Hippies (and everyone else) should read Elizabeth Kolbert’s “Green like me” in the New Yorker. The author of a great book on climate change called Field Notes from a Catastrophe, Kolbert reviews the book No Impact Man by Colin Beavan (in which he spends a year trying to “go green”, e.g., by doing without toilet paper) and concludes:

A more honest title for Beavan’s book would have been “Low Impact Man,” and a truly honest title would have been “Not Quite So High Impact Man.” … The real work of “saving the world” goes way beyond the sorts of action that “No Impact Man” is all about.

What’s required is perhaps a sequel. In one chapter, Beavan could take the elevator to visit other families in his apartment building. He could talk to them about how they all need to work together to install a more efficient heating system. In another, he could ride the subway to Penn Station and then get on a train to Albany. Once there, he could lobby state lawmakers for better mass transit. In a third chapter, Beavan could devote his blog to pushing for a carbon tax. Here’s a possible title for the book: “Impact Man.”

PS. I’m working with some folks here in Washington State on an effort to eliminate the state portion of the property tax and replace it with a carbon tax. More details here and here, and email me at yoram@standupeconomist.com if you want to join the fun!