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Our View-Environmental video no major threat to capitalism

Before we delve into the point of this article, let’s remind ourselves of our current situation: We’re in the worst economy since the Great Depression, global climate change is finally a reality, 80 percent of the world’s forests are gone and someday soon we will run out of oil.

With that said, what good comes out of capitalism except perhaps the ability to live beyond our means for a few generations?

Since 2007, more than 5.5 million people have viewed a 20-minute video “The Story of Stuff” created by environmental advocate Annie Leonard. “The Story of Stuff” is about just that, our stuff, the things we buy everyday and toss the next.

According to many educators, there is little-to-no information in textbooks that describes global climate change. The video has been making its way through thousands of schools filling the gap between environmental education of yesterday, and the realities of the present and future. This video is essential because it informs students about what happens to the things we consume and the effects humans are having on our planet.

Leonard’s video has received praise from educators and viewers across the nation and has won a SXSW Interactive Award as an educational resource. With all the attention and acclaim, opposition was sure to crop up. According to The New York Times, at least one parent has a major issue.

Mark Zuber, the parent of a high school student, was upset when his child viewed the video in class — claiming it was anti-capitalist. Well, Mr. Zuber, what is so anti-capitalist about environmental sustainability?

Everything in the video is true: products are “designed for the dump,” 99 percent of the stuff that runs through the system in North America is trashed within six months, we use more than our share, we are wasteful and corporations are out to make as much money as they can.

We like things cheap and disposable, and consumers have consumed a bit too much. The fact is, all of our environmental issues are a direct result of capitalism. There is nothing anti-capitalist about this video and we should not be afraid to let youth explore the harmful byproducts of capitalism.

In the video, corporations are portrayed as a fat man in a top hat. So what — they are. Pro-sustainability does not equal anti-capitalism. It seems like there is a persistent shit-talking parade every time issues about the environment — a place where we all reside — is raised. Why?

Perhaps the reasons lie in the corporations themselves. They don’t want to spend money to change their destructive ways. They don’t want to make less toxic, sustainable products because it will cost them more and make them less money.

Who is educating our youth about how our actions today can and will manifest in the future? Should we leave it up to films like “Wall-E” to teach us how to behave responsibly in the wake of rampant consumption?

We should allow teachers to do their jobs and educate our youth with the facts. Being paranoid that a short environmental video is a threat to all things dear and capitalist won’t heal our planet.
 

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