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The story of stuff

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Do you have one of this? I got a little obsessed with mine. In fact I got a little obsessed with all my stuff. Have you ever wondered where all the stuff we buy, comes from and where it goes when we throw it out?

I couldn't stop wondering about that. So it looked it up. And what the text book said, is that stuff moves through a system from extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal. All together, it's called the materials economy. Well, I looked into it a little bit more.

In fact, I spent ten years travelling the world, tracking where our stuff comes from and where it goes. And you know what I found out? That is not the whole story. There's a lot missig from explanation. For one thing, this system looks like it's fine. No problem. But the truth is it's a system in crisis. And the reason it is in crisis is that it is a linear system and we live on a finite planet and you can not run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely. Every step along the way, this system is interacting with the real world. In real life it's not happening on a blank white page. It's interacting with societies, cultures, economies, the environment. And all along the way, it's bumping up against limits. Limits we don't see here because the diagram is incomplete. So let's go back through, let's fill in some of the blanks and see what's missing. Well, one of the most important things it is people, yes people.

People live and work all along this system. And some people in this system matter a little more than others; some have a little more say. Who are they?

Well, let's talk with the goverment. Now my friends tell me I should use a tank to symbolise the government and that's true in many countries and increasingly our own, after all more than 50% of our federal tax money is now going to the military,

but I'm using a person to simbolyze the government because I hold true to the vision and values that the governments should be

of the people, by the people, for the people. It's the governments job to watch out for us, to take care of us. That's their job. Then along came the corporatiom.

Now, the reason, the corporation looks bigger than the government is that the corporation is bigger than the government. Of the 100 largest economies on the Earth now, 51 are corporations. As the corporations have grown in size and power, we've seen a little charge in the government where they are a little more concerned in making sure everything is working out for those guys than for us. Ok, so let's see what else is missing from this picture.

We'll start with extraction which is a fancy world for natural resource exploitation which is a fancy world for trashing the planet. What this looks like is we chop down trees, we blow up mountains to get the metals inside, we use up all the water and we wipe out the animals. So here we are running up against our first limit.

Video Details

Duration: 21 minutes and 31 seconds
Country: Spain
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: nataliarequena
Views: 249
Posted by: nataliarequena on Apr 22, 2013

It's a video that explains how the stuff is made .

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