You’re reading MakeUseOf, so you’re probably a bit computer-inclined. Chances are you own more than one, and all the extras too – so, where does this stuff come from? That’s a question with more than one answer – the simplified version, and the “spent my whole life researching it” extended version.
The Story of Stuff is a 2007 short film about the material economy. It’s a politically-charged challenging look at the state of consumerism, prompting critics like Glen Beck, formerly of Fox News, to refer to it as an “anti-capitalist tale that unfortunately has virtually no facts correct.”
That means it has to be good, right?
The Story of Stuff
The original film has attracted widespread praise and some serious criticism, which makes it a great point for debate. There’s no denying much of what the video says above is true – that a western lifestyle of consumerism is devouring resources, clouding government and not necessarily benefiting the everyman.
Then again, there has been a lot of knee-jerk defensive action from critics, citing an environmental agenda (which the film makes no attempt of hiding) and, unsurprisingly, attacks from free-marketeers. The film itself was shown in elementary schools, arts programs and economic classes, so if your children have seen it so should you.
The Story of Bottled Water
According to some, there’s no greater evil in the world than bottled water. A resource we all need to live, bottled water is a million-dollar industry with bottled water costing roughly 2000 times the cost of tap water.
It’s definitely a convenience to be able to buy bottled water while out and about, in fact I did this out of necessity just yesterday. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a wasteful process though, and something’s wrong when you’ve got the vice chairman of Pepsi saying “the biggest enemy is tap water” in a bid to get us to open our wallets.
The Story of Cosmetics
Ever wondered what’s in all that stuff you put on your face, hair and skin? The cosmetic industry is arguably one of the most unnecessary of the many fuelled by our buying habits, yet most people spend thousands per year on looking and smelling great – but at what cost?
You should already be aware that your average shampoo contains a cocktail of hard-to-pronounce chemicals, many of which haven’t been tested, others which are linked to diseases you really don’t want. The Story of Cosmetics takes a look at the ingredients, process and marketing behind cosmetic products.
The Story of Electronics
Considering you’re reading an article on a tech blog, there’s a chance you know a thing or two about electronics – but do you know much about where they come from? Why is it cheaper to often replace a failing appliance outright, rather than have it repaired? And where does it all end up?
The Story of Electronics sheds some light on the concept of “designed for the dump” and the new coming of take back laws, that put manufacturers in a greater position of responsibility for the products they produce.
The Story of Solutions
A country’s gross domestic product is a hallowed number designed to demonstrate the might of the economy, but does a better economy really mean a better life? Or a better future? Is money and the overall number spent indicative of a quality of life?
Another video that (unsurprisingly) is bound to divide opinion, The Story of Solutions supposes that we’re spending too long tackling issues that don’t matter a whole deal while more important issues slip by the wayside.
Whether you loved every word of these unashamedly pro-environmental videos or decided they were misleading and a bit too idealistic for your tastes, you can head over to The Story of Stuff’s website to watch a few more and stay up to date with the latest films.
Do you think these videos are good for a school audience? Discuss, below!