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Teachers Promote ‘Wasteful US’ Video

From those destroyers of forests at the New York Times:

A Cautionary Video About America’s ‘Stuff’


May 11, 2009

The thick-lined drawings of the Earth, a factory and a house, meant to convey the cycle of human consumption, are straightforward and child-friendly. So are the pictures of dark puffs of factory smoke and an outlined skull and crossbones, representing polluting chemicals floating in the air.

Which is one reason “The Story of Stuff,” a 20-minute video about the effects of human consumption, has become a sleeper hit in classrooms across the nation.

The video is a cheerful but brutal assessment of how much Americans waste, and it has its detractors. But it has been embraced by teachers eager to supplement textbooks that lag behind scientific findings on climate change and pollution. And many children who watch it take it to heart: riding in the car one day with his parents in Tacoma, Wash., Rafael de la Torre Batker, 9, was worried about whether it would be bad for the planet if he got a new set of Legos.

“When driving by a big-box store, you could see he was struggling with it,” his father, David Batker, said. But then Rafael said, “It’s O.K. if I have Legos because I’m going to keep them for a very long time,” Mr. Batker recalled.

The video was created by Annie Leonard, a former Greenpeace employee and an independent lecturer who paints a picture of how American habits result in forests being felled, mountaintops being destroyed, water being polluted and people and animals being poisoned. Ms. Leonard, who describes herself as an “unapologetic activist,” is also critical of corporations and the federal government, which she says spends too much on the military.

Ms. Leonard put the video on the Internet in December 2007. Word quickly spread among teachers, who recommended it to one another as a brief, provocative way of drawing students into a dialogue about how buying a cellphone or jeans could contribute to environmental devastation.

So far, six million people have viewed the film at its site, storyofstuff.com, and millions more have seen it on YouTube. More than 7,000 schools, churches and others have ordered a DVD version, and hundreds of teachers have written Ms. Leonard to say they have assigned students to view it on the Web.

It has also won support from independent groups that advise teachers on curriculum choices. Facing the Future, a curriculum developer for schools in all 50 states, is drafting lesson plans based on the video. And Ms. Leonard has a contract with Simon & Schuster to write a book based on the video.

The enthusiasm is not universal. In January, a school board in Missoula County, Mont., decided that screening the video treaded on academic freedom after a parent complained that its message was anticapitalist.

But many educators say the video is a boon to teachers as they struggle to address the gap in what textbooks say about the environment and what science has revealed in recent years.

“Frankly, a lot of the textbooks are awful on the subject of the environment,” said Bill Bigelow, the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools, a quarterly magazine that has promoted “The Story of Stuff” to its subscribers and on its Web site, which reaches about 600,000 educators a month. “The one used out here in Oregon for global studies — it’s required — has only three paragraphs on climate change. So, yes, teachers are looking for alternative resources.”

Environmental education is still a young and variable field, according to Frank Niepold, the climate education coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There are few state or local school mandates on how to teach the subject.

The agency is seeking to change that, but in the interim many teachers are developing their own lesson plans on climate change, taking some elements from established sources like the National Wildlife Federation and others from less conventional ones like “The Story of Stuff.”

Ms. Leonard is self-educated on where waste goes and worked for Greenpeace to prevent richer nations from dumping their trash in poorer ones. She produced the video, with the Free Range Studios company, and with money from numerous nonprofit groups; the largest single giver was the Tides Foundation

Most parents take such needling with humor. But Mark Zuber, a parent of a child at Big Sky High School in Missoula, had a stronger reaction when a teacher showed the video to his daughter last year. “There was not one positive thing about capitalism in the whole thing,” Mr. Zuber said.

Corporations, for example, are portrayed as a bloated person sporting a top hat and with a dollar sign etched on its front…

Still, Ms. Leonard is hoping the video will circle the globe. “I’ve heard from teachers in Palestine and Papua New Guinea,” she said. “It is just spreading and spreading.”

As if our union thug ‘teachers’ haven’t done enough damage promulgating Mr. Gore’s mendacious “An Inconvenient Truth.”

By the way, note that this was paid for by the Tides Foundation. The same people who have been putting all of the anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-US, anti-capitalism ‘protesters’ into the streets for years.

What a coincidence, huh?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, May 11th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Teachers Promote ‘Wasteful US’ Video”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    For the love of pete………

    I’ll make a video of a teacher throwing a U.S. History book in the trash can and picking up a “Dreams of My Father” book and reading to the class. Wasting the time meant to educate our children for tomorrows world by indoctrinating them into the Socialist mores of Liberal Shit !!
    (sorry Steve but I gots to calls it hows I sees it!!)

  2. Reality Bytes says:

    Is this another EIT cause this crap is killin’ me.

  3. proreason says:

    Isn’t it becoming more and more clear exactly how concentrated and encompassing the propaganda program aimed at American youth has been, and how successful it has been at undermining everything that has made America the greatest place to live ever.

    I may miss some of the elements, but here are the key ones I see:

    – hatred for traditional American culture.
    – elevation of every culture that is not American. These first 2 together are multiculturalism.
    – de-emphasis of the importance of reading, writing and arithmatic.
    – elevation of self love rather than the benefits of living a responsible and meaningful life.
    – ridicule of the concepts of truth and religion. Elevation of the concept that everything is relative.
    – America has been irresponsible with the environment and precipitated a cataclysmic crisis that could end the world

    Each one of these is a cancer that eats away at our country. Children are taught that our country is bad, that there is no greater good than themselves, and that accomplishments are irrelevant.

    Strangely enough, this is exactly what you would have encouraged if you were a Communist organizer in the 30’s and 40’s with a goal to break down the patriotism and cohesion that Americans had at that time.

    And even more strangely, these are exactly the values that would cause people to vote for an America-hating narcissist who promises everything by claiming to confiscate the property of people who unfairly stole it and to give it no-strings-attached to people who have been convinced it is rightfully theirs.

  4. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “System in (wait for it) CRISIS”

    Kinda says it all right there. If you want people to pay attention…it has to be a CRISIS.

  5. David says:

    I stopped it when it compared little-bitty government with big bad corporations. Here is a question for those in the know here at S&L… is there anything on EARTH that consumes more and produces less than the US Federal Government?
    Yet I would place money that the federal government won’t be subject to the Cap and Trade or any other market killing device.

  6. Trialdog says:

    Well, I watched the whole thing. What I learned is that some people don’t have advanced critical thinking skills and were deprived any access to a broad based educational curriculum in school but still have lots of money and free time to put together shallow ill-informed video propaganda clips.

  7. Wayne from Jeremiah Films says:


  8. Wayne from Jeremiah Films says:

    I’ve linked to your post from a new section on Jeremiah Films Foundations – Education – Activists Teaching Children

  9. beautyofreason says:

    Let’s see…

    1. Bashes Walmart
    2. Views the United States as an international rapist of natural resources
    3. Ignores the prohibitive (and polluting) costs of recycling products that are more easily made new
    4. Big government will “take care of us,” corporations are bad (guess who created the “green” products lady)
    5. Views all third world jobs as exploitation instead of emerging infrastructure and job growth
    6. Views local sustenance of native populations as superior to capitalism and international trade
    7. supports forcing businesses to cover health care of employees
    8. Burning trash is bad (though it provides electricity!)
    9. Prohibiting landfills is good (why??!)

    Let’s see…..see’s anti-capitalist, anti-consumption, anti-corporation, anti-American (we’re imperialistic turds), pro big government, etc…

    I’m just surprised that the lady didn’t offer the doomsday predictions so well-known on the environmental left.

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