The Story of Stuff

Have you seen The Story of Stuff yet? You can watch a teaser below, but I urge you to watch the full version here

What is it, you ask? It’s a 20-minute film that’s a provocative look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns; about “all our stuff–where it comes from and where it goes when we throw it away.”

If that sounds boring, it’s not. It’s really well-done, easy to understand, and in many places, eye-opening. Yes, it’s 20 minutes long – short for a film, but long to watch off the side of your desk – but I got so absorbed I wasn’t even tempted to shut it down. If you are, you can navigate through it so you don’t watch the whole thing. Or watch it on your lunch break.

It’s narrarated by Annie Leonard, an activist who has spent the past 10 years traveling the globe fighting environmental threats: 

Leonard examines the real costs of extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal, and she isolates the moment in history where she says the trend of consumption mania began. The Story of Stuff examines how economic policies of the post-World War II era ushered in notions of “planned obsolescence” and “perceived obsolescence” — and how these notions are still driving much of the U.S. and global economies today. 

I try to practice sustainable principles in my daily life, but consuming less is a constant struggle for me. Hell, I have a category called “Retail Therapy”! The Story of Stuff is a great reminder that consuming comes with a cost beyond the check-out till.

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