Title: [GreenYes] Annie Leonard is a Time Hero of the Environment for 2008
By Bryony Schwan
My friends often don't believe me when I say I can spend an entire evening
listening to stories about garbage and be completely mesmerized. That's
because they haven't met Annie Leonard. She has been relentlessly
explaining the absurdity of our throwaway culture to me and many others
for decades. While her mastery of detail is impressive, it's her
passionate style that transforms bleak facts into emotive stories that
compel you to take action.
Leonard knew her story needed to reach as many people as possible to make
a real difference. So, in 2007, she made it viral through an infectious
online film called The Story of Stuff. Within six months, more than 3
million viewers from around the world watched the film. The Story of Stuff
effectively and often humorously explains where all our stuff comes from,
what resources are used to create it, whose lives are affected during its
production, and where it goes when we discard it. While this all sounds
familiar enough, it's Leonard's poignant questions and provocative
truth-telling that help us see the profound stupidity of this system.
Leonard has spent the last 20 years raising awareness of environmental
health and justice issues, working with organizations such as the Global
Anti-Incinerator Alliance, Health Care Without Harm, Greenpeace
International and the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and
Consumption, which brings together grant makers committed to building a
more sustainable future. She has spent nearly half of her life traveling
to more than 30 countries to witness the environmental impact of casual
consumerism and the travails of those who make what we consume; and she
has spent countless hours working to right these injustices. Which is why
when Leonard talks trash, people cannot help but listen.
Bryony Schwan is executive director of the Biomimicry Institute in Montana
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