The Story of Stuff

Annie leonard the story of stuffI’m aware this is very old news and most of you will have seen Annie Leonard’s  Story Of Stuff, but there are some things in life that are so far reaching, so profound, that they mustn’t be forgotten.

To date, 7.3 million people have watched the story of stuff. Annie’s vision was to reach around 50,000 people when she first made the film; 50,000 people saw it in the first 4 hours!

Her recent speech at the Bioneers Conference got me thinking again. I’m finding more and more that my ‘stuff’ is a burden, both physically (I have to take the time to clean it, put it away and maintain it) and spiritually (sometimes my life is out of balance; I have to take care of my ‘stuff’ before I can sit and meditate)

How many of you receive something and ask yourself “Where am I going to put this?”

Gone are the days for me of browsing in shops for something pretty to put on my mantelpiece. Now the sight of a sunset or the sound of birdsong are what I am after. A cuddle with my daughter or a conversation with my husband are things that can never be bought, but which I cherish and value most of all.

All of my feelings are in line with emerging new science which shows us happiness is not a new car or ipod.

Happiness is not being alone shopping or watching TV.

Happiness comes about through the quality of our social relationships, a sense of meaning in life, time with friends and family.

The sad truth of 21st century life in the Western world is that we have more stuff but fewer friends. A quarter of people have no one to talk to. Annie Leonard asks “What is the use in a large dining table if you don’t have a crowd of friends around it?”

What wisdom in that!

Annie Leonard tells us we are forgetting how to be engaged citizens in democracy. The consumer part of our brain is spoken to and validated from day 1 – it makes us feel comfortable and is familiar. However, the ‘citizen’ part of our brain has atrophied and we’ve forgotten how to make change and be part of a community.

In other words, we’re trashing the planet, we’re trashing each other and we’re not even having fun.

Maybe it’s time to transform community, save the planet and have a LOT more fun!

Will we change by design or default? I don’t know, but in the next few years we’ll probably find the answer.

Have you watched the Story of Stuff? What did you think of it and are your views changing about your ‘stuff’ as time goes on?