The Story of Stuff (Annie Leonard) - Free Press - 2010 - 318 pages

We are all going to hell!  Author Leonard, who is a former employee of Greenpeace and Ralph Nader, presents a well-researched indictment of the human way of life that is poisoning the planet with no end in sight.  This book follows the very popular video of the same name.  Ms. Leonard hates polyvinyl chloride, aluminum cans, strip-mining, clear-cutting, designer tee-shirts, jewelry, oil addiction, junk mail, electronic gadgets and selfish corporations, among other things.  Don't we all?  She started her quest for truth with a curiosity about the garbage cycle and turned it into an obsession.  The book and video are important tools that have raised the awareness level of many concerned citizens.  Ms. Leonard seems to blame "capitalism" for the problem in her Introduction.  However, if capitalism is so bad, what is a better system?  For me, this very smart book contains more questions than answers.  Appendix 1 lists 25 laws and reforms that she believes "can improve humanity's well-being and the state of the planet."  None of these has any chance of enactment under the current political climate that is controlled by corporate interests.  What is not stated in the book (but should be) is that the most important things that concerned individuals can do are to elect earth-friendly candidates for local, state and national offices, and to dismiss those who stand in the way of progress.  Read this book and vote accordingly! [JAM 4/22/2011 "Earth Day"]