Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard


 I've been re-reading "The Story of Stuff" by Annie Leonard.  I first read this book early last year and didn't realise at the time, but it was a life changing book.

Annie deals with the whole system of the things we buy right from the raw materials, through the manufacture, getting the stuff to us, buying it, using and disposal, and in this look she identifies the real cost behind the stuff that fills our lives. 

In just one example, she talks about the real cost of cheap t-shirts when you take into account the water cost of the crop, the mono-cropping mentality, the chemicals used in manufacture and how they affect the workers, how little the workers who sew the garments are paid and their work conditions, how much it costs to ship the shirt to us, and then to have the shirt bought so cheaply and not valued fully for its impact on our world.  And this is just one of many-many stories on everyday things.

This particular story really made me think. Right away I started to consider the effect of unnecessary consumerism on my world and then to re-consider all my purchases. 

Without realising over the last 12 months, I have bought almost no new clothing for myself or my family (we have so many already).  I also have started to try and repair rather than replace and to also re-consider unnecessary technological upgrades that are really not offering anything new I need.

I have also started to really look at how far items travel to get to me, and to purchase local where I can for everything from food to gifts. I also try and buy good made locally as well as sold locally.

I try and incorporate recycled goods where I can in my life, as well as try to recycle as much as I can to others. Even my craft has been influenced - finding low impact options where I can.

This book is a challenge to read but can leave you a better person.  If you like a challenge, try it out.

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