The Story of Stuff visits ARC

In the second part of the 3 part series on sustainability, Professor Rick Topinka & the Center for Teaching & Learning presented Allison Cook from the Story of Stuff Project to discuss what goes into the making of one of the most watched environmental-themed online movies of all time.

Raef Hall was packed as she shared her story of realization that talking about environmental sustainability was not a political discussion, but one of a responsible citizen. One cartoon in her program for instance showed a person in a strong man pose that asked the question “which muscle are you flexing, your citizen muscle or your consumer muscle?”

From their latest short film, The Story of Change

I’ve come to see that we have

two parts to ourselves; it’s almost like two muscles – a consumer muscle and a citizen muscle. Our consumer muscle, which is fed and exercised constantly, has grown strong. So strong that “consumer” has become our primary identity, our reason for being. We’re told so often that we’re a nation of consumers that we don’t blink when the media use “consumer” and “person” interchangeably.

Meanwhile, our citizen muscle has gotten flabby. There’s no marketing campaign reminding us to engage as citizens. On the contrary, we’re bombarded with lists of simple things we can buy or do to save the planet, without going out of our way or breaking a sweat.


My favorite question asked on this day, What kind of changemaker are you? So, really–what kind of changemaker are you?

Some of the other videos on their site you can check out:

  • The Story of Broke
  • The Story of Change
  • The Story of Citizens United v. FEC
  • The Story of Electronics
  • The Story of Cosmetics
  • The Story of Bottled Water
  • The Story of Cap & Trade

Annie Leonard founded the non-profit Story of Stuff Project in 2008 to respond to tens of thousands of viewer requests for more information and ways to get involved. Be sure to click the big Facebook LIKE button, follow them on Twitter and share their YouTube vids!

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