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Annie Leonard and the Story of Solutions

Annie Leonard

Annie Leonard releases the final video in her Story of Stuff series, “The Story of Solutions.”

Annie Leonard. First she nailed the causes—and dire consequences—of resource overconsumption in her 2007 video, “The Story of Stuff.” Then over the course of several episodes, she delved into the dirty details of our economy, covering topics from the false promise of cap and trade and why we need to get money out of politics, to abuse of government subsidies and why eco-shopping is not the answer to environmental destruction.

Leonard’s videos aren’t all critique—she almost always ends on an inspirational note, empowering viewers to stand up and demand a clean earth and fair economy. But her latest video focuses on the cumulative effect of these actions: changing the goal of the economic game itself.

“The problems we’ve been busy solving are not the problems that most need solving,” she says. “So much focus has gone into faster, cheaper, newer that we’ve actually lost ground on things like safer, healthier, and more fair. It’s as if we’re getting better and better at playing the wrong game.” Instead of the goal being more, we need to work toward better.

It’s the final episode of the Story of Stuff series, but Ariel Schwartz of Fast Co.Exist reports it won’t be the last we hear from Leonard. She’ll be fielding questions this fall in “Ask Annie,” another video series for the Story of Stuff Project. The nonprofit organization will also be hosting an online “boot camp” for activists and aspiring political leaders.

Read former Utne editor Jay Walljasper’s interview with Annie Leonard.