Author speaks about our ‘stuff’

By Rachel Winter

She’s been around the world to 40 different countries, and more
than likely, she’s taken a peek at your trash in the process.

Annie Leonard is the author of “The Story of Stuff,” a book that
examines the effects of conspicuous consumption on the
environment.

Leonard came to Cal Poly Pomona last Tuesday to give students a
better understanding of her book as well as answer questions from
the audience.

“When I came home to the United States, I realized three things:
We are trashing the environment, we are trashing each other and we
are not having fun doing it,” said Leonard. “Why is it that
happiness levels in the United States are declining when we have
‘cooler, fancier’ things? Because this doesn’t really make us
happy.”

During her presentation, Leonard discussed environmental waste
and how most of it comes from the United States.

She studied communities, landfills and waste around the world
and began forming the basis of her activism on what she found.

Throughout Leonard’s presentation, she presented many statistics
as well as information and opinion.

Leonard said the basis of our happiness lies not in our
consumption and want for things, but in our relationships and the
people who make us happy.

“I was inspired,” said Joan Van Dran, a third-year landscape
architecture design student. “It was not only about taking it on a
personal level, but looking at changing the big picture, too.”

Students cheered and clapped throughout the presentation in
agreement with Leonard’s message.

Students were also given the opportunity to have a question and
answer session with Leonard.

“I liked that we had the opportunity to ask questions,” said
John Derby, a first-year aerospace engineering student. “I read it
for a philosophy class, but it is good to get different
information.”

Leonard said that now is not the time to change the minds of
people in America anymore, but rather the time to change
behavior.

“Most people want to change the mindset instead of behavior, but
now it’s an emergency,” said Leonard. “Now, we have to change
behavior, we need to stop polluting and trashing. We cannot live
this massively unfair, not fun, wasteful life. If we are going to
change, we change by default or design.”

Now, design is the way to go.

“As for transportation, it has to balance out,” said Ken Chen, a
third-year urban and regional planning student, about gas prices
versus public transportation. “The government has to help out,
too.”

As part of the First-Year Experience program at Cal Poly Pomona,
students have been studying Leonard’s book in various general
education classes on campus.

Claudia Pinter-Lucke, associate vice president of academic
programs, said the First-Year Experience program at Cal Poly Pomona
chose Leonard’s book to discuss in certain classes, while using a
specific guideline to follow in each college.

Pinter-Lucke also said the First-Year Experience program
provides students the help and ability to connect and succeed with
other students in different colleges on campus.

Leaving students impressed, Leonard followed the question and
answer session with a book signing.

“I wasn’t really surprised in terms of information,” said Kevin
Darra, a first-year engineering student. “She is very open and
passionate, and answered every question in detail. Not many people
would do that.”

Author speaks about our

Shian Samuel/The Poly Post

Author speaks about our ‘stuff’

Author speaks about our

Shian Samuel/The Poly Post

Author speaks about our ‘stuff’

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