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Annie Leonard
Annie Leonard is the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. She has over two decades of experience investigating and explaining the environmental and social impacts of our stuff: where it comes from, how it gets to us, and where it goes after we get rid of it. Her film, The Story of Stuff has been viewed over 40 million times and blossomed into The Story of Stuff Project, (which has built a community of over half a million people), eight more films, and the 2010 New York Times bestselling book also titled The Story of Stuff which takes a deeper dive into the issues of the film.

Leonard currently serves on the boards of Public Citizen, the Wallace Global Fund, The Story of Stuff Project and the Social Mission Board of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. She previously served on the boards of the GAIA, Grassroots Recycling Network, the Environmental Health Fund, Global Greengrants India, Greenpeace India, and the International Forum on Globalization. She earned her undergraduate degree at Barnard College, Columbia University and has a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University.

Leonard began her career at Greenpeace in 1988 and now leads the organization’s U.S. office out of San Francisco.

Entries by Annie Leonard

The Hidden Consequences of Food Waste

(1) Comments | Posted July 11, 2016 | 4:14 PM

I've spent much of my working life digging into the problem of waste. One of the most important things I've learned is that solving our waste problem requires we look at the whole system, not just our own contribution to it. Sometimes that feels big and daunting, but it also...

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How We Win for Women and the Planet

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2016 | 7:12 PM

One of the most important things I've learned from many years of activism, is that the world's most challenging problems... and their solutions, are interconnected. As I reflect on what it will take to achieve gender equality, it's clear that any real solution must also achieve environmental equality.

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Building the Green Internet: A Joint Venture for Tech Companies and Activists

(2) Comments | Posted May 12, 2015 | 11:15 AM

I've been looking into the environmental impact of our electronic gadgets for years, and if there's one thing I learned from producing The Story of Electronics, it's that companies have an invaluable role to play in making sure our digital lives make a positive contribution to both people...

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A Week of Madness: Shell, KXL and the Arctic Auction

(1) Comments | Posted January 30, 2015 | 4:14 PM

The past week has been quite the roller coaster for folks who care about the fate of the Arctic. First, as Mike Brune, head of the Sierra Club wrote recently, President Obama stepped up and announced protection for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska:...

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Bhopal 30 Years On: Lessons From a Toxic Tragedy

(13) Comments | Posted December 3, 2014 | 2:20 PM

I was in Bhopal, India 10 years after the 1984 disaster in which a now infamous Union Carbide pesticide plant released 27 tons of a toxic chemical into a crowded sleeping city, killing 8,000 people immediately and over 20,000 to date. It's hard to believe that today is...

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Constitutional Amendment Would Help Save Our Planet

(16) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 1:00 PM

You've changed the light bulbs, switched the car for a bike. Across the country, people are ready to take it to the next level.

In September, literally thousands of people will gather in New York to show the force that citizens are bringing to the climate fight. The...

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Waving the White Flag

(2) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 2:01 PM

Let's say your car is stolen. Irresponsible hoodlums take it for an out-of-control joyride, drive the wrong way down a one-way street, terrorize innocent pedestrians and cut donuts on the lawn in front of City Hall. If you get a chance to take it back, do you shrug and say,...

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Why Changing Your Lightbulbs Won't Save the Planet

(15) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 12:22 PM

I used to think the truth would set us free. Like many who care about the environment, I spent years thinking that information would lead to change. So I wrote reports, gave speeches, even testified before Congress.

Some things changed. Sadly, the big picture didn't.

For a long...

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The iPhone and Consumer Guilt

(69) Comments | Posted March 30, 2012 | 2:06 PM

The traditional first rule of business is to give the customers what they want. Steve Jobs thought differently. "It's not the consumers' job," he said, "to know what they want."

Some people think that's cool -- the cocky self-confidence of a visionary with uncompromising standards. But I can't help...

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Don't Be Stupid, Cupid -- Show Your Love Responsibly

(6) Comments | Posted February 10, 2012 | 9:03 AM

For holidays tainted by commercialism, Valentine's Day gives Christmas a run for the money -- big money. The National Retail Federation estimates Americans will spend $17.6 billion on Valentine's gifts this year, including $4.1 billion on jewelry, $1.8 billion on flowers and $1.5 billion on candy. But for...

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We're Not Broke!

(45) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 11:43 AM

"They got bailed out; we got sold out!"

The chant rang in my ears as I marched with my 12-year-old daughter and thousands of my fellow citizens through the streets of Oakland last week. But that $700 billion bank bailout is only part of the way the government takes our...

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Why Democracy Only Works When People Are in Charge

(428) Comments | Posted March 1, 2011 | 10:15 AM

I don't get it. Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans care about the same stuff I care about: secure jobs, good schools, healthy environment, clean energy and responsible government. I am not surprised that people want these things; they are pretty basic, red state-blue state, ingredients for...

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Choose Family Over Frenzy

(23) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 12:49 PM

When I turned on my computer today, I had seven emails from vendors announcing special low prices -- Black Friday deals -- available all week. The biggest discounts advertised were on electronics, which wasn't a surprise since November is considered "electronics-buying month" within the retail industry. I waded...

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The Story of Electronics: Make 'Em Safe, Make 'Em Last, Take 'Em Back

(45) Comments | Posted November 9, 2010 | 10:57 AM

Along with the changing fall leaves, there's another thing Americans can count on each November -- the flood of electronics sales advertisements in our mailboxes, email spam filters and newspaper pages that presage Black Friday.

The low prices promised in these ads are meant to entice us to buy...

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Why We Made the Story of Cosmetics

(77) Comments | Posted August 4, 2010 | 11:09 AM

What a couple of weeks it's been! More than 200,000 of you have watched the Story of Cosmetics since its launch July 21, and we've received an outpouring of support -- from cancer survivors, salon workers who've been harmed by chemical exposures on the job, green business owners...

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The Story of Cosmetics: What's Really in Your Personal Care Products?

(66) Comments | Posted July 21, 2010 | 8:35 AM

As a mother, I want to be sure that the shampoo, sunscreen, bubble bath and other personal care products my daughter uses are safe. If I stick to products in the children's aisle at the drugstore -- stuff that's made and marketed specifically for kids -- those should be OK,...

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Can't Buy Me Love

(35) Comments | Posted April 15, 2010 | 9:00 AM

It's Tax Day, which means the Tea Party will be railing against government spending on programs like health care, Head Start, environmental protection, consumer product safety inspectors and food stamps. Try as I might, I just can't understand the logic of opposing government programs to ensure that our air, water...

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The Story of Bottled Water: Fear, Manufactured Demand and a $10,000 Sandwich

(304) Comments | Posted March 22, 2010 | 8:27 AM

Imagine I was trying to sell you a sandwich. It's shrink wrapped in plastic that may leach toxic chemicals, but don't worry about that. Mine's still healthier than a sandwich you could make at home, what with all those impurities in your fridge. Now, I've got no proof of that,...

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The Story of Stuff: Externalized Costs and the $4.99 Radio

(63) Comments | Posted March 9, 2010 | 6:58 AM

Walking to work one day I wanted to listen to the news, so I popped into Radio Shack. I found a cute little green radio for $4.99. Pleased with my bargain, I stood in line to pay, but then started wondering: how could $4.99 cover the cost of extracting the...

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