Annie Leonards

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Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 12/23/2014 05:11 AM

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Charlotte Emmaunella Neizer

Professor Day

Book project


In the “Story of Stuff”, the main idea was that corporations cared about one thing and one thing only, which making the most money, even if that meant destroying human lives and destroying the planet. Leonard explains that corporations find ways to make money without making any products, instead they make something called “brands”, which were nothing but concepts that did not require them to make the actual products. So instead they had several companies that treated their workers without any respect, but could make the products for the corporations. The Story of Stuff, delivering a rapid-fire, often humorous and always engaging story about “all our stuff, where it comes from and where it goes when we throw it away.” Leonard examines the real costs of extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal, and she isolates the moment in history where she says the trend of consumption mania began. Annie Leonard explains that “individual behavior and poor lifestyle choices, but the broken system—the deadly take-make-waste machine” (p. xxvi). She mentioned that a transition from an economy is based on limitless economic growth which is sustainable development. Leonard points of clarification: she’s not against Stuff, she’s not romanticizing poverty, and she’s not bashing the U.S but she is criticizing capitalism (pp. xxi-xxii)

The Story of Stuff examines how economic policies of the post-World War II era ushered in notions of “planned obsolescence” and “perceived obsolescence” and how these notions are still driving much of the U.S. and global economies today. Leonard's inspiration for the story of stuff began as a personal musing over the question, “Where does all the stuff we buy come from, and where does it go when we throw it out?” She traveled the world in pursuit of the answer to this seemingly innocent question, and what she found along the way were some very guilty participants...