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Reading Response of The Year without Toilet Paper Essay

The Year without Toilet Paper is the article published in The New York Times by Penelope Green. The article is based on the real life experience of the family who decided to support the environmentalists’ ideas.

The Conlin-Beavan family answers the question about the source of inspiration making them adhere to the environmentalism thoughts and tells the readers about the reasons of their choices in their day to day life. The family does their best to make the contribution in the reduction of pollution caused by carbon fuel (“The Year without”, n.pag.). They restricted the range of everyday products, which remain typical for every household, including even the toilet paper.

The purpose of Green’s essay is to present a real life case to the public by showing the decisions made by the New York family in their day to day life in order to make their own contribution for the Earth nature preservation and the preventing of global climate changes.

The author of the article aimed at making us understand that the environmental decisions are made not only in the frameworks of formal agreements at the level of governments and environmental organizations such as Green Peace but also that they are made by not indifferent ordinal megalopolis families aware of the environmental movement. They use their life experiment to tell people how to go green and how we can protect our environment.

The Colin-Beavan family is composed of three members: the father, who is a books writer, the mother, who is also a writer working at Business Week and their two-year old daughter (“The Year without”, n.pag.). The pair adhered to the principles of the environmental friendly lifestyle presented in the book No Impact (“The Year without”, n.pag.).

They have already managed to go green for one year having found the substitutes for the harmful products and services which directly or indirectly cause the pollution. Mr Beavan tells that they make bread themselves; they do not use plugged refrigerator; they use box to replace metal tube for trash; the spices have been completely excluded from their daily ration except for salt, they do not use elevator and, last but not least, they eat vegetables in 250-miles radius of Manhattan (“The Year without”, n.pag.).

No doubt, the readers wonder how they managed to do that and for what. The answer is straightforward: the family does not use any carbon fueled vehicle and it is hard to walk the distance more than 250 miles (“The Year without”, n.pag.). The family decided even to include the toilet paper to their restricted list. Mr Beavan explains that they substituted it for bowls of water and air drying (“The Year without”, n.pag.).

In my opinion, the environmentalists’ way of life given as an example by the Colin-Beavan family is too strict and not all people will find it suitable for themselves. Although the article has made a huge impact on me and my vision of social responsibility, I consider the presented experience as striking.

To my mind, it will, undoubtedly, shake the public opinion. In addition, it should be said that the carbon fuel plays a very important role in our society and we should be able to go a hard way for its complete replacing with substitutes. Thanks to the activity of environmental organizations and the researchers on this topic, the discovery and development of these substitutes are not impossible and the mankind will eventually find a solution.

Frankly speaking, I am not a kind of person who can follow the experience of the Colin-Beavan family and I will not ready to exclude any of my daily living essentials at the moment. Perhaps, I will not be able to adhere to the environmentalists’ lifestyle. Nevertheless, I respect their ideas and the hard work for nature protection.

Works Cited

Green, Penelope. ” The Year without Toilet Paper.” The New York Times 22 March 2007: n.pag. NY Times. Web.

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Morales, B. (2019, June 21). Reading Response of The Year without Toilet Paper [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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Morales, Brett. "Reading Response of The Year without Toilet Paper." IvyPanda, 21 June 2019,

1. Brett Morales. "Reading Response of The Year without Toilet Paper." IvyPanda (blog), June 21, 2019.


Morales, Brett. "Reading Response of The Year without Toilet Paper." IvyPanda (blog), June 21, 2019.


Morales, Brett. 2019. "Reading Response of The Year without Toilet Paper." IvyPanda (blog), June 21, 2019.


Morales, B. (2019) 'Reading Response of The Year without Toilet Paper'. IvyPanda, 21 June.

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