Friday, November 27, 2015

The Story of Stuff

Happy Consumerism Day!

That's what it is right? I mean let's be honest. Black Friday is a celebration of all things consumer.

Yep. Depression has struck me hard once again. So you're probably thinking this is going to be another anti-establishment post that's chock full o' snark.

You're right.

It's partly because I've finally watched the animated documentary called The Story of Stuff. It's about what unchecked consumerism does to us and the biosphere. What better way to start off the holiday shopping season? Check out the video here:

The thesis of the documentarian is both simple and logical: you cannot run an infinite system on a finite world indefinitely. "Stuff" gets extracted, produced, distributed, consumed, and then disposed of. All of that takes a toll on our environment. This cycle is enabled largely by greedy corporations who can manipulate governments into fewer regulations and by people driven to consume. This drive arises from corporate advertising and the whole cycle self-perpetuates.

This is all supported by sobering statements of data. Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations. Americans account for 5% of the world's population, but we consume over 30% of the world's environmental resources.

On the plus side, this documentary has been part of school curriculums for a few years now. Maybe it will give students a combined sense of exigency and possibility. I know my own students sometimes get depressed and hopeless over the state of the world today. Who can blame them? But the important thing is to remember there is always something you can do. Even if it's just blogging a post.

Hey here's a little holiday activity. Look up the meaning of "oniomania."

I'm such a Grinch.

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