Annie Leonard On Colbert (VIDEO): The Life-Cycle Of Our Stuff

05/10/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Environmental activist/consumerist critic Annie Leonard appeared on The Colbert Report Tuesday to discuss her new book, "The Story of Stuff," which was released Tuesday. The book is a follow-up to a viral video she made in 2007 by the same title, which was viewed by more than 10 million people. It explores how our stuff has ended up owning us instead of the other way around. As Colbert points out, that's an easy thing to say, but what does it mean?

Leonard argues that the exhausting pace at which we seek stuff-- that new flatscreen TV, pair of shoes, etc.-- is costing us deeper happiness that comes from our leisure time, having a sense of purpose, and the time we spend with family and friends. She spent ten years exploring the life-cycle of material goods, and the environmental, social, and health costs of the whole process.

"What did you discover?" Colbert asks. "My understanding is that it comes from China and it goes.... I don't care."

"It goes back to China, unfortunately," Leonard replies.

"So it's the circle of life," Colbert sings out. "It's perfect. It's like a water cycle."

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