Skip to main content


fyi, this video is 6:29. A transcript follows.

This is an unofficial, independent, voluntarily produced transcript. All emphases added.
{ } contain transcriber comments

In Season One of The Story of Stuff, we looked at a system that creates way too much stuff and way too little of what we really want. Now we're gonna start looking at the stories behind The Story of Stuff. That's where we'll find ways to turn this situation around.

Welcome to Season Two:

The Story of Change

Why Citizens (Not Shoppers) Hold the Key to a Better World.

{Enter Annie Leonard}

Ever since I learned where our stuff really comes from and how this system is trashing people and the planet, I've been trying to figure out how we can change it. I've read a lot of these {books}. A 100 Ways to Save the Planet Without Leaving Your House. 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. The Little Green Book of Shopping.

I thought these {tip books} might have the answers. But their tips all start here (Distribution: Big Box Mart}, with buying better stuff. And they end here, with recycling all that stuff when I'm done with it. But when it comes to making change, this story of going green {picture of book: $hop Your Way to A Green Planet}, even though we see it everywhere, has some serious shortcomings.
It says that if I become a smarter shopper {fluorescent light bulbs} and tell all my friends to do the same {fair trade coffee}, I've done my part. And if I don't buy all this green stuff, then it's my fault the planet's being destroyed.

Wait a minute! My fault?

I didn't choose to put toxic products on the shelves or allow slave labor in factories around the world.

I didn't choose to fill stores with electronics that can't be repaired and have to be thrown away.

I didn't choose a world in which some people can afford to live green, leaving the rest of us to be irresponsible planet wreckers!

Of course, when we do shop we should buy the least toxic and most fair products we can. But it's not bad shoppers here {distribution} who are the source of the problem. It's bad policies and bad business practices here {the government and the corporation}. And that's why the solutions we really need are not for sale at the supermarket.
If we actually want to change the world, we can't talk only about consumers voting with our dollars. Real change happens when citizens come together to demand rules that work {rally, sign: No Toxics In Our Products}.

Look, it is important to try to live green. As Gandhi said, "be the change." Living our values in small ways shows ourselves and others that we care. So it is a great place to start. But it is a terrible place to stop.

After all, would we even know who Gandhi was if he just sewed his own clothes and then sat back, waiting for the British to leave India?

So how do we make big change?

To answer that question, I went backed and looked at Gandhi, the Anti-Aparthied Movement in South Africa, the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and the environmental victories here in the 1970's. They didn't just nag people to perfect their day-to-day choices, they changed the rules of the game.

It turns out there are three things you find whenever people get together and actually change the world.

FIRST, they share a big idea for how things could be better. Not just a little better for a few people {20% less segregation by 1970}. A whole lot better for everyone. And they don't just tinker around the edges. They go right to the heart of the problem {No segregation}. Even when it means changing systems that don't want to be changed. And that can be scary.
Hey, millions of us already share a big idea for how things could be better. Instead of this dinosaur economy {linear, non-sustainable materials economy} that focuses only on profits, we want a new economy, that puts safe products, healthy people, and a healthy planet first {closed loop production, sustainable economy}.


Isn't that what an economy should be for?

Trying to live eco-perfectly in today's system is like trying to swim upstream, when the current is pushing us all the other way. But by changing what our economy prioritizes, we can change that current so that the right things become the easiest things to do.

SECOND, the millions of ordinary people who made these extraordinary changes didn't try to do it alone. They didn't just say "I will be more responsible." They said "WE will work together until the problem is solved."
Today it's easier than ever to work together. Can you imagine how hard it was to get a message across India in 1930? We can do it now in less than a second.
FINALLY, these movements succeeded in creating change because they took their big idea and their commitment to work together and then they took action.
Did you know that when Martin Luther King, Jr., organized his march on Washington, less than a quarter of Americans {23%} supported him? But that was enough to make change because those supporters took action. They did stuff.


74% of Americans support tougher laws on toxic chemicals.
83% want clean energy laws.
85% think corporations should have less influence in government.

We've got the big idea and the commitment, we just haven't turned it all into massive action yet. And this is our only missing piece.

So let's do it!
{rally, signs: "Corporations Are Not People, 99%, We're Not Broke}

Making real change takes all kinds of citizens, not just protesters. When you realize what you're good at, and what you like to do, plugging in doesn't seem so hard {someone making food for the protesters}. Whatever you have to offer, a better future needs it.

So ask yourself, what kind of changemaker am I?

We need investigators, communicators, builders, resisters, nurturers, and networkers.

At the, you can explore these types of change-makers, and find your first or your next step to take action.

{Link to take the change-maker quiz and/or learn about change-makers.}

Being a responsible citizen starts with voting. That's one of those basic things that everyone's just got to do. But it gets way more exciting and fun when we put our unique skills and interests to work alongside thousands of others.

I know that changing a whole economic system is a huge challenge. It's not easy to see a clear path from where we are today to where we need to go. And there's no ten simple things we can do without leaving our couches.

But the path didn't start out clear to all these guys either {Environmental Movement, Civil Rights Movement, Anti-Apartheid Movement}.

Dr. King said,

faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase
They -

Worked hard to get organized.
Practiced the small acts that built their citizen muscles.
Kept their focus on their big idea.

And when the time was right, they were ready.

It's time for us to get ready too. Ready to make change and write the next chapter in The Story of Stuff.


Personal Action is great and we should do it - we should buy less and shop ethically.

Change the Rules of the Game (our country's attitudes and priorities) for real change.

1) Share a BIG idea -
Not a little idea that helps some - one that makes things a whole lot better for everyone.
Don't just tinker around the edges - go right to the heart of the problem.

2) Use group commitment
Not just "I will be more responsible."
"We will work together until the problem is solved."

3) Take action.

Making change takes all kinds of people -
- Find our what kind of change-maker you are.
- Go to the
- Explore the change-maker roles
- Use your skills, play your role, find your first or next step to take action

Voting is just a basic requirement of citizenship.

Putting your skills to work with others can lead to real change.

Successful change makers should -

Work hard to get organized.
Practice the small acts that build citizen muscles.
Keep focused on their big idea.

So that when the time is right, they'll be ready.



Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺

Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ is a DKos Group. At the same time, specific Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ are also Trade Secrets (heh...) to be revealed to, expanded upon and owned by people who pay attention and participate. :) It's going to take somewhere between 5-10 diaries to lay out the territory. IMO it's very interesting stuff and, of course, it's Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺. So it's got that going for it.

Two other groups, Affordable Sustainable Housing, and Intentional Communities Research and Development also address Stuff That Matters Most™☮ ♥ ☺, as will become evident directly. If I could I would probably put the diaries of those groups in folders for this group. Maybe DKos 6 or something. In lieu of that I will just include links to those groups in diaries of Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺.

When the territory becomes clearer to those paying attention :) I will be inviting contributors and encouraging people to inquire directly with me on that because it is more than one middle-aged, well-meaning curmudgeon can cover, though if there are no takers, I will still try, because, guess what? It Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺.


Previous Stuff That Matters diaries on The Story of Stuff Project:

Stuff That Really Matters™☮ ♥ ☺ 5.24.13 - Growth By Consumption
Stuff That Really Matters
-> Video on YouTube    
-> Video on The Story of Stuff Project website
The Story of Stuff & Netroots Sustainability Dream Job In Berkeley?


Selected Current Diaries That Matter In Other Ways ☮ ♥ ☺

The Evening Blues - 5-24-13 (joeshikspak
The baseless Hoax that is Climate Change Denial (jamess)
Banksters' lobbyists writing financial bills to water down Dodd-Frank (Joan McCarter)
Hellraisers Journal: Paterson Mayor vows gloves are coming off...(JayRaye)
The Beauty of Disruption and Law-Breaking. (alexforgue)
Economics Daily Digest: The real (student) debt crisis (Roosevelt Institute)
What's Happenin'? ☮ ♥ ☺ 5.24.13 (joanneleon)
amphibians & earth - very bad news (Don midwest)

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site