Looking at The World Differently

Have you ever heard of a lady called Annie Leonard or a video called the Story of Stuff?

No, I hadn’t either.  Thing is, I’m pleased I have now.

As usual I’m probably 5 years behind everyone else on this but the video is so good I just had to share it.

Annie Leonard narrates a few videos which can be found on-line.

This videos, of which there are many, really stand out for me because they are all extremely down to earth, very simple in their concepts, and easily explain to us all what is wrong with the way we live, the items we buy and the choices that are made for us by people we don’t even know are taking those choices away from us.

The video that set the series going, back in 2007,  is called the Story of Stuff.  It’s 21 minutes long but I promise you it’s worth watching.

Why we need to pay attention

There isn’t anything I feel more instinctive about than Green issues; recycling, energy solutions, transport, consumption etc etc…

When I say instinctive, it’s like I don’t even have to think twice about where I stand on these ideas.  I know how I feel, like it’s religion to me.  So it’s always nice to see others that feel as passionate about this as I do.

This video is even more pertinent because I didn’t go looking for it, it found me when I was just merrily scouting for new information, which is what I do on occasion.

I look out for better information.

It’s fair to say that quite often my opinions, views and reasons have come from three main sources of media in my world; books, TV and magazines.  From that I have gleamed view points on news, documentaries, films, articles, stories…it goes on and on.  But it’s also very limited.  I’ve only known what I’ve been told in the media, so does that make it right?

Do I know the other side to the stories told and is it wise to always believe the news that is broadcast?

A few months ago I decided to give up on the news.  Every time I turned my TV on, or opened up a newspaper, or read news on-line it was always the following:

  • Extremely depressing – it’s news right so it always has to be bad and seemingly exciting while we’re sat comfortably in our lounges drinking wine. We the viewers want to see the violence, the poverty, the budget cuts, the hospital closures – don’t we?
  • Out of reach – all the stories were made more depressing because you can’t possible help any body or anything that is being reported.  It’s always just out or reach.
  • Hardly ever any context to it – I’m not looking for excuses on why someone did something bad but a bit more back ground would be nice.  Or what happens after the devastating event?  Where are the family now etc?
  • Its just 24hrs a day, everywhere – It’s so much harder to switch off if you’re constantly bombarded by news (and information) all the time.  When does it stop?  It leaves me in a constant state of almost anxiety because nothing ever finishes, more just gets added to the flow.

As we are the bystander of this constant stream of news we are left completely in limbo, after being swatted with big stories to be left feeling a range of negative emotions from enraged through to thoroughly fed up and useless.

So I gave it up.  Yup, you can actually do that.  I just decided one day to turn the news off.  No big deal.  I stopped buying newspapers, got rid of all my on-line news feeds and only put the TV on to watch Downton Abbey.

It started off as a 30 day experiment but I haven’t stopped.  I watched news a couple of weeks ago at 10pm and suddenly realised how awful it really was so haven’t tuned in again.

It feels great too.  Not only is there no more devastating stories on what has happened but there isn’t any more stupid reporting on what could happen next week.

Giving up the news left me to concentrate on other areas that I can do something about, my local town, writing, reading about different subjects and learning from them, and on line reading about real people and what they are doing.

Sure I don’t know what’s going on in London, Seattle, Barcelona or any other place…unless I want to know, which to be honest – I don’t because if something did happen in those places I can neither do anything about it, nor help those places.

If it was my home town, my work place, or any of the places my family lived in – now that is important news to be told, these are areas that directly effect me.

We need motivation not cattle prods.

So back to the Story of Stuff.  Well, that’s a whole future post in itself.  It fits nicely into my drive for living simply and consuming less.  After watching the video I felt empowered and not down hearted.

And if I didn’t agree with the concepts of the video it’s okay because someone else (Bless those Americans and their Constitution), has produced a counter argument on the whole thing,  but I’ll save that for another time.  Maybe.

What’s important is that there is a whole world of information out there, just waiting to be found.  You can choose what you want to be told about, or when you should be told it, or how often you should be told it.

It shouldn’t be the other way around.


Cover photo courtesy of Kate Ter Haar


4 responses to “Looking at The World Differently

  1. I made a similar decision to avoid the news. I really think the way news is reported now is harmful to society and makes people fearful and distrustful, since there’s hardly ever good news to balance the awfulness. I figure if something I actually should know about happens I’ll hea about it, especially if it’s something where action is possible, as the feeling of helplessness is one of the worst things I got from being on the receiving end of a lot of news stories.

  2. Too bad there’s not a version of the local news that would only give me the happenings I’m interested in, like author appearances and special programs or presentations, etc. The newspaper is worth it for that, yet I do get distracted by the kind of news you’re talking about. My library has “The Story of Stuff”, & I’m requesting it — thanks!

    • I think you’ll really like the video.
      Yes some commentary news and reviews can be interesting and entertaining, well thought out and positive. I must say though, we don’t get that in local news. That tends to come from our national papers. Local news is very localesk 😉

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