December 9, 2008
by BRUCE SCHIMMEL
Philadelphia City Paper
Bummed by consumerism? Can't find a single Earth-friendly thing to buy? You're not alone in your misery, and I've got just the video to turn your seasonal blues into an absolute downer.
Not interested? OK. I've also got a surefire gift on which you can spend as little or as much as you want, and which is guaranteed to do good for both people and planet.
But first, some inspiration, in the form of a charming but devastating little video called The Story of Stuff (storyofstuff.com). This 20-minute flick, which debuted last year, has all the makings of a new Christmas classic, only with Scrooge rebranded as a green hero.
Annie Leonard, who details the sordid story of our wasteful ways with the innocent charm of a kindergarten teacher, hosts the video. In 20 minutes, writes one admirer, you'll learn more about economics than you will from 95 percent of media talking heads, and 100 percent of the GOP.
It's a familiar tale, but as the real holiday story, it's worth the retelling.
Leonard shows how each step that goes into making most of our stuff — our clothing, furnishings and especially our electronics — lays waste to both people and planet. From extraction, to manufacturing, to its selling and trashing — our stuff stinks.
Leonard's little video is a multimedia masterpiece. It's even funny at times, despite the stark message that Americans are a deluded and dirty people, misled by a corrupt government.
For more information on Tides Center project The Story of Stuff, see www.storyofstuff.org.