Annie Leonard of 2007’s film The Story of Stuff is back again with The Story of Change, what Leonard is calling season 2 (read: a sequel) to The Story of Stuff. Sticking to her traditional format, the film is available on YouTube, is a mere 6.5 minutes long and covers the issue of how simply purchasing greener products won’t save us or our planet. What’s the charm of her video? She simplifies the content so it is easy to understand no matter who you are and how well or poorly informed you are. But first, let’s take a look into who she is and her previous work.
Leonard made The Story of Stuff with help from Free Range Studios. Her film was essentially a ‘20-minute cartoon about trash’ that, today, has over 15 million views and counting. But Leonard didn’t just stop there. She went on to make other equally as informative and easy to understand movies: The Story of Broke, The Story of Cosmetics, The Story of Cap and Trade, The Story of Electronics, The Story of Bottled Water, and The Story of Citizens United v. FEC.
In her new video, Leonard points out that “consumers voting with their dollars” isn’t the change we need. Instead, the change takes place when citizens demand for a change in the rules from their government. Leonard explains in the video:
“It is important to try to live green. As Gandhi said, ‘Be the change.’ Living our values in small ways shows ourselves and others that we care. So it is a great place to start, but it is a terrible place to stop. After all, would we even know who Gandhi was if he just sowed his own clothes and sat back waiting for the British to leave India?”
Leonard shares what she believes are the 3 major steps to making a change, while comparing the steps to Gandhi’s freedom fighters and the civil rights movement in the United States: (1) Sharing a big idea that will make things better (2) Make a commitment to work together to solve the problem (3) Take action.
While it may seem impossible to make a change and get people to care, Leonard argues it can be done. She points out that when Martin Luther King organized his first march on Washington, less than a quarter of Americans supported his cause. In comparison, we stand at a far more promising stage today with 74 percent of American supporting tougher laws for toxic chemicals, 83 percent support clean energy laws and 85 percent believe corporations should have less influence in the government.
The gist of her video is that we need to take action now. And she’s correct. Recent studies are showing that consumers are losing interest in purchasing green products. The fourth annual Greendex report studied 17,000 consumers in 17 countries, and found that consumers are aware of the consequence but do not feel guilty for their “not so green” purchases. The Greendex report asked questions about behavior including energy use, conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the use of green products versus conventional products, attitudes toward the environment and sustainability and knowledge of environmental issues.
Want to know what you can do? Take a moment to watch Leonard’s video below and check out The Story of Change website for tips on where to start.