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The Story of Stuff

The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health--And How We Can Make It Better
By: ,
Contributor Role: 
By (author)
Contributor Sequence Number: 
2
Contributor name: 
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Simon & Schuster
 | 
February, 2011
ISBN:
9781451610291
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Banyen's Description: 

We have a problem with Stuff. With just 5 percent of the world’s population, we’re consuming 30 percent of the world’s resources and creating 30 percent of the world’s waste. If everyone consumed at U.S. rates, we would need three to five planets!

This alarming fact drove Annie Leonard to create the 20-minute Internet film The Story of Stuff (storyofstuff.com) which has been viewed over 10 million times by people around the world. In her ground-breaking book of the same name, Leonard tracks the life of the Stuff we use every day—where our cotton T-shirts, laptop computers, and aluminum cans come from, how they are produced, distributed, and consumed, and where they go when we throw them out. Like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, The Story of Stuff is a landmark book that will change the way we think—and the way we live.

Leonard’s message is clear: We have too much Stuff, and too much of it is toxic.  Devoting a chapter to each stage of the life of stuff—extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal—she blends facts, expert testimony and anecdotes from visits to factories, landfills and e-waste recycling facilities to create a vivid account of how waste is connected to disparate aspects of our lives.

Annie reveals the true story behind our possessions—why it’s cheaper to replace a broken TV than to fix it; how the promotion of “perceived obsolescence” encourages us to toss out everything from shoes to cell phones while they’re still in perfect shape; and how factory workers in Haiti, mine workers in Congo, and everyone who lives and works within this system pay for our cheap goods with their health, safety, and quality of life.

Meanwhile we, as consumers, are compromising our health and well-being, whether it’s through neurotoxins in our pillows or lead leaching into our kids’ food from their lunchboxes—and all this Stuff isn’t even making us happier! We work hard so we can buy Stuff that we quickly throw out, and then we want new Stuff so we work harder and have no time to enjoy all our Stuff… With staggering revelations about the economy, the environment, and cultures around the world, alongside stories from her own life and work, Leonard demonstrates that the drive for a “growth at all costs” economy fuels a cycle of production, consumption, and disposal that is, frankly, killing us.

It is a system in crisis, but Annie Leonard shows us that this is not the way things have to be. It’s within our power to stop the environmental damage, social injustice, and health hazards caused by polluting production and excessive consumption, and The Story of Stuff shows us how.  

“Better than anyone before, she is able to explain, with simplicity, humor, and verve, the intrinsic problems of an economic system that destroys the Earth while delivering social and economic chaos. This is must reading for anyone seeking to grasp the interlocking crises of our time, what to do about them, and how to talk about them with others. An educational and organizing tool of the utmost importance.” —Jerry Mander, author of In the Absence of the Sacred

 

 

 

 

 

Publisher’s Description: 

Americans have way too much Stuff , and way too much of it is toxic. Thats the message Annie Leonard has been spreading ever since her college days, and most recently in her short Internet film The Story of Stuff, which has been viewed by over 12 million people. But the film is only the tip of the iceberg.

This astonishing, inspiring book takes her message to an even higher level. In it she outlines the perils of overconsumption as she traces products back to their sources, through their life spans, and forward into their disposal. The Story of Stuff works on all levels as it brings together information on the environment, the economy, and cultures around the world.

With her trademark compassion, curiosity, and playfulness, Leonard gives firsthand accounts of sneaking into dumps and factories around the world; chronicles the lives of Haitian textile workers and Congolese kids working in deadly mines; shows how our health and well-being are compromised by neurotoxins in our pillows and lead in our childrens lunch boxes; and most important, tells us that this is not the way things have to be. She presents concrete steps for taking action that point the way toward saving our health, our communities, and the planet.

From high school kids to their parents in the suburbs, from government officials to people working in corporations, schools, and churches, The Story of Stuff is a life-changing book. Like Rachel Carsons Silent Spring, it will transform the way you think and act.

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