How the Story of Stuff Became a Movement

Everything you need to know about the video that sparked a growing community of people interested in reducing their “stuff” and living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Dec 8, 2014
Screenshot from the Story of Stuff video

The video that started it all. [Screenshot]

In 2008, a 20-minute animated movie entitled The Story of Stuff became a viral hit, shining a spotlight on the way Americans consume, and how their purchases affect the environment and society as a whole. Annie Leonard was the brains behind the initiative, and the fast-paced, fact-filled documentary served as a rally cry for people to understand the processes of how things are created and disposed. With her no-nonsense narration and illustrative animated images behind a white backdrop, The Story of Stuff gave a birds-eye view into the cycle of consumption in the US; from the major players, to what changes can be made to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle that requires fewer things.
The documentary’s success served as a springboard to create The Story of Stuff Project, a platform that looks to create a community of changemakers, people who want to play an active role in building and maintaining a cleaner planet. The site is filled with short movies (in the same style as The Story of Stuff) that delve deep into such topics as the cosmetic industryelectronics and bottled water.  In an effort to spread their message, The Story of Stuff Project offers educational resources and curriculum that correspond with their videos to help young people understand the cycle of consumption and the role that each person plays. The project also has an active campaigns section which encourages people to petition social issues that relate to environmental concerns. The project is looking to build a community of like-minded folks, and invites anyone with an interest in keeping the planet clean and its inhabitants happy to jump onboard and become a changemaker, too.

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