In December 2007, Annie Leonard and her friends at Free Range Studios put a 20-minute movie about the way we make, use, and throw away Stuff on the internet, unleashing a torrent of pent-up demand for honest conversation about the impacts of our consumer-crazed culture on people and the planet. In the five years since The Story of Stuff was released, Annie’s ‘cartoon about trash’ has been viewed more than 30 million times worldwide.
Annie responded to viewers’ thirst for more information and ways to get involved by founding The Story of Stuff Project in 2008. Since then, they have released a best-selling book, co-created a high school-level educational curricula called Buy, Use, Toss, developed a study program for faith communities, and launched a hope-filled podcast series called The Good Stuff that chronicles the efforts of everyday changemakers.
They have also created a series of online movies: the first series used everyday consumer products to take a deeper look at where our Stuff comes from and where it goes when we throw it away, and the second season examined the underlying roots of our unsustainable production and consumption patterns: what makes the system tick, who pays, who benefits and how can we turn it around.
Now, having helped millions around the world understand and talk about the Story of Stuff, they have begun a collaborative pursuit of Solutions with the nearly 500,000 worldwide members of our Community. Soon they are planning to launch community-generated and fueled campaigns to reduce plastic pollution, grow the sharing economy and end political corruption as well as offering Community members an innovative online Boot Camp aimed at helping them strengthen and flex their citizen muscles.
Below you’ll find 6 videos, released by the team of “The Story Of Stuff Project” over the span of nearly six years. The first video introduces the core problem we are facing today, and the rest of them lead us on a journey towards a game changing vision.
For more info and to take action, please visit their website.
The Story of Stuff
The Story of Stuff, originally released in December 2007, is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the Stuff in your life forever.
The Story of Bottled Water
The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day), employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows virtually free from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call for viewers to make a personal commitment to avoid bottled water and support public investment in clean, available tap water for all.
The Story of Cosmetics
The Story of Cosmetics, released on July 21, 2010, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. The seven-minute film reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.
The Story of Electronics
The Story of Electronics, released in November 2011, employs the Story of Stuff style to explore the high-tech revolution’s collateral damage—25 million tons of e-waste and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill. Host Annie Leonard takes viewers from the mines and factories where our gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up. The film concludes with a call for a green ‘race to the top’ where designers compete to make long-lasting, toxic-free products that are fully and easily recyclable.
The Story of Cap & Trade
The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill. Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the “devils in the details” in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from whats really required to tackle the climate crisis. If youve heard about Cap & Trade, but arent sure how it works (or who benefits), this is the movie is for you.
The Story of Broke
The United States isn’t broke; we’re the richest country on the planet and a country in which the richest among us are doing exceptionally well. But the truth is, our economy is broken, producing more pollution, greenhouse gasses and garbage than any other country. In these and so many other ways, it just isn’t working. But rather than invest in something better, we continue to keep this ‘dinosaur economy’ on life support with hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money. The Story of Broke calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions—renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more—that can deliver jobs AND a healthier environment. It’s time to rebuild the American Dream; but this time, let’s build it better.
The Story of Change
Over the past several decades, many environmental and social change efforts have come to reflect the centrality of shopping in our culture, suggesting change can be made—or is even best made—through alterations in our individual consumption patterns. These efforts—buy Fair Trade or organic, use a reusable bag, screw in a CFL lightbulb—are a great place to start, but they are a terrible place to stop, ignoring the real source of our power: coming together as engaged citizens.
In The Story of Change, released in July 2012, Annie Leonard argues that it’s not bad shoppers who are putting our future at risk; it’s bad policies and business practices. If we really want to change the world, we have to move beyond voting with our dollars and come together to demand rules that work.
Annie takes viewers through an inspiring exploration of what effective changemaking has looked like through history—from Gandhi in India to the US Civil Rights movement to the environmental victories of the 1970s—and shares the things you’ll find whenever people get together and change the world: a big idea, a commitment to working together, and a whole lot of action. She also let’s viewers know that making change will take all kinds of people, offers a series of changemaker identities and ends the movie with a question for viewers: Which are you?
The Story of Citizens United v. Fec
An exploration of the inordinate power that corporations exercise in our democracy.
6. The Story of Solutions
The Story of Solutions, released in October 2013, explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal. In the current ‘Game of More’, we’re told to cheer a growing economy – more roads, more malls, more Stuff! – even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting. But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn’t more, but better – better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet? Shouldn’t that be what winning means?