The Story of Stuff: The Bigger Picture

YES! resources for a deeper understanding about consumption, our materials-based economy, and alternative ways of living.
Story-of-Stuff logo.png

The Story of Stuff Project Logo

:: WATCH: The Story of Stuff
:: TAKE ACTION: 10 Little and Big Things You Can Do
:: MAIN INDEX: The Story of Stuff: Another Way

The Story of Stuff website has many more resources, including an annotated script of the movie, a detailed glossary, facts, tips for holding a screening in your classroom or community, and more.


YES! resources for a deeper understanding about consumption, our materials-based economy, and alternative ways of living.

Here are YES! articles to support teaching with The Story of Stuff. Use these stories to get your students thinking and talking about the golden arrow of consumption, our identity as consumers, the purpose of an economy, what makes us happy, globalization, and what a just and sustainable world could look like.

The Overspent American
Have your students consider what author Juliet Schor and simplicity leaders have to say about how we can get free of the mind-numbing cycle of overwork and overconsumption.
By Sarah van Gelder. YES! Magazine #6 Summer 1998

The Good Life: Consumerism is so '90s
In growing numbers, Americans are rediscovering that the real meaning of the good life doesn't come from things they can buy but from things they can feel. Ask your students what they believe is the good life and whether consumerism is outdated.
By Holly Dressel. YES! Magazine #37 Spring 2006

Here is another engaging resource for your students—a short overview of John de Graaf’s book and film titled Affluenza offering the symptoms, the causes, and (gratefully) the cure to overconsumption.
By John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas Naylor. YES! Magazine #20 Winter 2002

Just So Much And No More
Here is a compelling article that will empower your students to think about how we can choose to live—by economic or Earth terms.
By Donella Meadows. YES! Magazine #18 Summer 2001

Economics of Life in Balance
Students can read and role-play this article as they consider another perspective on the purpose of an economy and what truly brings happiness.
By Regina Gregory. YES! Magazine #40 Winter 2007

The Secret to Happiness
Annie Leonard in The Story of Stuff says: “In the U.S. we have more stuff than ever before, but polls show that our national happiness is actually declining.” Encourage your students to consider what David Myers has to say about happiness and ask them whether money really makes us happy. Is the old American dream of individually achieved affluence the answer? This article will help them think through what a new American dream might mean.
By David Myers. YES! Magazine #30 Summer 2004

A Civic Economy
Writer and policy analyst Jonathan Rowe will help your students think about an economy as a social system and human interaction as a valuable social product that economists rarely consider.
YES! Magazine #6 Summer 1998

Real Wealth: Redefining Abundance in an Era of Limits
Use this article from our 1st edition of YES! to get your students thinking and talking about how we could make a paradigm shift from Adam Smith’s context of scarcity to one based on generosity and sufficiency.
YES! Magazine #Beta1 1996-7

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community
For high school and university students: this article introduces David Korten’s ideas about the Great Turning and Earth Community: "Earth Community, by contrast, organizes by partnership, unleashes the human potential for creative co-operation, and shares resources and surpluses for the good of all." YES! Magazine #38 Summer 2006

For additional resources about David and his work see:



Facing the Future offers innovative curriculum for teaching about global issues and sustainability. Find out more about their free lesson plans for grades 5-12 to complement your teaching on The Story of Stuff.



No Paywall. No Ads. Just Readers Like You.
You can help fund powerful stories to light the way forward.
Donate Now.