Saturday, May 3, 2008

Story of Stuff

Story of Stuff is a video and blog about the life-cycle of goods and services by Annie Leonard, who has an unspecified graduate degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell. Her video covers the materials cycle from the exploitation of natural resources to production, to consumption to disposal.

The Story of Stuff video is 20 minutes long, and consists of Annie talking over some black and white drawings. It sounds super boring, and to most people it will be, but I thought it was the best thing on the Interwebs today. It's interesting partly for its message, and partly for the display.

The lecture is heavy-handed and borders on sanctimonious, but you can tell Annie is just so sincere about this cause that you just can't really blame her. I like it. Annie does a great job of explaining consumerism and its problems, with a few humorous gimmicks along the way.

The pretend-anecdotes are hilaylay. As presented, she casually does a lot of things which pique her interest, then does some casual thorough investigative research. "I was casually buying a radio, so I looked into it, and by the time I finished by PhD dissertation in physics, I came to the conclusion this cheap radio sucks." It's charming, really.

The display would have made this the best thing today on its own. The navigation bar up top lets you skip to a certain chapter, the pause/play button sits unobtrusively to the bottom left, and the time on the bottom right lets you know how many minutes you've watched and how much you have yet to go. The spartan illustrations aid the message instead of distracting from it.

Ironically, you can purchase DVDs of the video, though you are encouraged to download it. The overall awareness of the message is important though, and I'd like it to spread soon. Mostly because every time I meet a person who doesn't "believe" in things like global warming, I want to pop a spleen. And not mine. Cheers!

(From Wikipedia, Buzzfeed)

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