Sunday, October 18, 2009

BVA - "The Story of Stuff"

The Bi-weekly Video Award (BVA) is announced Sunday nights every other week. These videos are stamped with my "Guaranteed to Inspire or Inform" tag. Check out for more.

At first I was hesitant to choose “The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard” as a BVA because of its length. 21 minutes has become an eternity to grab attention on an internet video. However Annie Leonard makes each minute count with her creative style, informative statistics and thought provoking sketches. Granted the video seems targeted for young adults and adolescents but perhaps it’s on point for teens are impressionable and children can have a great affect on their parents’ spending habits.

In the “Story of Stuff” Annie tackles what could be considered the heart of American culture – consumerism. Economics has garnered a great deal of attention in the past year given the global recessions and large wall street bonuses. Less heard of are questions or investigations of how our system works, who benefits and at what cost to both humans and our planet. This video highlights a system of corporate capitalism that values maximizing profits and short term rewards over the general wellbeing of multiple stakeholders – workers, ecosystems and consumers alike.

The video paints a rather stark reality and uses a big brush. As a disclaimer, it makes some assumptions for the viewer and should not be written off as “liberal propaganda” - sustainability is everyone's concern. Many of the issues are more complex than depicted in the video. A former post of mine discusses one such instance – “Walmart – a Preferential Option for the Poor?”. However, with over 7 million views and tens years of investigative research the video seeks to draw attention to a major global issue and reshape the conversation. It has all the ingredients of a BVA.


Jessica said...

The Story of Stuff is a great illustration of American consumerism. It seems hopeless, but Annie Leonard does a good job of putting power back in the individuals hand to will change through their own actions.

Another thought provoking video is the Oreo Video down by the head of Ben and Jerry's. The link is here:

Marco Ambrosio said...

Thanks for the comment Jessica. I will certainly check out the Oreo Video - who knows it may be the next BVA...