Watch: The Story of Broke

“We can rebuild the American Dream; we can afford to have a healthy environment, good jobs, and top-notch public education.  But not if we continue subsidizing the dinosaur economy.”

–Annie Leonard, The Story of Broke

Last week, the new Story of Stuff Project released its latest video, “The Story of Broke.”   In the 8-minute film, Annie Leonard describes how our “dinosaur” economy fails to invest in and build a better, greener, more sustainable future.

It’s the story of income disparity, corporate excesses, and the unprecedented concentration of wealth and power.  These threaten our democracy and have drastically reshaped our economy—and public health and environmental protections- over the last forty years.  These are CEH issues.

As you know, much of CEH’s work aims to change the rules that currently give powerful corporations a virtual carte blanche to develop new chemicals and expose people to them, regardless of the known and unknown health effects of those chemicals.  All too frequently, our nation’s wealthiest one percent profit from corporate decisions that promote the rampant use of untested and known-toxic chemicals, while the remaining ninety-nine percent of us are forced to live with those decisions’ devastating fallout: increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and many other illnesses.

As Annie says in the video, “The average cost of cleaning up a toxic site on the Superfund list is $140 million. Let’s make the polluters pay and instead invest our money in developing safer materials so we don’t have to worry about them spilling in the first place.”

CEH makes polluters pay everyday—we eliminate toxics from everyday products, and promote safer, less toxic business practices, and safer food, air, and water. After all, when our tax dollars are invested in irresponsible corporations that pollute with reckless abandon, it results in “externalized” costs—costs that we ultimately pay for with our tax dollars and our increased health problems.

We believe it’s important to hold companies accountable, whether it’s by pushing electronics companies to phase out harmful chemicals in their products and utilize responsible take-back programs, or taking legal action against companies that mislabel items containing toxic ingredients.  Because “without laws to make the polluters pay, we all pay with the loss of clean water, air, or increased asthma and cancer.”

The Story of Broke gives us hope:  it tells the story of why we’re not broke, and why there’s “still plenty of money to build a better future.”

Watch the video to find out why and get inspired yourself: