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The Story of Stuff: A Must See Film for “Trash the Planet Week.”

December 31, 2007

story-of-stuff-digger.gifIf you don’t agree with me that there is a problem with what we do to Christmas in our culture, take a look at the enormous piles of trash on your street this week. Statistics on trash are hard to come by (go figure), but the best estimate (from the Use Less Stuff Report) is that Americans put 25% more into the waste stream between Thanksgiving and New Year. As I walked down the street today peering over the enormous loads that I and my neighbors have dropped today, it’s clear that an awful lot of waste is generated by Christmas gifts — gifts that keep on giving.

In fact, we need a name for this week, when we haul more tons of of waste to our curbs to be buried and/or burned than any other time of year. Spurnal Solstice comes to mind — that time of year when, though the days are short, our contempt for the world burns bright and we seek to literally stuff the world with toxic trash. But that seems a bit esoteric; maybe something simpler like Trash the Planet Week.

Whatever you want to call it, there is a perfect video for marking this week — a short film available on the web called The Story of Stuff. This remarkable little film will give you the concepts and information you need to begin to understand where all of the stuff in your life comes from, and where it all goes. In twenty minutes, the film provides a remarkably lucid and engaging overview of the “materials economy” — the natural and human-made structures, systems, rules, policies and practices that guide how materials move from extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal. It’s thoroughly researched, and the film’s website provides ample documentation and resources for further reading — including a footnoted script.

You can also watch the film via YouTube. Film trailers below:

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