The Story of Stuff

Bill Brooks who is building his own tiny house brought this to my attention on Facebook the other day and I thought it was very educational and that you might enjoy it.

What is the Story of Stuff?

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.

The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

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Moon Tree Ranch (kevin) - November 17, 2009 Reply

This movie should be played to every elementary school aged child on the planet each year until they graduate. Then as they transition into the “economy” they should have a balanced view for sustainability.

Michael O'Leary - November 17, 2009 Reply

This movie is perhaps one of the most socialist bits of propaganda I have ever seen. I completely support the freedom to express opinions surrounding individual interpretations of the current economic / social conditions. What causes me such concern is that: a) this is clearly geared to children, who will not be able to understand the difference between propaganda and fact based, well rounded educational content; b) no counterpoint is likely to be produced and shown in the school system at the same time.

From a strictly fact based assessment this production leaves a lot to be desired. I am a loud proponent of stable and sustainable economic and environmental practices, but indoctrinating our children with this video isn’t going to get us there.

Epperson - November 17, 2009 Reply

This video can easily be debunked by people who’ve been reading for a very long time. In short, it’s pure B.S. for anyone who’s bothered to study Economic Theory, Political Science and Philosophy.

What this video teaches is Collectivism, not fiscal responsibility.

Jan - November 17, 2009 Reply

If you watch this video; also have a look ‘The Story of Stuff – The Critique’ videos on You Tube… not everything what Annie says is true. I have to agree with Michael’s comment.

Ilana - November 18, 2009 Reply

I must step up and disagree with Michael and Epperson ( I appreciate that this blog allows comments that do not agree with the content – great job! )

I received my degrees in Natural Resources and Environmental Education from University of Michigan in 1982. The info used in this video is correct, and can be verified.

However, that said…I would like to suggest that we not depend upon books or videos to come to conclusions about the situation. Instead, take a close look at your real life – what you see and experience directly. Make the effort to follow where your stuff goes, where it came from, how it got there, and the real physical consequences of ever increasing consumption and the production to supply this consumption.

Also, it’s obvious to anyone paying attention that governments must respond to corporate demands in order to remain in power. Corporations took over government years ago, and the New World Order already exists – but again, don’t take my word for it. Do your own diligence! The point is, corporations depend on consumption and exist to maximize the “bottom line” (profit). Therefore, our governments now depend upon the same things, and exist for the same reasons, as corporations.

Thanks again for creating this fantastic blog, and allowing freedom of expression and exchange of ideas ūüôā

PS – I was going to say that Tiny House living is one of the most effective ways I have found to reduce my consumption, while increasing my quality of life!

Real Life Loser - November 21, 2009 Reply

Great video. To be honest, even the way I watched the video bears out it’s truth in some way. As the video opened and she was holding her iPod I thought,”She doesn’t listen to an iPod…her clothes look like they are from the last decade.” Lo and behold, the video discusses that very thing…how our critic (judgment) of one another drives consumption.

Here’s another fact: my wife and I struggle to know what to do on a “date night.” This is sad but true! Once so content to go on walks or play a board game, we now find ourselves in the pattern of driving a few towns away, having a “nice” meal, then shopping. Often we don’t buy anything, because really, we need NOTHING. But we still go through the ritual. This has been bugging me for some time, and this video puts words to my senses of things.

Lastly, I worked in Information Technology for several years, and I can affirm the fact that all this technology has built-in obsolescence. At one time it became a running joke around our office to the extent that we had started posting signs that read: “Failure is not an option…it’s designed into the software.” to mock the famous Apollo 11 creed. We all thought it was pretty funny until our boss realized the reality of the truth we were proclaiming. And we all wanted good paying jobs so we took the signs down.

I am not a left-wing socialist who drank the kool-aid, I’m a human, who senses at a deep level that something is failing in our system of life…and it is us. As someone else has said above, don’t take someone else’s word for it, examine your life. Is it really worth living?

Brad Carlisle - February 28, 2010 Reply

Michael and Epperson, You guys are exactly right .

Dustin Townsend - April 9, 2010 Reply

This video is full of lies and is pushing a political agenda! I can’t believe that rational minded people could watch this and actually agree with it.

The part of the video that really gets me is when she tells us that the governments job is to watch out for us and take care of us. She then repeats “that’s their job!”.

It makes me sick to see a video blaming the problems on the evil corporations and then trying to make the government out to be the savior of everything. The reality is the government is the problem. The government and evil corporations are one in the same.

I think the sustainable movement would be better off without the government putting their nose into it. Government is driven by money and power. If you have money…you can get whatever you want from the government…that is the real problem.
Look at the EPA’s approval of ethanol even though their own study said it was worst for the environment than normal fuel.

If we continue to give more power to government and continue building a society that has a sense of entitlements, we can all kiss sustainability good bye. The reality is that sustainability will not come from the government (it doesn’t benefit the government), sustainability comes from the individual. The individual needs to learn personal responsibility (not entitlement).

Next time you decide to promote a video, I’d suggest that you check out the organizations (and who runs them) that are behind the production of the video. Trust me, their agenda is not to create a sustainability movement.

TK - February 20, 2011 Reply
This is a response to the “Story of Stuff” video above which is propaganda intended to frighten Americans into granting the government even more power over our lives, with a commensurate reduction in individual liberty. Okay maybe the voice-over is a little over-the-top strident but it’s good to hear a critical view.

MidSouthMitch - September 11, 2013 Reply

There are SO many inaccuracies in this propaganda piece by a Berkley Prof. Leonard. Like the supposed de-forestation of the US- With no mention of forest management & replanting (acres consumed vs. replanted. That’s just one small part.

The looney left blames EVERYTHING on capitalism and this is just an anti-capitalism hit piece.

While there is some truth presented in “Stuff”- its NOT all true. Much like Gores “Inconvenient Truth” where there are several blatant falsehoods presented as fact. Not to mention the incredibly obvious hypocrisy of Gore’s lifestyle vs. his message.

Greed & selfishness are the most powerful vices and can be found in EVERY socioeconomic scenario- Including socialism/communism.

“Stuff” is worth viewing as a lens to each of our own motivations- But one cannot trust its political accuracy.

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