention to the world’s environmental, economic, and quality of life crises.

I had no experience as an activist. Yet suddenly my project caught fire.

My book and film, both titled No Impact Man, ended up being translated into 20-plus languages. Some philanthropists appeared and offered me funding to hire consultants to get off the ground. About 20,000 people have now participated in our educational immersion program, No Impact Week.

And how have I felt through all this? Like a deer in the headlights.


This is an advance preview from our Spring 2011 issue.


Special Offer: A year of YES! for just $15, plus a FREE issue.

Can Animals Save Us?, the Spring 2011 issue of YES! Magazine
  A New American Revolution…  

Madison Protest. Protest in Madison over Budget repair bill. Photo by Peter Gorman.

We're just trying to have a society here
The Best Protest Signs
in Madison

photo icon

Sarah van Gelder on events in Wisconsin

An American Uprising?

It took awhile, but Wisconsin shows that the poor and middle class of the U.S. may be ready to push back. Madison may be only the beginning.

YES! Executive Editor Sarah van Gelder on why the uprising that swept Tunisia, Egypt, and parts of Europe is showing signs of blossoming across the United States.


:: Wisconsin: Solidarity Among Workers …
And Football Players

As Wisconsin’s public workers fight to keep their wages and bargaining rights, they’re joined by others involved in a labor struggle: their Super Bowl champion neighbors.

  What’s New Online  

Part of a buy local campaign Asheville, North Carolina. Photo by Alicia Pimental. Xtracycle, Photo by Todd Fahrner. Money Behind Health Care. Photo by Jared Rodriguez, Mt. Shasta, Photo by Jill Clar

5 Ways to Help Your Community Go Local
Buy Independent and Buy Local campaigns have a big effect. Here’s how you can reap the benefits for your local economy.

How to Be a Car-Free Family
Think having kids means you need a car? Think again.

A Better Approach to Health Care
As the current health law comes under attack and our national deficit grows, single-payer plans are gaining more and more interest.

Corporate Control? Not in These Communities
Can local laws have a real effect on the power of giant corporations?

  Looking ahead to Summer…  

  Jail. Photo:
YES! We Can Reinvent a Failed Prison System
Our editorial team is already looking ahead to issue #58 of YES!, when the magazine will grapple with how to solve the U.S.’s prison problem. We’ll explore replacing our system of punishment, exclusion, and racial profiling with one that restores health and community, and fosters everyone’s capacity to care for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Find out what the YES! team is planning and let us know your suggestions or tips for this issue.
                                          LEARN MORE

Join the Readers Panel and help choose the next cover of YES! Magazine


  Did you miss…  

YES! Email Newsletter archive Highlights from the last newsletter:

:: Why the Kings of Bhutan Ride Bicycles
When you start measuring progress by the happiness of the people and the quality of the environment, the oddest things happen.

:: Let It Snow: The ABCs of Winter Biking  
Tips for winter riding from the coldest big city in America.

:: Radical Homemaking  
You don’t need much cash if you can make, barter, or share the things your family needs.

YES! Magazine logo
  How to Get More YES! 
Get the No Impact Man book for FREE when you become a Dedicated Friend of YES!
when you sign up as a Dedicated Friend of YES! for as little as $5/month

Get a year of YES! Magazine for just $15.

17 rules to help you build a thriving and sustainable community.
YES! Poster: Wendell Berry's 17 Rules for a Sustainable Community

“We had no other alternative.”

Poet Wendell Berry Sitting In with
Wendell Berry

Midway through his four-day sit-in in the Kentucky governor’s office, Wendell Berry spoke to Jeff Biggers about the heartbreak in mountaintop removal mining.
  People Power 

The crowd in Egypt's Tahrir (Liberation) Square on February 8. Photo by Mona Thank You, Egypt
An American organizer on Egypt’s lessons in people power.

In Egypt, Something Rare and Remarkable
Egyptian man and child. Photo by Mathilde Normolle From Cairo, a first-person account of the way Egyptians supported and protected one another during the historic protests that led to the departure of President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt: Lessons in Democracy
Could 2011 be to the Arab world what 1989 was to Eastern Europe?

  Web Picks  

Video Image from the TED Talk by Van Jones VIDEO

The Economic Injustice of Plastic
TED Talk: Van Jones on how plastic unfairly harms the poor’and what the rest of us can do about it.

Image from Annie Leonard's The Story of Citizens Utd vs FEC
The Story of Citizens United v. FEC
How we the people can reclaim our democracy: Annie Leonard offers 5 Ways to Fight Citizens Utd.

“Whether your passion is protecting the environment or creating green jobs or improving public education—or really any other issue on which corporate interests are blocking real solutions—this is your campaign too.”

Become a Dedicated Friend of YES! with a monthly donation of $5 or more, and you’ll receive 2 thank-you gifts, Colin Beavan's 'No Impact Man' book and the Pete Seeger DVD 'The Power of Song', a subscription to YES! Magazine, and much more… Sign Up Today.
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