Whilst working at a community reuse centre this TreeHugger use to go into schools to educate kids on water, energy, waste, and biodiversity by helping them prepare their own 'EcoSnapShot' of their school. In our briefing on waste we asked kids where stuff came from, and where it went to. As they answered we'd pull out a model tree, factory, etc, and line up the linear Take-Make-Waste system that drives our economy.
Annie Leonard uses a strikingly similar approach in her The Story Of Stuff video to discuss extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. Except she draws upon the excellent animation skills of Free Range Studios, known for their previous iconic, socially-minded, web-based films such as The Meatrix" and Grocery Store Wars.
Released in the past couple of weeks to coincide with Christmas holiday season, during which Americans are predicted to spent $474.5 billion, the 20 minute movie also asks viewers to dwell on how their stuff gets to them, and whence it will go (noting that 99% of all product purchases head to the landfill within 6 months of being bought.)This energetic and engaging movie covers so much ground in such a short space of time your head might spin a bit. But Annie, with 20 years of background in the field, explains elaborate concepts so well that even kids will benefit from a viewing. Annie as Coordinator of the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, pulls no punches, she rattles the cage, and calls a spade a spade, to mix a few metaphors! Grab a fair-traded, organic-grown egg nog and sit down to watch it yourself. Entertainment and education in the one package.
And when you're done, delve into the website, which is laded with fact sheets, an annotated script, a glossary, a reading list, and also a list of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working to improve the model. Our sister site, Planet Green, have excerpted, from the 'stuff' site, a checklist of 10 useful actions that viewers can under undertake. ::The Story Of Stuff, as previously noted in our own Blog Love
See also the great little book: Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everday Things.