Do you ever feel like your efforts to make the world a better place just aren't working?

Ever feel frustrated that, no matter how hard you try to make responsible choices, live in harmony with your community, or take care of the planet, there are 7 billion other humans who just don't give a crap?

Annie Leonard, creator of "The Story of Stuff" and other animated exposés, knows exactly how you feel. "Like many who care about the environment, I spent years thinking that information would lead to change," wrote Leonard in a recent blog post. "So I wrote reports, gave speeches, even testified before Congress. Some things changed. Sadly, the big picture didn’t."

After a few years of reflection, Leonard started to see the problem. It wasn't that people aren't aware that they need to change, they just don't have the strength to take action. We've been told that we can buy everything we need to be happy, so when buying things doesn't fix the problem, we're lost.

I’ve come to see that we have two parts to ourselves; it’s almost like two muscles – a consumer muscle and a citizen muscle. Our consumer muscle, which is fed and exercised constantly, has grown strong. So strong that “consumer” has become our primary identity, our reason for being. We’re told so often that we’re a nation of consumers that we don’t blink when the media use “consumer” and “person” interchangeably. Meanwhile, our citizen muscle has gotten flabby. There’s no marketing campaign reminding us to engage as citizens. On the contrary, we’re bombarded with lists of simple things we can buy or do to save the planet, without going out of our way or breaking a sweat.

Consumerism can't get us out of the social, economic, and environmental mess that we've created, Leonard points out in her newest video, "The Story of Change". Only by getting engaged and working cooperatively can we flex our "citizen muscles" and start to catalyze real change in our communities.

So why wait? Tell us your big idea of how things could be better and what it will take to make it happen.

Beth Buczynski


Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in beautiful Colorado. She loves sharing so much, she wrote a book about it. "Sharing Is Good" is a practical guide

Things I share: Transportation (I love my bike!) Office space (yay coworking!) Money (Credit Unions do it better!)