Film addresses consumerism problems

Posted on  13/05/2012  |  Media Centre

Koo Jin Shen

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Students, guests and members of the public attending Asia Inc Forum’s showing of two acclaimed eco-films, to mark the National Environmental Conference. Picture: BT/ Koo Jin Shen

CONSUMERIST culture is unsustainable and destructive, highlighted a provocative film, ‘The Story of Stuff’ which was one of the two films shown on Wednesday night to some 500 people in the Jerudong International School Arts Centre.

‘The Story of Stuff’ is one of the two films which were set to mark the upcoming National Environmental Conference 2012 in June 20. The showing, organised by Asia Inc Forums and hosted by the Jerudong International School, provoked thoughts from officials and students alike.

Sharing his impressions on the ‘The Story of Stuff’ with The Brunei Times , the Deputy Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Mohd Riza Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos said: “It provides you with another way of thinking.”

He pointed out that the video showed true consumerism plays a big factor in the environment. He said it gave those who were present another way of thinking about the society and how we live in it.

He said that the video talked about the necessity of taking action, and that action can and has been done. “For example, in Brunei, conservation is becoming a very big factor,” highlighting Brunei’s ‘green’ conservation projects in forestry and marine life.

Students also had their thoughts provoked by the films. Nurolizazi Hj Zaini, an 18 year old International Baccalaureate student said that she questioned herself whether she was doing enough to help the environment. “I think I am a very proactive and ecofriendly person,” she said, “But is it enough?”.

Aminurrastid Hj Ramli, a 17 year old student from Menglait, said that he thought the movie was good.

“We create a lot of ‘stuff’,” he said, explaining that the processes also create alot of waste. “We need to reduce it”.

He highlighted the Story of Stuff’s anti-consumerist theme, stating that people should use what has been already created, instead of throwing away things and buying new ones.

In the ‘The Story of Stuff’, Annie Leonard, an internationally acclaimed environmentalist, attacks the culture of consumerism in the United States.

Leonard expressed concerns that the five points in a ‘Materials Economy’: Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption and finally, Disposal, was a “System in Crisis”.

For 20 minutes, Leonard would highlight how at each point of the product lifecycle, there would be heavy costs.

Speaking about the rate of ‘extraction’ worldwide, she noted that “we are cutting and mining and hauling and trashing the place so fast that we’re undermining the planet’s ability for people to live here”.

Looking into distribution, she noted that to “keep the people buying and keep the inventory moving”, achieved by ‘externalizing costs’, making a product as cheap as possible.

“What that means is the real cost of making stuff aren’t captured in the price”, pointing out the exploitation of labour throughout the world to make a cheap product for distribution.

Leonard also talked about ‘disposal’.

Leonard ends her film on a positive note, stating that change for the better is already happening. “Some people say it’s unrealistic, idealistic, that it cannot happen. But I say the ones who are unrealistic are those that want to continue on the old path. That’s dreaming.”

The Brunei Times