7.1.10 Environmental Empowerment!

Today on Radio Uprising, we investigated methods of empowering ourselves through environmental action!

In-studio Piece:
First, Raeva reported on The Story of Stuff, a 20 minute documentary about the way we treat our stuff, from start to finish: extraction from nature, production in factories, distribution through stores, consumption through purchases, and disposal. Raeva composed a special write-up and read it on air:

Only in the past few years has the word “green” metamorphosed from merely a color to a way of life. When examining the sweeping trend, one can only wonder who’s behind it. Annie Leonard is the author and host of the documentary film, The Story of Stuff, the author of the book, The Story of Stuff, and the director of The Story of Stuff Project. The Story of Stuff is the astonishing and groundbreaking tale of what it takes for the innumerable things we buy everyday to pass through our money-stained fingertips, and what happens after we trash just about 99% of it in less than 6 months. For nearly twenty years, Annie Leonard explored 40 different countries, researching the materials economy. By that time, she had acquired more than enough information on the topic to spread her vast wealth of knowledge, so she took to giving speeches and doing all she could to get the word out. As she explains in the documentary, our society’s nonchalant way of flipping through consumer goods like television channels is, “a system in crisis… it’s a linear system on a finite planet”, and that is clearly not something that can run infinitely. Her discoveries did not go unnoticed. Free Range Studios teamed up with Ms. Leonard to produce The Story of Stuff, as a documentary in 2007. Receiving a chart-topping 10 million views and counting, the phenomenal success that was The Story of Stuff spawned The Story of Stuff Project in June 2008, an organization lead by Annie Leonard that worked to do more research along the same lines, and work in innovative ways to educate more and more people.

In my opinion, one of the most stunning, yet more than slightly unnerving fruitions of the research is revealing the truth behind why our country is in this crazy cycle of continuous consumption. For youth such as us today, like ice cream, the telephone, and cars, the problems of our world are not a result of our own actions, they have been thrust upon us to deal with, so understanding the root causes of our situations is critical, as we were not there to watch the history preceding us unfold. A clear example of our county’s problem is the amount of oil we use. A 2003 textbook study on BP showed that the country that consumes the most amount of oil is the U.S. by a large margin. Out of the 27 oil refineries BP owns, 8 are located in the U.S. In The Story of Stuff, Ms. Leonard explains, “We have become a nation of consumers… not mothers, teachers, farmers, but consumers.” But the problem started after World War II, when the government and large corporations were working to rebuilt the American economy. The documentary cites Victor Lebough, the economic advisor to the President, “Our enormously productive economy… demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption… we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever accelerating rate.” After watching The Story of Stuff Project’s three documentaries (The Story of Stuff, The Story of Bottled Water, and The Story of Cap and Trade, with a fourth and fifth, The Story of Cosmetics, and The Story of Electronics coming soon), we at Radio Uprising are so honored to be featuring in this week’s episode an exclusive interview with none other than Ms. Allison Cook, the Special Projects Coordinator who has been with the Project since the original film debuted in 2007, and one of the only three staff members at the Story of Stuff Project.


Pre-recorded Interview

Next, we played the interview with Allison Cook. Special thanks to Allison for taking the time to speak with us!

Full audio here:

To watch "The Story of Stuff," and to learn more about the Story of Stuff project in general, please visit:

Following our Story of Stuff segment, we played part of another Story of Stuff documentary -- "The Story of Bottled Water." To watch The Story of Bottled Water, please visit: www.storyofbottledwater.com

Quotes from the studio:
"Now, when we watched this yesterday, we got to thinking about Cleveland tap water beating Fiji bottled water in taste tests, and wondering if the same would hold true for Poughkeepsie. So we took a blind taste-test of three different kinds of water. We drank cups of water from three samples, and took notes about which one we thought was the tap water. As it turns out, most of us guessed “C” was the tap water, because it smelled like chlorine! And “C” was indeed the tap water. It’s funny, because the Story of Bottled Water had us thinking tap water would taste just as good, if not better than, bottled water. But we all agreed “C” was our least favorite. And it was even tap water filtered through a Brita – and it still tasted like chlorine! Maybe Poughkeepsie is one of those places the documentary mentions where public water just isn’t clean."

PSA 1: Dutchess Peace Coalition
PSA 2: Middle East Crisis Response

Pre-recorded Interviews
After that, we turned to empowerment of a different nature. Recently, Children’s Media Project teamed up with Verizon and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to create a series of video PSAs about internet safety for gay, lesbian, queer and questioning youth. We interviewed Mayor John Tkazyik, as well as Mary Jane Carger from GLSEN, and a few City of Poughkeepsie council people.

Mayor John and Catherine Gasteyer of Verizon:

Mary Jane Carger of GLSEN:

Councilwoman Mary Solomon, Councilman Bob Mallory, and Councilman Tom Parisi:

In-studio Piece

Finally, Amanda read a list of ways that youth can change their lives to positively impact the environment.

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