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Annie Leonard
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Annie Leonard is the Director of the Story of Stuff Project and author of the book, The Story of Stuff (Free Press, March 2010).

In December 2007, Annie released The Story of Stuff, a hit 20-minute webfilm that takes viewers on a provocative and eye-opening tour of the often hidden costs of our consumer driven culture. The Story of Stuff has generated over 10 million views in more than 200 countries and territories since its launch, making it one of the most successful environmental-themed viral films of all time. The film has won numerous awards, including a South by Southwest Festival award, and in 2008 Annie was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment.

Annie has spent nearly two decades investigating and organizing on environmental health and justice issues, traveling to over 40 countries to visit the factories where our stuff is made and the dumps where it ends up. Annie’s films, writing and presentations combine solid information and first hand investigative reporting with a profound sense of hope that we can, indeed must, find a more sustainable way to meet our material needs.

Prior to directing the Story of Stuff Project, Annie worked for the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production & Consumption, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Health Care Without Harm, Essential Action and Greenpeace International. She is currently on the boards of the International Forum on Globalization and GAIA and has previously served on the Boards of the Grassroots Recycling Network, the Environmental Health Fund, Global Greengrants India and Greenpeace India.

Annie completed her undergraduate studies at Barnard College, Columbia University and graduate work in City and Regional Planning at Cornell University.

Entries by Annie Leonard

Constitutional Amendment Would Help Save Our Planet

(15) 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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