Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Thanks to JB for sharing this wonderfully insightful gem.

It's called the
Story of Stuff and it will walk you through our system of consumption from start to finish - in simple terms. Where does our "stuff" come from? Where does it go when we get rid of it?

It's quite eye-opening, I have to say. 20 minutes of facts delivered at a comfortable pace so you can actually absorb it. (NOTE: One of the sections had trouble loading - just skip ahead if it happens to you)

Did you know that 99% of the "stuff" we consume - virtually all of it - is trash within 6 months? It's true. Not only that, but it was specifically DESIGNED to end up in the trash. If "stuff" lasted longer, we wouldn't have a need to buy more of it!

Seems hard to believe at first, but think about it. All of the stuff harvested, mined, crafted, manufactured, assembled, shipped, stored, sold, and used by Americans is trashed within 180 days. Practically everything we buy is disposable - and priced that way so we can go out and buy more. That's an awful lot of "stuff" we're going through - and fast.

It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to recognize that this level of consumption is a problem.

I highly recommend you check out the Story of Stuff. It's making me re-think my holiday shopping list, as well as my resolution for the New Year - which will be to use less stuff. It's not that hard, really, if you ignore trends, forsake fashion, and invest in things that are built to last.

Everything else is just passing slowly through your house on the way to the dump. The first step is awareness - which is the goal of this great presentation. We won't be motivated to change our behavior if we don't understand why it is harmful. Understanding how our collective consumption habits are affecting the environment, our happiness, and the global economy is a key first step toward moving us off of goods for a greater good.

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