I kept being "too busy" to watch The Story of Stuff (full video after the jump) when it came out in December, but I finally pushed the deadlines aside for 20 minutes this morning to check it out. This engaging 20-minute online video is one of the clearest explanations I've encountered of how global capitalism and consumerism harm people and the planet, from resource extraction through production to consumption and disposal.
Seeing the facts laid out one after another is disturbing (99% of consumer goods end up in the trash within six months of purchase; human breast milk has become one of the most contaminated foods), but The Story of Stuff is illuminating and essential viewing, especially for shoppers in the United States, who play a key role in keeping this machine running. And the best part is that creator Annie Leonard offers lots of ideas for living toward a different kind of economy -- a different kind of culture, a different kind of life.
Relatedly, a piece on Alternet this morning asks, "Is Selfish Capitalism Driving Us Mad?" The effects of global capitalism and consumerism are depressing and disturbing, no doubt. But, in Leonard's words, "The good thing is ... there are so many points of intervention."
Ideas and The Story of Stuff, after the jump.