I know very little about Annie Leonard but she made this video about our rampant consumerism and it is a trenchant must-see. It first came out in 2007 – and is more relevant than ever. A very simple format: it’s essentially a 20 min animation/lecture about the nature of the global systems we thoughtlessly exploit and the realities of our dwindling global resources. I found the quotes from post-2 World War economists particularly chilling.

Here’s the first bit. Click on the banner (right) to get to the website and see the rest.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. One solution that works great for us is to split ownership of many items and share them through a kind of checkout system. Often items are necessary but used only once a week or less. Why should everybody in the neighborhood own the same things that they rarely use? It’s a form of consumerism the experts call “excess capacity”.

  2. I was thinking about showing part of “The Story of Stuff” in church this weekend, but in checking online, some of the critiques (while clearly coming from a fairly extreme right wing US standpoint) suggest that her statistics are a bit over the top. eg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5uJgG05xUY&feature=fvw

    Also, there is an interesting “search for Victor Lebow” – the source of the particularly chilling quote which you allude to above. It seems he was quite an obscure figure, whose one quote has been repeated frequently without refeerence to the original source. There is some question over whether the original article was promoting consumerism or simply reporting (and even implicitly critiquing it). Not quite as Machiavellian as Annie leonard suggests. The fullest article is at http://www.whatdoino-steve.blogspot.com/2007/12/victor-lebows-complete-original-1955.html

    In spite of this, I still think that her basic message stands – it’s just that the video itself may need to come with a warning. (Apparently, according to the link above, it is shown widely in US schools)

  3. thanks for the links and comments, Hugh. I’m sure you’re right about the basic message…

    1. Just to say that I did show chapter 5 – on consumption – in church as part of a sermon on John the Baptist and his message, and it seemed to have quite an impact. thank you for linking to it, and for your blog in general, which I find stimulating, informative, and entertaining.

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