Have you ever wondered where your stuff comes from…or more importantly where it goes after you’re done with it? Have you looked around and realized how much STUFF you actually have and how it even accumulated to be so much? OR have you ever gone so far as to think about what YOUR stuff is doing to the planet and the people that live on it?

Introducing the kind-of long but definitely worthwhile online video The Story of Stuff.

The Story of Stuff is a truly enlightening, fact-filled portrayal of human consumption at its worst, or, er…what it’s like in today’s world. The video’s hostess, Annie Leonard, walks you clearly and realistically through all of the environmental and social connections within our consumption cycles and then inspires you to take action and make positive changes within your own consumption patterns to (hopefully) make the planet a better, healthier place. As their website states, “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“, and we couldn’t agree more!

Sponsored by the Tides Foundation, a social justice & equal economic opportunity non-profit, and The Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, an advocacy group for healthy and environmentally-friendly consumption, The Story of Stuff has grown over the past year to feature a screening kit (including tips, invitations and group activities if you want to host your own neighborhood screening), posters, a DVD, and has garnered over 2 million views!!

If we haven’t yet convinced you that this is the type of video that makes us want to become school teachers just so that we can get to the children before they buy too many ipod skins, then check out this teaser and make sure to check out the full version at www.TheStoryofStuff.com.


Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz about environmental and nature photographer Chris Jordan. Chris’s latest work is called Running the Numbers: An American Self Portrait, which is a series of photographic representations of our over-the-top consumer culture – and boy is it frightening!

The photos are huge, zoomed out shots of piles of trash, such as 60,000 plastic bags: the amount that is used in the US every 5 seconds (!!); or 1 million plastic cups: the amount used on airline flights every 6 hours. The photos truly add a needed shock value to these already despairing statistics. Check it out for yourself:

The 60″ x 90″ photo of plastic cups:plastic-cups.jpg

Actual print size:plastic-cups-zoom.jpg

A 60″ x 92″ of 106,000 aluminum soda cans, the amount used by American consumers every 30 seconds:


The cans at actual print size:


There are SO many more, you really just have to check it out. In the artist’s own (incredibly eloquent) words:

“The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences. I fear that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits.”

If you’re lucky enough to be in Oberlin, OH, Ithaca, NY or Peterborough, NH than you can see his photos for yourself and take in the full blown reality of our wasteful culture. For a full list of exhibits, check out Chris’s website at www.chrisjordan.com.

Chris’s current collection is called Intolerable Beauty (which is an even more disturbing depiction of our trash build up) and his previous work includes an incredibly moving photo book “In Katrina’s Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster” which features essays by environmentalist Bill McKibben (one of our favorite authors/speakers) and Susan Zakin. The photos are some of the most gripping we’ve ever seen of post-Katrina New Orleans. We really wanted a copy, but it seems that the book is completely sold out. BUT he does have a DVD and poster versions of his photography soon to be released – so stay tuned! Congratulations Chris!

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