Americans have way too much Stuff , and way too much of it is toxic. That’s the message Annie Leonard has been spreading ever since her college days, and most recently in her short Internet film The Story of Stuff, which has been viewed by over 12 million people. But the film is only the tip of the iceberg. This astonishing, inspiring book takes her message to an even higher level. In it she outlines the perils of overconsumption as she traces products back to their sources, through their life spans, and forward into their disposal. The Story of Stuff works on all levels as it brings together information on the environment, the economy, and cultures around the world. With her trademark compassion, curiosity, and playfulness, Leonard gives firsthand accounts of sneaking into dumps and factories around the world; chronicles the lives of Haitian textile workers and Congolese kids working in deadly mines; shows how our health and well-being are compromised by neurotoxins in our pillows and lead in our children’s lunch boxes; and most important, tells us that this is not the way things have to be. She presents concrete steps for taking action that point the way toward saving our health, our communities, and the planet. From high school kids to their parents in the suburbs, from government officials to people working in corporations, schools, and churches, The Story of Stuff is a life-changing book. Like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, it will transform the way you think and act.
A classic exposé in company with An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring, The Story of Stuff expands on the celebrated documentary exploring the threat of overconsumption on the environment, economy, and our health. Leonard examines the “stuff” we use everyday, offering a galvanizing critique and steps for a changed planet.
The Story of Stuff was received with widespread enthusiasm in hardcover, by everyone from Stephen Colbert to Tavis Smiley to George Stephanopolous on Good Morning America, as well as far-reaching print and blog coverage. Uncovering and communicating a critically important idea—that there is an intentional system behind our patterns of consumption and disposal—Annie Leonard transforms how we think about our lives and our relationship to the planet.
From sneaking into factories and dumps around the world to visiting textile workers in Haiti and children mining coltan for cell phones in the Congo, Leonard, named one of Time magazine’s 100 environmental heroes of 2009, highlights each step of the materials economy and its actual effect on the earth and the people who live near sites like these.
With curiosity, compassion, and humor, Leonard shares concrete steps for taking action at the individual and political level that will bring about sustainability, community health, and economic justice. Embraced by teachers, parents, churches, community centers, activists, and everyday readers, The Story of Stuff will be a long-lived classic.
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