The Story of Stuff

Got 20 minutes? Of course you do. Watch “The Story of StuffThe Story of Stuff promo image” and learn about how we’re killing ourselves and each other with corporate power, government subservience to corporate power, unsustainable development, marketing, and the linchpin that keeps it all going: shopping for stuff we really don’t need (and will likely throw away less than a year after we get it).

What can we do about this?

Free software can play a role here. Annie Leonard talks about her 5-year old computer, a model that looks huge compared to other sleek modern computers. I’m using a 10-year old computer right now to type this message. I’ve been keeping my computer going without forgoing security, software updates, or modern online conveniences by using free software. Sure, I can’t play the latest video games on this computer, it’s too slow for all of the very latest 3D free software games. But that’s a secondary issue; I don’t need games to get work done and there are plenty of free software games I can play.

I can do all the things most people do on their computers: watch movies, read email, surf the web, play music, and chat with my friends. I upgrade small parts of my computer hardware occasionally when things fail such as replacing a hard drive and adding a new DVD burner when my old CD burner stopped burning CDs. I plan to use this computer until it simply won’t run anymore.

The key is changing the priorities of our lives: I spend more time away from my computer now so I can get some exercise. By prioritizing my software freedom above following the latest glitzy trends, I can use less than the latest model of computer. When I can’t run this computer anymore, I’ll spend a little extra money to get a computer that will last another 10 years and keep it going.

The XO-1 is an impressively low-power computer with a monitor that doesn’t contain as much mercury as common LCD monitors. The XO-1 also has some recyclable parts. The XO-1 shows by example that we can make better computers. I hope the technology that goes into innovative machines like the XO-1 make it into popular mainstream computers.

Get it for yourself

The Story of Stuff is compelling however it took far too long for my ordered copy to arrive. Feedback from the producers indicated that they are overwhelmed by the number of orders for the DVD. The signed slip of paper that came with my copy of the DVD says that I should “Feel free to copy and share it freely for any non-commercial use” so I am.

Download The Story of Stuff

You can also order a copy for someone else and give the $10. In any case, enjoy the downloaded version now.

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