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Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Story of Stuff

I came across this interesting cartoon regarding the story of stuff from extraction of resources to consumption and disposal. The purpose is to "expose the connections between environmental and social issues, in the hope to create a more sustainable and just world."

Post WWII some bright capitalist got the idea that in order for economic growth to occur a system of consumption needed to be created. He stated that ...

"Our enormously productive economy…demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption, we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate."

This cartoon is pretty long at20mins, but can be broken down into chapters listed at the top of the screen. Although all chapters have interesting and important information, I think the consumption chapter is expecially important and interesting as it is something we can all relate to. So if you do not wish to view this at all or in its entirety, I urge you at least to skip to the consumption chapter and/or listen to bits of each chapter. I think we owe it to yourselves, our family, future generations and your planet.
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1 comment:

Forts said...

Great video. It is sad that we should all know this information and what is even sadder is that most of us do but don’t recognize it in our daily lives and don’t change our consuming patterns. Why? Just like the video states; b/c it supposedly makes us feel good to keep up with the latest stuff and/or fashions.

When she mentioned the 9/11 reference to shopping as a meaning of coping with the problem it made me think of a book I read for a poli sci class. Fear’s empire by Benjamin Barber (, great book and I highly recommend it. There is an entire chapter on what Bush set out to do after 9/11 and how his administration looked into consumerism as opposed to bringing people together with ideas of progress and unification through proper mediums.

It was a way to keep people scared that the next attack is just around the corner and as long as you are consuming you are happy for the moment and Al-Qaeda won’t attack b/c it looks like the initial attack didn’t faze anyone as you are still out shopping day in and day out.

When will we ever learn the simple things? Don’t throw it out or upgrade till it doesn’t work anymore.

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