The Story of Stuff Review Essay

1033 Words5 Pages
“The Story of Stuff” is a short video created by The Story of Stuff project in 2007. In the video, writers Annie Leonard and Jonah Sachs describe the process of turning natural resources into consumer goods, then into waste. The writers describe a seemingly linear five-step process: extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Leonard and Sachs describe a carefully-scripted culture of unsustainable consumption and waste. The extraction phase of “The Story of Stuff” refers to the removal of natural resources such as timber, natural gas, coal, oil, and water. The writers emphasize the unsustainability of this phase, especially in the United States. The video states that the United States holds 5% of the world’s…show more content…
They maintain low wages for employees with minimal (if any) benefits such as 401ks or health insurance. The quickest way for a company to cut costs is to cut their largest expense- payroll. The consumption phase is one of the most important to the corporation- it’s the buy, buy, buy phase! But, why do Americans buy? Remember when the writers discussed the “carefully-scripted” culture in the United States? Americans have been conditioned to buy, buy, buy. The “stuff” is portrayed in print and video advertising as a “need,” not a “want.” It is the concept of “keeping up with the Jones’.” Your neighbor buys a new car- you need a bigger one. The neighbor down the street has a new outdoor pool- you need a bigger one. To be considered a normal member of society you need to own stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. When the stuff breaks, buy new stuff. Buying new stuff is the carefully constructed concept of planned obsolescence. Leonard and Sachs discuss this concept in “The Story of Stuff.” Things are designed to break. They give the example of a desktop computer. The actual piece that becomes obsolete is smaller than a credit card. However, the piece changes shape every two years, making it impossible to simply repair the item. The entire system must be replaced. Look at cellphone advertisements today. The Samsung Galaxy 4, then the 4S, then the 5, all within two
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