The Story of Stuff

Thanks to Urbandharma.org‘s Buddhist Economics /Voluntary Simplicity page for tipping us off to this wonderful, fast-paced 20 minute video by Annie Leonard that “looks at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.”

Annie tells what inspired her to make The Story of Stuff: “I started looking into the trash each morning to see what was in those never-ending piles. ..Once I realized they were nearly half paper – were once forests – I was determined to find out where they were going. So I took a trip to the infamous Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. Coving 4.6 square miles (12 square km), Fresh kills, is one of the largest dumps in the world. When it was officially closed in 2001, some say its volume was greater than that of the Great Wall of China; it’s peaks 25 meters taller than the Statue of Liberty. I had never seen anything like it. I stood at its edge in absolute awe. As far as I could see in every direction were couches, refrigerators, boxes, apple cores, used clothes, stuff. You know how a gory car crash scene makes us want to turn away and stare at the same time? That is what it was like. I just couldn’t comprehend this massive mountain of materials, reduced to muck, by some system obviously out of control. I knew this was terribly wrong. I didn’t understand it back then, 20 years ago, but I vowed to figure it out. And I did. It’s the Story of Stuff.

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