Story of Stuff

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The Story of Stuff is a video I heard about two years ago that I thought Al Gore was behind. The problem I had with it is the same thing critics complain about in Wikipedia’s description below: that it is anti-American and unrealistic in scope.

Although the concept of cleaning up the earth and controlling our obsession for stuff is a good idea, the way this topic is discussed with children all over the world is not good.  Their manner makes America look bad for having stuff and for having money to buy stuff. It is NOT their right to re-educate our children to make them believe as they do, no matter how committed they are to their vision for the world.

The problem with the “LEFT” and their Progressive agenda is that it is unrealistic and utopia thinking.  Their heads are in the clouds, believing that their philosophy is a good way for all to live if they could fix man’s thinking by forcing their way of thinking on to our children. Through them, parents attitudes can be changed.

To a degree, their way can be a good plan but not when the world isn’t ready for such ways — as their way of making it real is through One World Order.  This is wrong thinking because it is done by force or servitude to those in power to control people. God has given us “free will” to make our own choices (between good and evil and right from wrong) and to be accountable and responsible for those choices.

Although God wants us to make the right choice, He allows us to make that choice without force. This example is one that the “LEFT” should follow.

Below is information gained from Wikipedia for you to investigate this point further for yourself.

The Story of Stuff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Story of Stuff
The Story of Stuff.jpg
Directed by Louis Fox
Produced by Erica Priggen
Narrated by Annie Leonard[1]
Editing by Braelan Murray
Release date(s)
  • December 4, 2007 (Online)
Running time 20 minutes
Language English

The Story of Stuff is a short polemical[2] animated documentary about the lifecycle of material goods. The documentary is critical of excessive consumerismand promotes sustainability.

Filmmaker Annie Leonard wrote and narrated the film, which was funded by Tides Foundation, Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, Free Range Studios and other foundations.[3] Free Range Studios also produced the documentary,[4] which was first launched online on December 4, 2007.[5]

The documentary is being used in elementary schools, arts programs, and economics classes as well as places of worship and corporate sustainability trainings.[2] By February 2009, it had been seen in 228 countries and territories.[6] According to the Los Angeles Times as of July 2010, the film had been translated into 15 languages and had been viewed by over 12 million people.[1]


The 20-minute video presents a critical vision of consumerist society, primarily American. It purports to expose “the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.”[7] The video is divided into seven chapters: Introduction,ExtractionProductionDistributionConsumptionDisposal, and Another Way.

The video divides up the materials economy into a system composed of extractionproductiondistributionconsumption, and disposal. To articulate the problems in the system, Leonard adds people, the government, and corporations.

Leonard’s thesis, “you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely” is supported throughout the video by statistical data. Although the video itself doesn’t give attribution to her information, the producers provide an annotated script[8] that includes footnotes with explanations and sources for some of her assertions:

  • “… more than 50% of our federal tax money is now going to the military…” She cites the War Resisters League website, which differs from government reports that put the figure at around 20-25%;[9] WRL explains the difference in that it doesn’t count trust funds like Social Security (since this revenue is not obtained directly from income taxes), considers veterans benefits as part of “past military” spending, and includes 80% of the debt interest payments under the rationale that most debt would have been avoidable with reduced military spending.[10]
  • “Of the 100 largest economies on Earth now, 51 are corporations.” She cites Anderson & Cavanagh (2000),[11] which bases this claim on the 1999 figures of GDP and corporate sales as reported byFortune[12] and the World Development Report 2000.
  • “We [The U.S.] have 5% of the world’s population but we’re consuming 30% of the world’s resources and creating 30% of the world’s waste.” She cites Seitz (2001), who says, “…in 1990 the United States, with about 5 percent of the world’s population, was using about one-quarter of the energy being used by all nations.”[13] and a chapter in Global Environmental Issues that puts the US production of waste at around 10 billion tons per year before the turn of the millennium.[14]
  • “80% of the planet’s original forests are gone.” She cites the Natural Resources Defense Council website, which says that only about 20% of the world’s original wilderness forests remain.[15] and the website for the Rainforest Action Network.[16]
  • “Forty percent of waterways in the US have become undrinkable.” She cites a source which she quotes in a footnote as actually having said, “Today, 40 percent of our nation’s rivers are unfishable, unswimmable, or undrinkable”.[17]
  • “In the Amazon alone, we’re losing 2000 trees a minute.” She cites de Seve (2002), which puts the Amazon deforestation rate in 1995 at 5 million acres (20,000 km2) a year.
  • “Each of us in the U.S. is targeted with more than 3,000 advertisements a day.” This particular figure comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics[18] which itself cites a 1999 Albuquerque Journalarticle by columnist Ellen Goodman[19] on a figure of 3,000 ads viewed by young Americans on television, the internet, billboards, and magazines.[20] Despite the specific wording of this article (“The average young person views more than 3000 ads per day…”), Annie Leonard specifies that she is referring to ads targeted, not necessarily viewed.
  • “Each of us in the United States makes 412 pounds [ 2.04 kg ] of garbage a day.” She cites the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website, which states that 245.7 million tons of municipal solid waste was produced in 2005.[21] Taylor & Morrissey (2004:247) reiterates this figure.
  • Dioxin is the most toxic man made substance known to science. And incinerators are the number one source of dioxin.” She cites Mocarelli et al.[22]

Leonard also quotes what Victor Lebow said in 1955 regarding economic growth:

“Our enormously productive economy… demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption… we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.”[23]


The Story of Stuff has been subject to public discussion, especially after The New York Times published a front page article about the video on May 10, 2009.[24] The American Family Association says that the video is anti-consumer, and even anti-American because the video implies that Americans are greedy, selfish, cruel to the third world, and “use more than our share.” Glenn Beck, host of the Glenn Beck TV program on Fox News, characterized the video as an “anti-capitalist tale that unfortunately has virtually no facts correct.”[25] Beck’s website used a detailed critique made by Lee Doren of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in his “How the World Works” YouTube channel. said that “some of the scariest figures” cited “are misleading or just plain wrong.”[26]

Even before The New York Times article, The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook pointed to The Story of Stuff as a successful portrayal of the problems with the consumption cycle,[27] and Greyson (2008) says it is an engaging attempt to communicate circular economics. Ralph Nader called the film “a model of clarity and motivation.”[28] John Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace, called it a “mega-hit on three levels”.[28] Kevin Hansen, of PierreTerre Productions, incorrectly predicted that the film would win an Academy Award.[28]

Libertarian and politically conservative critics have characterized the documentary as misleading left-wing propaganda; one Montana school board opposed the screening of the film in a biology classroom in a 4–3 vote.[29][30][31] The subsequent public outcry against this decision led to a rewrite of the school board’s policy and an award for the teacher who screened the film. [32]

[edit]See also


  1. a b Roosevelt, Margot (July 13, 2010). “Teaching ‘stuff’ about ecology”Los Angeles Times.
  2. a b “Studying “Stuff” Examining “The Story of Stuff” with a Critical Eye”The New York Times. May 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  3. ^ “Film Biography”. Retrieved 2009-09-29.[dead link]
  4. ^ “Movie Credits”. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  5. ^ “The Story of Stuff International”. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  6. ^ Paul Tern, The Story of Stuff Gets Bigger – And Better!, 17 February 2009,
  7. ^ “The Story of Stuff”. 2008-07-28.
  8. ^ “Story Of Stuff, Referenced and Annotated Script”.
  9. ^ Citizen’s Guide to the Federal Budget,
  10. ^ Where Your Income Tax money really Goes,
  11. ^ itself a revised edition of Anderson & Cavanagh (1996)
  12. ^ Fortune Magazine, July 31, 2000.
  13. ^ Seitz (2001:120)
  14. ^ Taylor & Morrissey (2004:247)
  15. ^ The Canadian Boreal Forest, National resources Defense Council
  16. ^ Rainforest Action Network
  17. ^ Facts from The Story of Stuff
  18. ^ American Academy of Pediatrics (2006), “Committee on Communications Policy Statement: children, adolescents, and advertising”, Pediatrics 118 (6): 2563–2569, doi:10.1542/peds.2006-2698PMID 17142547
  19. ^ cited as Goodman, Ellen (June 27), “Ads pollute most everything in sight”, Albuquerque Journal: C3
  20. ^ See here for a list of concerns with this particular statement
  21. ^ Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2005 Facts and Figures
  22. ^ Mocarelli, Paolo; Gerthoux, Pier Mario; Ferrari, Enrica; Patterson, Donald G. Jr; Kieszak, Stephanie; Brambilla, Paolo; Vincoli, Nicoletta; Signorini, Stefano et al. (2000), “Paternal concentrations of dioxin and sex ratio of offspring”, The Lancet 355 (9218): 1858–1863, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)02290-XPMID 10866441 More than one of |last1= and |last= specified (help); More than one of|first1= and |first= specified (help);
  23. ^ “”Price Competition in 1955″, Victor Lebow”. 2008-07-28.
  24. ^ Leslie Kaufman, A Cautionary Video About America’s ‘Stuff’, The New York Times, May 10, 2009
  25. ^ Debunking Story of Stuff, Glennbeck,com, September 22, 2009
  26. ^ Viral Video ‘The Story of Stuff’ Is Full of Misleading Numbers,, May 14, 2009
  27. ^ Wirtenberg, Russell & Lipsky (2008:62)
  28. a b c Larry Menkes (2007-12-27). “The Story of Stuff Premiers to Rave Reviews: Proves Value as Relocalization Tool”.
  29. ^ Viral Video ‘The Story of Stuff’ Is Full of Misleading Numbers, Fox News, May 14, 2009
  30. ^ Jesse Froehling, The Politics of Stuff, Missoula Independent, February 19, 2009
  31. ^ Missoula School Board Bans Story of Stuff, Yes! March 11, 2009
  32. ^ Michael Moore (2009-09-12). “Big Sky teacher who showed ‘Story of Stuff’ earns EcoDareDevil Award”The Missoulian. Retrieved 2010-07-17.

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