Can shopping save the world? The Story of Change urges viewers to put down their credit cards and start exercising their citizen muscles to build a more sustainable, just and fulfilling world.
From the moment of birth, we’re bombarded with messages that elevate the consumer part of our identity relative to all others, including our citizen-selves. While two year olds can articulate brand preferences and teenagers spend more time in malls than reading or exercising, about half of American adults don’t bother to vote regularly in public elections and fewer than 15 percent have ever been to a public meeting.
Over the past several decades, many environmental and social change efforts have come to reflect this centrality of shopping in our culture, suggesting change can be made—or is even best made—through alterations in our individual consumption patterns. These efforts—buy Fair Trade or organic, use a reusable bag, screw in a CFL lightbulb—are a great place to start, but they are a terrible place to stop, ignoring the real source of our power: coming together as engaged citizens.
In The Story of Change, I argue that it’s not bad shoppers who are putting our future at risk; it’s bad policies and business practices. If we really want to change the world, we have to move beyond voting with our dollars and come together to demand rules that work.
In the movie, I take viewers through an inspiring exploration of what effective changemaking has looked like through history—from Gandhi in India and the anti-apartheid movement to the US Civil Rights movement and the environmental victories of the 1970s—and share the things you’ll find whenever people get together and change the world: a big idea, a commitment to working together, and the ability to turn that shared goal and commitment into action.
I continue by arguing that these movements, like all successful change efforts, needed many different kinds of changemakers—investigators, communicators, builders, resisters, nurturers and networkers—each of whom plays a different but very important role in building and sustaining the movement. The movie ends with a question for the viewer: which are you?
As the movie closes, viewers will be prompted to take a quiz that helps them explore these changemaker identities, choose the one that fits them best and share the illustrated graphic and description via social media. Viewers will also be able to create and share their own action plan on a new sharing platform we’re developing for the over 350,000 members of the Story of Stuff Project Community.
We’ll be releasing The Story of Change in July 2012 and our goal is to reach at least 500,000 viewers over the year after its launch.
You can help us produce and distribute the movie by making a secure, online contribution today. Or you can visit storyofchange.org to sign-up for alerts about the release and share the movie with your network.
In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for The Story of Change!