The Story of Stuff Project
This is the website of The Story of Stuff Project. The project began in 2007, when its founder Annie Leonard published an animated documentary called The Story of Stuff that explained the toxic and exploitative background of consumer goods production and their disposal.
Since the release of the first film a decade ago, The Story of Stuff Project continues to develop new videos that have by now garnered more than 50 million online views around the world. The Story of Stuff Project presents itself as community-minded, solutions-focused and action-oriented.
The website contains all the videos produced by the project, as well supporting resources and an online training programme called Citizen Muscle Boot Camp for those interested in activist engagement and awareness-raising. The Story of Stuff videos are among the most widely used GCE resources, having been projected in more than 7000 schools, according to the project’s data.
The video materials produced by the Story of Stuff Project can be of great use to organisations seeking to introduce complex GCE issues, in particular those related to the functioning of consumer societies and related sustainability issues to new audiences.
Due to the project’s emphasis on local-based citizens’ engagement the analysis and solutions proposed by the Story of Stuff can help inspire organisation of new initiatives and awareness raising/advocacy groups. Similar to The Rules network, the materials produced by the Story of Stuff Project offer good examples of well-researched systemic critique that does not problematize the effectiveness, sensibility, feasibility and inherent contradictions of its own proposed solutions.
Story of Stuff resources consider the unsustainable consumerist culture of global (financial) capitalism as the systemic framework that they seek to reform / correct through citizens’ actions. By framing citizens as merely part of the solution, rather than also as part of the problem, the project does not explicitly invite self-reflection about complicity in global harm, nor does it examine our unacknowledged/subconscious investments in the continuation of exploitative and harmful practices that uphold our current ways of living.
It can however, and arguably precisely because of this lack, offer a platform on which a development of wide-scale campaigns that address specific aspects (use of microplastics, waste collection, recycling, etc.) of deeper issues can be built, without challenging existing power relations, structural inequalities and injustices.