Nature and Environment

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A Look at Our Materials Economy: One Stuffy System

7/11/2008 4:38:42 PM

Tags: production, distribution, consumption, waste, sustainability, toxins, natural resources, pollution

During a conversation about all the cool, exciting things going on in our country right now, a friend told me about this amazing video. It makes me want to cry, yell and dance all within 20 minutes. In The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard provides a simple, well-researched explanation of why our materials economy is problematic: a linear system of producing and consuming stuff on a finite planet wastes resources and communities. What began as a post-World War II strategy of boosting the economy has haphazardly evolved into a destructive monster. For example, so many chemicals go in and out of our stuff that even human breast milk contains toxic contaminants. Because identity and value are now determined by how we contribute to the process of consumption, people are stuck either running on the exploitive work-watch-spend treadmill or powering it.

Yes, it’s depressing. But the fascinating part is that there is another way! Because this is a man-made system, we have the power to change it with a new school of thinking based on sustainability.

The production of the computer you’re using right now affected somebody somewhere. For a new view of your stuff, please watch The Story of Stuff.

If you can’t spare 20 minutes, you can get started with these convenient clips divided by chapter.



Chapter One: Introduction


Chapter Two: Extraction


Chapter Three: Production


Chapter Four: Distribution


Chapter Five: Consumption


Chapter Six: Disposal


Chapter Seven: Another Way



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Post a comment below.

 

Susan_3
8/19/2008 11:00:41 AM
All very true. However, it is "preaching to the choir". I wonder if some of the assumptions stated should be argued for the unconvinced and some of the inflammatory words should be gentled a bit. Arguments targeted to the unconvinced need to be a tad more supported by data (the impacts on people, which are very true and tragic. Unfortunately the video would have to be a full hour and a half Science Channel number to do what I have in mind. I do spend some time talking with the unconvinced, and if you cut to the chase without all the supporting info, the reaction tends to be "bull...." Thanks for the nice work, I will think up something else to do today other than shopping (except to get some items repaired and order parts for something else that I can re-use.) Susan

RYWN.
8/19/2008 9:10:33 AM
I happened to watch these videos before hand when a Bio teacher sent it to me, and just the facts presented make me livid. the continuous cycle of consumption and consumerism isn't only detrimental to the earth itself, but to the well-being of the people, in such way that kids (and most adults) are overweight, psychological problems are being identified in everyone young to old (most likely brought upon through the feeling of self-worthlessness brought upon by mass advertising), etc. etc. Unfortunately, the list goes on. Anyways, the videos are really eye-opening, and it'd be nice if the silent majority would start to wake up.

RYWN.
8/19/2008 9:09:57 AM
I happened to watch these videos before hand when a Bio teacher sent it to me, and just the facts presented make me livid. the continuous cycle of consumption and consumerism isn't only detrimental to the earth itself, but to the well-being of the people, in such way that kids (and most adults) are overweight, psychological problems are being identified in everyone young to old (most likely brought upon through the feeling of self-worthlessness brought upon by mass advertising), etc. etc. Unfortunately, the list goes on. Anyways, the videos are really eye-opening, and it'd be nice if the silent majority would start to wake up.

spd
8/18/2008 10:59:47 PM
Haven't seen this due to a slow internet connection, but what has been worrying me for sometime has been this need to make "things" that we don't really need or that are such bad quality they fall apart (or down!) ... toys that are junk (i live in Cambodia and there is an abundance of plastic toys - all sorts of things actually that last all of 2 mins and are then discarded), even buildings that are built to last about 10 years and then as trends change, and because of bad quaility are destroyed. It makes me shudder to think of all the resources wasted in producing something that is of no value. I live in a rural area that is beautiful but recently iron ore has been identified as financially viable to extract, so now this area will be destroyed just to produce this extra steel to build these buildings that will last for 10 years ... and so the story continues... rambling here... but you get the point!

SBLACK
8/3/2008 5:11:33 PM
Everyone should see this. It really makes you understand what we are doing to our planet and makes you want to put a stop to it.










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