How/not to use www.storyofstuff.com

April 26, 2010 at 3:48 PM Leave a comment

Have you seen this entertaining but highly politicized view of the manufacturing linear system? www.storyofstuff.com Go to the You Tube icon at the top, lhs for a much better flow. Let it buffer before showing a class. And preview. Don’t be like me. Although no unexpected animal sex in it (it always happens about 1 minute after the point I previewed to. Why is that? A message?),

Our principal wanted us to show it for Earth Day. I had kids write down surprising statistics and facts, then do a ‘fact check’ at home, complete with a citation from a reliable source. Thought this would really get them going because the movie is so controversial.

Well, on Friday, I’m all “oh they are so great and smart and all” and today it’s more like wtf! Only about half of them bothered to do it at all, and half of those who did just took any old web site without tracking down what the bias was. It is SO frustrating. Only gone over this about 1,000,ooo times. Because how cool would it be to show that it was biassed rubbish. Except of course, most of the startling info is actually startling fact.

My HP husband’s gripe was that Annie Leonard mis-represented the motives of corporations – they are not necessarily being deliberate assholes to the earth and their workers. It’s that the ‘game’ is run with almost no rules. Corporations don’t have to pay for environmental clean up, for health care or a livable wage for your workers. They don’t have to pay for safety equipment. While consumers might choose to pay A LITTLE more for fair trade, eco and ethical products, a corporation who does all this will probably go out of business, with competition of cheaper goods from with those who don’t do those good things.

What to do?

How about fixing NAFTA so that environment and social costs are INCLUDED and the true cost of goods passes to the consumer? For all businesses, all over the globe. How bad do things have to get before we figure this out? Or just let the free for all ruin the commons of soil, air and water until civil society erupts in war over desperately needed resources? It’s the break down of civility, of the infrastructure that scares me the most for my son and my students. Hell, I’ll be almost dead by then and it will be hell here too.

Dark enough? Sorry about that little lapse. On a brighter note, check out Edutopia’s lovely new guide for “Think Green – Tips and Resources for Earth-Friendly Learning Projects“. I’m already using their carbon footprint with classes TOMORROW. Suzy Boss is the author and has a great blog all around pbl. She also runs the Classroom 2.0 PBL and Edutopia PBL forums. Both worth participating in. Hope to see you there. Or here. How do you deal with controversial stuff like storyofstuff etc? Tell us!

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Entry filed under: Biodiversity and Ecology, Data Analysis. Tags: , , , , , , .

Earth Day at School KQED Forum Panel Tackles Engaging Kids in Science

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