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The Story of Stuff: How Our Problem with Overconsumption Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health -- and What to Do About Itby Annie Leonard
Synopses & Reviews
Beginning with a startlingly simple message ("We have a problem with stuff. We use too much of it. And way too much of it is toxic."), Annie Leonard, creator of the internet film phenomenon The Story of Stuff, expands on the film in a powerful and inspiring book that tracks the life of the "stuff" we use every day, from extraction through production, distribution, consumption, and disposal.
Uncovering and communicating a new idea — that there is an intentional system behind our patterns of buying and throwing things away — she transforms how we think about our lives and our relationship to the planet, and, perhaps most importantly, she offers us hope that change is within reach. Brilliantly combining information about the economy, cultures, and the environment, Leonard illuminates how our "growth at all costs" economy has made for a system in crisis: it's a linear model used on a finite resource — the earth — and we've pushed that resource almost to its limit and jeopardized our own health in the process. The book will offer a deeper, more expansive look at the life of our "stuff" along with plenty of concrete solutions, while maintaining Leonard's trademark sense of fun.
"Leonard expands on her eponymous Internet movie hit to further examine the costs of Americans' addiction to purchasing and discarding consumer goods. The book records her evolution from a toxic waste — trafficking expert to a crusader for more durable and adaptable consumer goods and is divided into an exploration into the hidden and enormous costs of extraction of natural resources (it takes 98 tons of materials to produce a ton of paper), production (to grow and process cotton for one T-shirt requires over 256 gallons of water and generates five pounds of CO2), distribution (mammoth container ships transport cheaply produced goods from one end of the world to another, polluting the seas and generating toxic waste), overconsumption (Americans spend two-thirds of the $11 trillion economy on consumer goods), and disposal (most of these items end up at the dump). All this makes for depressing reading, and some humor and less priggishness would have helped. But Leonard conveys her message with clarity, urgency, and sincerity — and her suggestions for making stuff more durable, repairable, recyclable, and adaptable is undeniably important." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Leonard] urges readers to learn to value stuff they truly need and avoid the forces that urge us to consume excessively. An important work for consumers of all ages." Library Journal
"An earnest, reasoned contribution to the national conversation on sustainability." Kirkus Reviews
"A rigorous thinker in command of a phenomenal amount of information, Leonard...offers hard facts, diligent analysis, and an ambitious vision in this comprehensive critique." Booklist (Starred Review)
Annie Leonard tracks the life of the stuff we use every day, transforming how we think about our patterns of consumption.
Every week we pile our garbage on the curb and it disappearsandmdash;like magic! The reality is anything but, of course. Trashed, Derf Backderfandrsquo;s follow-up to the critically acclaimed, award-winning international bestseller My Friend Dahmer, is an ode to the crap job of all crap jobsandmdash;garbage collector. Anyone who has ever been trapped in a soul-sucking gig will relate to this tale. Trashed follows the raucous escapades of three 20-something friends as they clean the streets of pile after pile of stinking garbage, while battling annoying small-town bureaucrats, bizarre townfolk, sweltering summer heat, and frigid winter storms. Trashed is fiction, but is inspired by Derfandrsquo;s own experiences as a garbageandshy;man. Interspersed are nonfiction pages that detail what our garbage is and where it goes. The answers will stun you. Hop on the garbage truck named Betty and ride along with Derf on a journey into the vast, secret world of garbage. Trashed is a hilarious, stomach-churning tale that will leave you laughing and wincing in disbelief.
A classic exposand#233; in company with andlt;I andgt;An Inconvenient Truthandlt;/Iandgt; and andlt;I andgt;Silent Springandlt;/Iandgt;, andlt;I andgt;The Story of Stuffandlt;/Iandgt; expands on the celebrated documentary exploring the threat of overconsumption on the environment, economy, and our health. Leonard examines the and#8220;stuffand#8221; we use everyday, offering a galvanizing critique and steps for a changed planet.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;I andgt;The Story of Stuffandlt;/Iandgt; was received with widespread enthusiasm in hardcover, by everyone from Stephen Colbert to Tavis Smiley to George Stephanopolous on andlt;I andgt;Good Morning Americaandlt;/Iandgt;, as well as far-reaching print and blog coverage. Uncovering and communicating a critically important ideaand#8212;that there is an intentional system behind our patterns of consumption and disposaland#8212;Annie Leonard transforms how we think about our lives and our relationship to the planet.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;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 andlt;I andgt;Time andlt;/Iandgt;magazineand#8217;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. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;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, andlt;I andgt;The Story of Stuffandlt;/Iandgt; will be a long-lived classic.
About the Author
Annie did her undergraduate studies at Barnard and graduate work in city and regional planning at Cornell. She has traveled to 40 countries, including Haiti, Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Pakistan and South Africa, in her work investigating and promoting anti-pollution issues internationally. Annie currently resides in California with her daughter.
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