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Video Review: The Story of Stuff

by Carmen Lee

Video iconAre you a student? A young person? A schoolteacher?

Have you bought anything in the past month?  Any electronic gadget, clothes, knickknack, “consumer product”?

And have you thrown out any “old stuff” in the past month?

Have you ever wondered, “Where does all the stuff we buy come from, and where does it go when we throw it out?”

If you have – and even if you haven’t – watch the 20-minute animated film Story of Stuff on the Internet.


It is like nothing you have watched before. It is fun and engaging.  It has been watched by over six million students and teachers around the country in the past couple of years.  Hundreds of teachers have assigned it as homework.  (Don’t you want to find out why this video is so-o-o popular?)

It brings to life big words like “consumerism.” “global corporations,” “materials economy,” “environmental degradation,” “sustainability” – words and concepts that many of us dismiss and tune out because we think they have nothing to do with us.  But we must try to understand these terms and their true meaning.  The reason is simple: We are already up to our neck in this pickling pot labeled “Consumer Culture” (though we may not realize it). We are already functioning as pieces in this giant jigzaw puzzle called “Materials Economy.”

Will this short film alter the way you look at the stuff you buy, consume, and throw away?  Perhaps a little.  Perhaps a lot.  Perhaps not at all.

But watch it, won’t you?

You will enjoy it. And you are in it.

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