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The Story of Broke

2011/11/17

I am a big fan of The Story of Stuff Project.  Their animated videos about environmental and social issues are excellent.  I’ve actually used many of them (The Story of Stuff, The Story of Electronics, The Story of Cosmetics) in my classroom.

Their latest video, The Story of Broke, talks about how we aren’t as “broke” as government officials tell us.  When people ask for more efforts on renewable energy, climate change mitigation and adaption and the overall health of our environment, we are told that we can’t afford it.  In part, that is because we spend too much of our money elsewhere, like oil and gas subsidies and military spending.

The video is made for an American audience.  However, all you have to do is scale down the $ numbers to make it apply to Canada.  For example, we subsidies the oil and gas industry to the tune of $1.4 billion a year.  Oil and gas.  The most profitable industry in the history of mankind!  Why do we subsidies them?  And when it comes to military spending, Canada seems to have found its mojo: $33 billion for navy ships, at least $9 billion for state-of-the-art fighter planes.  And, although this isn’t in the video, I would add to that billions more in the construction of prisons and more aggressive laws that do nothing to actually reduce crime.

Imagine if we invested even a small percentage of all that money in better power grids, R&D into renewable energy and electric vehicles, better composting and recycling programs, public transit and the retrofit of buildings.  Imagine if we took the $1.4 billion that goes to oil and gas and gave it to the wind, solar and geothermal industries.  Not only would these types of changes benefit our economy and our environment, it would allow us to begin the  transition away from fossil fuels.  Whether we like it or not, that transition is coming.  And the later we start our transition, the harder, more expensive and socially difficult it will be.  So why not start now?!?

Anywho, here is the latest from the Story of Stuff Project: The Story of Broke.

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