Annie Leonard's incredibly engaging 20-minute short film, "The Story of Stuff," is an alarming (but never alarmist or shrill) look into the way that our consumer society works — the reason that a radio in Radio Shack can sell for $4.95 is that the majority of the cost of that radio is being borne by laborers in the developing world, by everyone who lives in a degraded environment thanks to inadequate safeguards on manufacturing and disposal processes, and by other "external" payees who pony up when we go shopping.
Leonard's cradle-to-grave picture of stuff is lucid and answers a lot of questions about how we got here — and how we can go somewhere better next.
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.