I had the opportunity to watch The Story of Stuff, which is a 20 minutes animated documentary about the lifecycle of material goods. My first thought after watching this was that everybody should take these short 20 minutes to watch this powerful documentary. Annie Léonard, who wrote and narrated the film, is an American proponent of sustainability and a critic of excessive consumerism.
Indeed, overconsumption is a real environmental topic, but we do not really want to deal with it. Maybe simply because we are busy with our daily life and we think that we do not have a real impact on earth as an individual. This is wrong.
The Story of Stuff helps to think better about our consumption and think over our actions. Our planet is clearly in danger because of our abusive way of consumption, but it is still time to act.
A few data coming from the documentary (and that are just freaking me out!)
- 80 % of original forests have disappeared.
- In Amazonia, 2 000 trees are cut down per minute (the documentary compared it to 7 soccer fields per minute !)
- More than 100 000 chemical compounds used in factories to make products. Products that the consumerist buy and bring back to home, schools, jobs, and science does not even know yet its consequences on our health and on the environment.
- 2 millions of toxic tons rejected in the air per year.
- 30 % of children in Congo leave school to work in mines. For us.
- American television shows 3 000 advertisements per day to their viewers.
Some additional information: According to you, what would be the most toxic food in the food chain? The answer might surprise you: Breast milk! (which is still a very good method for children, but even though…)
If you have not watched this documentary yet, I strongly recommend it to you and, please, feel free to share your thoughts here after. And if you also think this is powerful, please share it with your relatives 🙂
So, what can we really do to fight against overconsumption? Here, I am sharing a few ideas that I am trying to apply as far as possible:
- Avoiding to go shopping in a place where social and commercial practicals seem wrong. For instance, the American multinational Wall-Mart is known to underpay its employees (who have no rights to get a syndicate) and to produce in China where it is cheaper. There are other companies whose practicals are questionable, such as the giant Amazon.
- Buying less products, but above all, buying better (local and/or organic).
- Keeping your electronic devices as long as possible, even if they are not trendy anymore! (I am working on an article about foreseen obsolescence). An example : Smartphones. I saved an old I-phone 4S some time ago, and I will use it until it’s completely useless because I reject the idea of replacing something that works only because society suggests to do it.
- Recycling all the devices that you can’t use anymore instead of throwing them away. If you do not like your furniture anymore, try to customize them before getting rid of them. I myself had great suprises doing that!
- Attending swap evenings along with friends. I did that several times, and it is always such a good opportunity to salvage some clothes, without even paying anything and, last but not least, spending some great time with people.
- Avoiding events that encourage consumption: Of course, I am thinking about sales that we all did at least once in our lives. Also, I am referring to Black Friday, the famous day following Thanksgiving when all the shops are offering super sales… Well, we all agree that it is pretty cool to get some stuff at low cost, but, at the end of the day, did you really need them?
- Too afraid of not being able to resist the advertisements coming from your TV? Make yourself a huge favor: Recycle your TV! We live so well without it 🙂
Getting other ideas? Please, share them in the comments and I will add them in this post 😉
Thank you, and enjoy this documentary!