You need to know the Story of Stuff – It matters!

10 05 2009

the story of stuff

After September 11th, then President Bush told us all to go shopping.  Because America is a nation of consumers, and consumerism is the prime constituent or definition of our identities.  But it’s no secret that consumerism is evil (and that it’s not the best way to deal with a traumatic terrorist attack).  Everyone should watch The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard.  It is a short and excellent video that breaks down American consumerism and sums up why “stuff” and buying stuff is such a major problem in this country.

Leonard starts with extraction – using the planet’s resources for all of our needs and wants.  What’s the problem here?  Well, we are using too much stuff, especially more stuff than we need, and this creates inequities in the world where people are deprived of basic necessities while we are basking in luxuries of stuff we don’t actually need.  Not only are we using a ton of stuff that we don’t need, but we are also selfishly hogging up that stuff and not sharing with other people or countries that need them.  The way we get all the stuff that we don’t need is harmful to the planet, and we’re extracting stuff at a faster rate than the stuff can replenish itself.  This is not sustainable.

The second part of The Story of Stuff is about productionSo many problems here.  Most production occurs in factories with toxic chemicals and severely underpaid and mistreated workers.  First of all, toxic chemicals = toxic toys for children, toxic food for everyone, health problems for workers, environmental problems, etc.  Secondly, since the US realizes that toxic chemicals and poor working conditions create serious health, environmental and ethical issues, we outsource this to other countries.  Aren’t we brilliant?!  We bring our toxic chemicals and wastes over to other countries where we can exploit people and their resources.

Next is distribution – this is about actually getting our stuff.  The point of this is to transport and to sell stuff as quickly and cheaply as possible.  The price tags on the stuff we buy do not accurately represent the cost and human effort that went into making them (this is called externalizing the costs).  So while prices may seem dirt cheap (like a $4.99 radio that she mentions in the video) and like great bargains, they actually are not.  The expenses (our environment, our children, ourselves) of having such cheap prices (Walmart) are high.

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Kenyan Man Sues Over Sex Boycott

10 05 2009

A Kenyan man has sued activists over the recent Lysistrata-like protest in which women were asked to boycott sex in protest of the growing divide in the nation’s coalition government.

Although the ban only lasted seven days, James Kimondo is claiming that the his lack of conjugal rights resulted in lack of sleep, backaches, stress, and mental anguish.  Kimondo is seeking unspecified damages from G-10, an umbrella group for woman’s activism organizations.

The ban began as a protest of the tense relationship between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. An unstable coalition government formed after post-election violence which killed more than 1,000 people in 2008. Relations between Kibaki and Odinga are increasingly tense, and many Kenyans fear that more violence is possible.

The ban called on all women, including sex workers and the wives of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga, to join the cause and withhold sex for a week.  Odinga’s wife, Ida was fully in support of the protest, stating “I will not get into what my husband thinks, but I will say leaders need to focus on the things that affect our people, and I hope the publicity from this campaign will raise awareness on those issues. ”

“We cannot allow our leaders to argue over non-issues while relegating the issues that affect this country to the back burner. When this happens, women suffer the most,” said Ann Njogu, director of Centers for Rights Education and Awareness.  The ban was meant to draw spouses into the political conversation and spur women to make political change.

Njogu is not worried about the lawsuit.  “I have not been served with the papers, but I was told they are coming and I am eagerly waiting,  It will be interesting to see the face of a man who is not willing to abstain for the sake of his country,” she said.

Njogu insists that the ban was successful despite the lawsuit:  “The principal leaders met as a result of the boycott, and I understand that they are setting up reforms to look into the country’s internal security.”

Boycotting sex appears to have terrified some power-holders enough to spur some change, and has brought the taboo topic of sex to the forefront of the discussion and politics in Kenya.  Hopefully the ridiculousness of Kimondo’s case will be realized in court.  However, his attitude about his entitlement to his wife’s body alludes to a larger global patriarchy in which women are so often treated as possessions and consent is not thought to be necessary (especially within marriage or relationships).

Gmail Targeted Advertising MAJOR FAIL

10 05 2009

Whenever I check my Gmail inbox (which is quite frequently since I am a compulsive email checker), I just want to laugh at the ads that show up on my sidebar:

How to Keep a Man in Love – Learn the “Secret Psychology” for getting a man hooked for good.

This shows up so often, it’s ridiculous.  Gmail seems to be convinced that I’m dying to know what this “Secret Psychology” to get a man hooked for good is.  Without this “Secret Psychology” I’m doomed to a life of single spinsterdom and lots of cats.

PassionUp Greeting ECards – Free animated ecards, friendship, romantic and love letters.

Good to know that there’s a free resource for me to send my romantic love letters to my special someone.

Does He Really Love You? – Is your relationship sizzling or fizzling?  Numerology has the answer.

Uh-huh.  I will be sure to use this to make sure that he really does love me.

Breaking Up Guide – Letting go with grace.  Feel good about your choices.

So this is in the event that I do get my hands on this “Secret Psychology” but then realize that I actually don’t want this man hooked for good.

Voodoo by Papa Jorge – Specializing in love problems.  Reuniting lovers.

This is in case I want to get back together with “Mr. Right”.  Or to get back at him.

Love Spells – Skyla Price Love Spell Worker.  Want your lover back, call today!

A love spell!  Aha!  Exactly what I was looking for!

Women’s Abs Routine – Learn how to get killer abs.

Killer abs will help me get a man for sure.

I Lost My Love Handles – How I Lost 25 pounds in 25 weeks following two simple rules.

Oh, please.  Gmail seems to think that I am preoccupied with getting killer abs and losing my love handles.

Defeat Mean Girls – Understand and overcome women bullies in this free, helpful article.

All I have to say: LOL.

Tufts – Can you get in? – Get your percentage chance of admission.  Accuracy guaranteed.

Um, I actually did get into Tufts since I go there now.

Lumbar Fusion Procedures – Get gentle alternatives to a spine fusion.  Just 5 days to a new you!

Lower back surgery?  What?!  Something that never even crossed my mind.

Gmail, you really don’t know me well at all.

Happy Mother’s Day!

10 05 2009

when i grow up