Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wicked Green Wednesday: The Story of Stuff

Have you seen this yet? If you haven't watch it. If you have, watch it again. The story of stuff is a quick paced film with Annie Leonard about the process that takes place so that we can all have the things we want and think we need.

Today being Wicked Green Wednesday made me think that was a perfect time to share this short film and website. This zippy film takes us through the processes of Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption, and Disposal and reminds us that within that linear system there are other important elements: like people, corporation, and LIMITS.

Now, I don't typically like a preachy, in your face, you better do this or we're all going to die kind of documentary. Sure, it may be true, but as I see it that is no way to live. Can't we fix the problem and be happy? Maybe it's idealistic, but if we are living each day in dread is it still living? With that said, this film gets it's point across without being overwhelmingly dark and dreary. So, in that way it also appealed to me.

A couple things that really stick with me after watching this again are the concepts of planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence. The first means that products are designed to be disposable. There are the obvious things like toilet paper and trash bags, but this has begun to get way out of hand. So many items are designed this way including large items like computers and televisions. In the design it is planned that you will need a new one in so many months or years.

Perceived obsolescence is similar, but instead of it breaking or no longer working in the more modern system, we think its no longer good enough. Like our clothing or our cell phone. Our current cell phone probably successfully calls our friends. It works perfectly, but there is a new one out, and if we do not have it we will be perceived as out of date. Our value is tied to our things and how many things we have, and out of all these things we accumulate it is said that after six months 99% of it is trashed!

I don't believe this issue is black and white, but I think it is important to be AWARE of what cycles we are involved in and how we choose to participate or not. I don't believe that we are all going to suddenly stop buying and consuming, nor do I think we should, but I do think it's a good idea to take a look at what we consume and how it's produced, and to decide how we can clean up the chain of events. I think this film will strike a chord with us all. I think we all can do a little to fix the problem. Some of us may finally get on the boat and recycle everything we can. Some of us will buy the better light bulbs. Those of us who can afford it will power our homes with solar power. Then some of us will be driven to find ways make the smart choices affordable for us all, and I think all these things are good.

So, check this film and website out. It goes by super quick and I think you'll be glad you did.

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