Annie Leonard did not realize that when she started giving talks about consumerism and where all “our stuff” comes from that it would turn into a documentary and something big, but sparking angry criticism from the American Right about the attack on government and the American Dream.
“The Story of Stuff” is a documentary, a book, and a dialogue about how Western consumer society works, often to the detriment of the developing world and the environment, in terms of resources used and pollution produced.
Leonard is an American proponent of sustainability and a critic of the excessive consumerism that dogs Western society and is now being picked up in the developing world.
According to her bio on The Story of Stuff, Leonard has spent nearly two decades investigating and organizing on environmental health and justice issues. She has traveled to 40 countries, visiting literally hundreds of factories where our stuff is made and dumps where our stuff is dumped. Witnessing first hand the horrendous impacts of both over- and under- consumption around the world, Leonard is fiercely dedicated to reclaiming and transforming our industrial and economic systems so they serve, rather than undermine, ecological sustainability and social equity.
Leonard is currently the director of The Story of Stuff Project. Prior to this, most recently, Leonard coordinated the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, a funder collaborative seeking to address the hidden environmental and social impacts of current systems of making, using and throwing away all the stuff of daily life.
She has also worked with GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives), Health Care Without Harm, Essential Action and Greenpeace International.
Leonard is currently on the boards of International Forum for Globalization and GAIA and has previously served on the Boards of the Grassroots Recycling Network, the Environmental Health Fund, Global Greengrants India and Greenpeace India. She did her undergraduate studies at Barnard College, Columbia University and graduate work in City and Regional Planning at Cornell, both in New York.
Sources: The Story of Stuff, AlterNet
Penn State University interview with Annie Leonard
Story of Stuff – Full Version