Recently I had to watch “The Story of Stuff” for my English class at university. With such alarming facts and numbers Anne Leonard throws out there, the typical response is to feel guilty. However, as I watched I just kept thinking, “This is nonsense, yeah right, and what is her point?” With such sketchy sounding facts I decided to do some research on what she said, this is what I found.
According to the Story of Stuff, “It’s the government’s job to take care of us.” However, the document that lays out the government’s job, our constitution, makes no mention of “taking care of us.” As a matter of fact, amendment IX states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Since it is not the government’s power, nor the state’s power, it is our on responsibility to “take care of” ourself. While petty, it just shows that right from the beginning of Anne’s rant, that she is incapable of expressing the truth, and instead chooses to display she has a socialistic agenda.
She also goes on to state that 50% of our federal tax money goes to the military. By grouping some departments together and counting them as military in nature one could come up with that number, but out of that 50% stat, 18% of it goes to veteran support. Veterans are hardly actively engaged in our current military. While she can call herself honest with this, she intentionally refuses to break down the number because it will show the truth behind “the truth.”
Anne Leonard also said, “”Of the top 100 economies in the world, 51 are corporations.” Well there are 195 countries on the planet, and economies are measured by the gross domestic product. The GDP is made of sales in which the company is based in the country in which the GDP is being measured. When calculating the GDP imports are subtracted because it is a foreign supply. Along with that the goods sold under the table are not counted, and would account for millions of dollars additional brought into the economy. Out of the 195 countries, not all participate in wealth building. Economies such as the Solomon Islands and portions of New Guinea participate in what is called the subsistence economy, in which the produce exactly what is needed to survive and nothing more. Concluding that up, not all countries participate in the wealth building processes needed to actually have a measurable GDP, and the GDP does not include all sales. However when a company measures sales, every sale is counted. As a matter of fact, there are 40,000 corporations that deal internationally. Local or international sales are included for them, with countries only national sales are counted. So it is just common sense that companies could make up a lot of the world economy. They are measured differently and are more abundant. There are 195 countries compared to 40,000 international corporations. What does Anne expect? The number she provided of 51 top economies being corporations ma be true, but it again does not break down the numbers and the economies for each group is measured differently, so the number is misleading.
“We have less than 4% of our original forests left.” The United States has about 2,282,510,106 acres of land (numbers range according to who is measuring). So for simplification I will say that all 2,282,510,106 acres is covered in trees (even though we all know is never been that way, the west is grasslands, there are mountains…). 4% of 2,282,510,106 is roughly 91 million. According to the North American Forest Commission there are 747 million acres of forested land. So Anne says that the number is less than 91 million acres, but yet the forest commission says 747 million acres. Seems like someone is lying. I am going to go with the official commission over the already proven deceptive Miss Leonard.
“40% of the waterways have become undrinkable.” First of all, we do not drink from our waterways. The average American does not just go up to a river, dip their head in and drink. We get our drinking water from reserves, not waterways. We purify and treat out water before retail or distribution, so Miss Leonard’s statement is misleading.
“We have 5% of the world’s Population, but we’re using 30% of the worlds Resources” This is a “what is her point” moment. For example, we consume 25% of the energy, however 2 billion people in the world do not even have electricity. Our measly 5% also makes up 22% of the world GDP. We make more of it, we use more of it. Not all economies and societies are even using the resources, so the number is again misleading. Common sense.
“75% of Global fisheries are fished at or beyond capacity” Fisheries are simply fish farms. When we farm anything we harvest it all at the end of the season. To say we harvest our farm to the maximum capacity is again common sense. By her saying this, she is trying to give the impression that we overfish 75% of our water, when that is not the case. We fish our farms to its capacity, just as we harvest our farms to their’s. Misleading.
“80% of the world’s original forests are gone.” She is using her lie of the American deforrestation number included in this fact, so she is just compounding her smaller lie into a larger lie. Notice she also does not give a starting point. “Original?” Starting from when? Compared to the ice age, one could say we have hundreds of percents more forest than we “originally” had.
“Two U.N. studies and even [ecologist Norman] Myers agree closely in their estimates of the Brazilian deforestation rate – between 0.0025 and 0.004 percent per year…[so] even Lovejoy’s “low” assumption would be perhaps 10 times too high.” The lie of rainforest deforestaion being a football field every…, has been proven a lie, but yet it continues to be repeated by others like Anne.
“There are over 100,000 synthetic Chemicals in use in commerce today” She says this as if synthetic chemicals are a bad thing. These synthetic chemicals are used in food, products, medicine… and coincidentally our life span is at all time highs. These chemicals are a large reason why. Just because something is synthetic does not make it bad.
…”or tested for Synergistic Effects” There would be billions of different permutations, and then when different concentrations of each is added, the number of tests needed would literally be in infinity.
“You know what has the highest number of contaminants of any food? Human breast milk.” And yet study after study shows breast milk is best for a new born. Also not all contaminants are harmful. We have levels of arsenic in us as well, a presence of a material does not mean it is harmful. Every substance can be considered poisonous depending on the concentration. The “contaminants” are not at harmful levels. Remember, we can die from water poison, does that count as a contaminant too?
She shows the happiness index going down from WWII, but yet the index was not created until 1972, and debate goes on today about how to accurately measure such a subjective variable. So again, she was lying.
BFR’s are chemically bonded to the computer hardware and can not be breathed in, inhaled, or enter your body unless you literally start eating computer pieces. So what was her point that we use them in computers? Just because something is used, does not mean it harms us. Also BFR’s have failed to be proven dangerous at the concentrations they are used in commercial products. Anne keeps saying corporations are greedy this and that, but she never uses common sense. If a coorporation uses chemicals to kill their consumers, then they have no one to sell their stuff to and would not be able to make money.
This is all I am adding for now. The Story of Stuff is full of lies, deceptions, and misleading statements. Anne Leonard shows she can not display common sense to her argument, but yet teachers around the country show her video to her students while failing to actually research her claims, and never opening up the class for debate.