A Yuletide Story of Stuff

Until today, I hadn’t watched the terrific The Story of Stuff. I figured I knew their message already, but Sarah reminded me about watching it.

In any case, you should watch it, even if you already think you got the message. It’s a really elegant illustration and explanation of how we consume, and I heartily recommend it. It might insult your intelligence here and there, but I think some subtlety is rightfully sacrificed for the benefit of a simple message.

Here’s the introduction:

The whole 20 minutes is worth watching on their website. I’m also fond of the implementation. It reminded me of Common Craft videos or this mutual funds website.

The other fantastic thing about this project is their 16-page referenced and annotated script (PDF). I’m naturally skeptical, and there were a number of claims in the video that I wanted to check. Now I can reference the sources of those facts easily and in context. So many other organizations wouldn’t go to this extra trouble, but it’s so worthwhile in terms of validating your premise.

It’s no accident that they released this video in the busiest consumption period of the year. I’ve just finished making donations in the names of various family members in lieu of physical gifts, so I’m feeling pretty smug.


  1. This is cool, though it’s preaching to the converted in my case (I’m with you on the donations-only Christmas). Thanks!

  2. I saw the video too. It certainly was well-timed to coincide with The Season of Stuff, wasn’t it?

    I’m not much of a consumer (we’ve been boycott Walmart for years, use reusable bags for groceries, try to shop organic/loca etc.) and this video really got to me – in a good way. It was sensational in parts (I’m thinking specifically of the illustration of the mother with a pair of skull & crossbones on her chest) but the sad reality is that people need to have it laid out for them in this way otherwise they won’t be motivated enough to care. There have been thousands of articles in the mainstream media about this, many of which are probably too long and complicated for ordinary people to understand. Good or bad, shock media seems to be the way to reach the common denominator.

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