Story of Stuff Creator Asks: Can Shopping Save the World?

>> Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Annie Leonard, creator of the award-winning online video The

Story of Stuff hears the question every day: "I'm only one person - what can I do to change things?"

Faced with daunting environmental and social problems, many people think the best they can do to influence change is to buy green or fair-trade products. But in her new video, The Story of

Change, Leonard says conscious consumerism is a great place to start, but a terrible place to stop.

"If we really want to create a more sustainable and just future," says Leonard, "we have to move
beyond voting with our dollars and come together as citizens to demand rules that work. It's time to put down the credit cards and pick up a picket sign."

The Story of Change, Leonard's latest collaboration with Free Range Studios, will be released July 17 at Her previous seven movies have been viewed a total of more than 20 million times since 2007. (A trailer and preview of The Story of Change are available now at

Leonard was inspired to make the film by thousands of interactions with audience members, who frequently ask what they can do to change the take-make-waste system that's threatening the planet and its people.

"When I asked what they thought they could do, far too often I was met with individualistic, consumer-centric ideas," she says. "I can buy organic. I can take a resuable bag to the store. I can ride my bike. Those are good things to do, but they ignore the real source of our power: coming together as engaged citizens."

The 6-minute film includes an inspiring exploration of what effective changemaking has looked like throug history-from Gandhi to the Civil Rights Movement to the victories of the early environmental movement. It spotlights the elements found whenever and wherever people unite to make change: a Big Idea, a commitment to working together, and the ability to turn that idea and commitment into action.

Leonard also shows how it takes all kinds of people to make change and profiles a range of changemaker identities. The Story of Change ends with a question for viewers: "Which kind of changemaker are you?"

At a companion website,, viewers can take an interactive quiz to help them identify their changemaker persona - and chart a path for their own citizen engagement. The Story of Change is the last of the The Story of Stuff Project's Season Two movies, which tell the stories behind The Story of Stuff-what makes our economic system tick, who pays, who benefits and how can we turn it around. The season's previous movies-The Story of Broke

(November 2011) and The Story of Citizens United v. FEC (March 2011 )-have been viewed more than 750,000 times.


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