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Reviewing The Story of Stuff

Heather and I put on our best Kent Brockman voices a week ago, when we talked with all the second graders at our elementary school, saying "You might remember us from the 'Reduce/Reuse/Recycle' presentation we gave while you were in kindergarten..." I don't think any of them picked up on the Simpsons reference. But all in all, it was a good talk. You gotta love kids for their unbridled enthusiasm!

While prepping for our talk, I re-watched Annie Leonard's fantastic video The Story of Stuff. If it's been a while, you really should carve out 20 minutes to sit down and watch it. I probably looked a lot like an over enthusiastic sports fan while watching this video: Eyes glues to my computer screen. Shouting out spontaneous bursts of support: "Yeah!" "You go, girl!" and the triumphant hissed "Yes!!!" It was good no one else was home to overhear me. A few things from the video jumped out at me this time:

  • About manufacturing... We put good stuff and toxic stuff together, resulting in stuff that gets thrown away quickly, but with it all now being toxic stuff. Yesterday's thread about the BPA in canning lids underlines this point. There's also warnings this year about how most Halloween face paints contain lead, cobalt, nickel and chromium. This makes me want to scream! I consider myself fairly informed, but imagine there are tons of moms out there who don't know and really want to cute their kids up for Halloween by painting their faces. Arghhhh!!! The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics offers some recipes for safer DIY face paints.
  • The other thing that jumped at me was about fashion and how we watch tv and feel bad about ourselves, and we go out shopping to feel better, and we buy some stuff, and we go to work to pay for the stuff... Yet, if we resist, we end up being the mom with skinny heels in a 'fat heels year' and the TV blares "You suck!" I'd like to say I'm above all that. But truthfully, I do often feel like the most unstylish, un-chic person in every crowd. Oh well. But I do find I watch less TV, which happened very gradually over time as I had less and less time (probably the TV time loss can be attributed to the amount of time I spend blogging). So I'm exposed to less advertising, which is good so the chants of "You suck!" don't get overwhelming. 
Re-watch The Story of Stuff. And be strong. We don't suck. I'm Kent Brockman, signing off...


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