An eye-opening insight into what goes into the making of everyday stuff and the harm it is doing to us all,
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This review is from: The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health - and a Vision for Change: How Our Problem ... and Our Health - and What to Do About It (Paperback)
In the fantasy world of "The Matrix" energy from human beings is drained from their bodies to power the ruling machines. People are brainwashed to believe they have their own self-determined lifestyle - whilst in reality their "lives" are a fiction and they exist only in a bath of weird gloop. "The Story of Stuff" will make you wonder if you should sit up and wipe the gloop from your eyes!
It may be fantastical to suggest that the "machine" is running things and we are the machine's energy supply, but in reality nobody doubts that without us the capitalist "machine" would grind to a halt. We DO power the machine. We make the machine work and with the money the machine pays us we buy the stuff the machine tells us we need. "Hang on" you say "I'm the consumer, not the consumed. I decide what I buy. I need all that stuff". Yeah right - all of it? Keep taking the pills (do you prefer the red pill or the blue pill?).
Read this book and you'll see what I mean. Apologies to those who haven't seen the film. "The Matrix" analogy is my own (humorous) take on the book - its not what Anne Leonard says. What she says is based on years of research into the materials economy, supply chains and the way people live. It seems very factual, is a totally absorbing read and even if it turned out that 80% of those facts are wrong (and I don't believe they are), it is very clear that we need to change the way we are using and disposing of the planet's resources. This book will leave you in no doubt that what we're doing now is completely unsustainable.
Don't worry, this is not a gloomy read. Anne Leonard writes with good humour and points to lots of positive examples where simple changes are making a real difference. Often these differences are MORE "profitable" for business not less. The book reveals some truly shocking facts about toxic chemicals hidden within everyday products. We aren't all chemists, so how could we know that this or that ingredient in shampoo, or make-up could harm us or our children? We would never imagine that manufacturers would be allowed to put harmful things in stuff they sell us. Or that we could unwittingly be harming other people by the stuff we buy.
The good news is that we can change all of this. Our own individual actions on a day-to day basis can influence how the world develops and help to provide a safe, enjoyable and sustainable environment for our kids and future generations. This book does a good job of pointing us in the right direction with lots of practical advice.