Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Story of Stuff

                                                   Comments due by March 31, 2017

The post for this week is slightly different than usual. Actually there is nothing to read, it is a 21 minute video that is 10 years old but that is still one of the best efforts to explain in plain language      The Story of Stuff. Give it a look. Enjoy.

Click on the above link and watch the 21 minute video. (If the link is dead then copy and paste)


Anonymous said...

It seems that it will be almost impossible to change the current trend of work, watch, purchase. The video mentioned that today's society has less free time per person than any other time. Because if this it can be assumed that it will be tough to educate consumer's enough to the point that they change their ways. Our economy is the mirror image of the consumer's driving it in some ways. There is a such a surplus of goods and services, that we are bursting at the seams with excess and toxicity. I am optimistic that there is a trend beginning in the country. As personal health becomes a trend, it will force the consumer to look into where their goods come from and spend more time thinking about each purchase before it is completed. I feel that a personal health trend is one of the quickest ways to clean up the economy and the world. I do not mean fitness, I mean for individuals to begin to pay attention to the goods and services they purchase and use. Foods, products, and services. For me it seems to be a good place to start.

Chase Harnett

Lindsay Brewster said...

I agree that this video does an excellent job of explaining where all of our stuff comes from and where it goes, and the greater effects this has on the planet than one may assume. The linear set up of the material cycle is clearly extremely detrimental, however finding ways to recycle things and use them to make new "stuff" is not easy, and its even more difficult to get the whole world on board. I appreciate the way this video stresses the point that each point in this cycle effects people and involves many more factors than one may think. However, what I like most about this video is the fact that at the end when talking about disposal, she discusses some alternatives to reducing waste.

Austin Provancher said...

This video perfectly depicts the concept of the Material Cycle. This cycle as it represented within the video shows how negative this process hurts not only the United States but the world. The extraction process is horrible and we should not use natural resources to make toxic products. In addition, regulations should be enacted to stop the hazards that are hurting the surrounding communities and workers. 2,000 trees that are being used per minute that are wasted for goods should be banned. These trees are needed to keep our ecosystem running smoothly.

Tasfin Hossain said...

In the end of the video, the presenter mentions that corporations create almost 70 times the waste created by households. I don’t know if we studied corporate social responsibility for this course, or maybe I studied it for a different course. But basically corporate social responsibility is a corporation's initiatives to assess and take responsibility for the company's effects on environmental and social wellbeing. The term generally applies to efforts that go beyond what may be required by regulators or environmental protection groups.

Large companies are immensely powerful entities, to the point that they have frequently trumped the interests of sovereign nations. Corporations can have enormously detrimental effects on the environment. Oil spills are some of the most conspicuous examples, but industries as varied as chemical manufacturing, mining, agriculture and fishing can do permanent damage to local ecosystems. Climate change can also be attributed in large part to corporations. While their responsibility is hard to untangle from that of the consumers who demand electricity and transportation, it is difficult to deny that many corporations have profited from the deterioration of the global environment.

Tasfin Hossain

Marc Rinosa said...

I've seen this video countless time as it's widely circulated on social media. But each time, I gain something new from it.

Perhaps the most important thing that this video addresses is how consumerism in America is highly dependent upon societal conditioning. We are told we need more of, well, stuff, even though we don't necessarily have a place for it in our lives. This is even more important as the video suggest how the conditioning nature of consumerism completely causes us to neglect the negative implications and externalities our consumption has on where we work, where we live, etc.

The responsibility, as many of the posters here have stated, falls on the corporations and the firms that drive the circular flow of consumption.

Anonymous said...

I like many other bloggers in this thread have seen this video numerous times as well. What first drew my attention to it is the title. As a permanent citizen of the US I have noticed numerous times things that I have never noticed when I used to live in Turkey. For example, in Turkey we use our garage space to simply park cars, after all that is what they are meant to be used for. In America, people use it as additional storage for stuff that they don't exactly need, they buy it, enjoy it for a week, and then when they get sick of it, they throw it in the garage. That leads onto the garage sales, which i have never seen either growing up in Turkey. I think that this video is a very good method to open up the eyes of young people, to show them how much resources are being wasted for stuff that they don't necessarily need or will never really need and how everything is just done by corporations for the sake of earning a profit without much care about the environment. Yes we do see more and more companies recycle and use the recyclings to create a new product but at the end of the day that is still stuff added into the world that we simply do not need. I believe that especially in America this is becoming a problem, maybe with everything being relatively cheap and having easy access to it through big chain stores like WalMart, Kmart & such stores where as in Turkey and most european countries that are underdeveloped things like that are hard to access, and people learn to live without the extra stuff and still are happy people. Maybe if we followed the trend of simplicity and focused our attention on not hoarding so much stuff this would benefit the green economy overall.


Katherine Murphy said...

I am long time supporter of the "Story of Stuff" video, I've seen it numerous times in a few of my other classes through my years here. The video has the perfect way of clearly explain what American consumerism is doing to all parts of our society. One of my favorite parts of this video is the mention of women fashion, specifically shoes. Being a women i do find myself constantly trying to keep up with the trends, and when you do not conform to these trends you are told that you need to go out and get these things in order o feel better about yourself. the video explains how the media tells society that they need to buy and spend in order to achieve happiness and be a functioning member of society. We are told we need more stuff, while not necessarily having enough space and time for it because we work to pay off this stuff we are told we need. So in result to this, we go and dispose of the stuff we no longer have use for causing harmful distribution back into the environment by improper disposer. The responsibility of the American consumer remains in the hands of corporations and firms that drive this way of life.

Heres a link to a video called "MAN", an outlook on the American Consumer through a more gruesome lens
Check it:

Anonymous said...

The video open my eyes to the truth behind production from beginning to end. What greatly concerned me was the fact that I felt I was well-informed of the system, but the video proved me otherwise. Most of the topics discussed in the video was news to me but a few things stood out for me personally. The fact that I don't pay for what I buy and people in a  third world country, that can afford less what I can suffer. These people barely concede and provide for their families. The second topic that alarmed me was the fact that we use severely toxic chemicals just for items to be flame retardant. If there's ever a fire we are going to buy new things anyway why do we have to put our well-being at risk? I feel that our well-being is more important then materialistic things. Lastly, there are a plethora of problems Within this current production system but the most important I feel is to stop burning trash for our health. We can't contribute to the economy  if we are dead.
Victoria viguera

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I'm viewing this video. As a millennial consumer, I somewhat understand how much 'stuff' there is and how much consumers truly waste. It seems that with all this production and profits in mind, big corporations aren't really focusing on the negative externalities and it is having a negative effect on the environment. As users of these goods, it should be in our best interest to buy goods that will sustain our environment since without a healthy Earth, there would be no need for production and consumption. If corporations don't take initiative and take the environment as a main focus, there will be no one to produce goods for. The United States is a country that uses a lot of extra packaging in its products. If we could even focus on the reduction of that aspect of production, it will help our environment. Another thing many companies do today is package with recycled goods. It is the job of the corporations to focus on these types of aspects in production in order to sustain the environment. However, as consumers, we can purchase from firms that are taking the environment as a main focus which will have a positive effect on our environment and help sustain our economy.

Nick Arciszewski

Alyssa Villacis said...

This is my first time watching this video and while a lot of the information I learned through other ways I did learn some new things. It explained everything about consumerism in a clear way. To summarize the video basically is about consumer slavery. We all buy things we don't need. If you think about it there is no reason for us to keep shopping for things when what we have is fine. But the way society has become we don't want to fall behind the trends for fear that we will be judged. As a millennial, social media has exposed me to countless advertisements etc. but also countless articles about how much we consume and the damage its doing to our earth. Although big companies are now making environmental sustainability a prominent part of their mission statements, their main purpose after all is to make money so no matter how much effort they put into being "green" they will still create stuff for the consumers. And consumers will most likely not slow down in spending and buying this stuff which in turns create more waste and it is a never ending cycle. I feel like a lot of people my age are aware of companies using third world countries to lower costs of creating their product and how little they get paid and the conditions they work in but we are so immersed in the need to constantly buy buy buy that although we care we are not pro active in helping alleviate the situation.

Alyssa Villacis

Janelle Gonzalez said...

The video captures the idea that as consumers, we are very stuck in our ways, which are hurting us. The video gives the viewer a large scale picture of our economy and the products we purchase. We can see through this video that our consumer demands are creating issues that hurt our environment. The video discusses the Material Cycle, and how it is impacting not just our country, but the entire ecosystem as a whole. It seems as though we've been working with the idea of "the ends justify the means", which has resulted in a huge waste of natural resources. The damage that's being done is the direct result of consumers demanding products that are produced without the regard for our environment. We must take a close look at how companies produce their products and choose wisely what we want to condone as consumers who dictate the future.

Elizabeth Eggimann said...

I've seen the story of stuff numerous times and I am big fan of Annie Leonard and admire her work. I think this video is so important and very well done. The importance of this video really illustrates how disconnected consumers are from our cycles of production and consumption, or the materials economy. This disconnect permits consumers to function within a theoretical world- as the material economy works in theory- but ignore practical limitations; we do not see these limitations because the diagram is incomplete.

I think the remark Annie made about our identities as a nation is very interesting...She suggested that we no longer primarily identify with things like parenthood, careers, etc., but rather as consumers. I think this is interesting because I do not think that many people if asked what they identify with would say consumer- even if they consumer on large scales. This conscious riff in our identifies perpetuate our disconnect from the material economy and continues to deflect responsibility as a consumer.

Brielle Manzolillo said...

This video is a staple in many environmental classes I've taken due to the fact that it perfectly explains how our consumer lifestyles are destroying the environment. While a capitalistic, consumer society often is portrayed as being the type of economic system that flourishes, its one of the major issues our environment faces. Everyone is a slave to consumerism- we buy things we think we need and then throw them away and buy new stuff. Even the things we do buy are not made to last. They are made to break after a certain amount of time so that people are forced to buy more. But, when these items are thrown away, they don't just disappear into thin air like a lot of people must assume. They are thrown out and pollute the environment. Then, when new items are made, the process to make them pollutes the environment as well. If people continue to live in this consumer lifestyle, the environment will be completed devastated. We need to focus on sustainability and reusable items instead of living in a throw away society.