Tim Longhurst's Blog

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

July 24th, 2008 · 2 Comments

[caption id="attachment_348" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Story of Stuff logo"]Story of Stuff logo[/caption]

The Story of Stuff is a simple, effective video that explains the ‘top-line’ messages that everyone ought know about where the ‘stuff’ we buy comes from and ultimately where it ends up.

Produced by Free Range Studios (of ‘The Meatrix‘ fame) the video is a perfect example of using new media in an engaging way to tell an important story.

It takes twenty minutes, but it’s worth it so if you have the time, go and watch it now.

The video features Annie Leonard breaking down the ‘materials economy’ the journey products take from extraction; to production; to distribution; to consumption; and finally disposal.

Annie points out that the system is bumping up against all sorts of limits… limits of resources, ethical limits of how we treat people, animals and the environment and limits to how hard we can push the environment before it pushes back.

Easily one of the best environmental education videos I’ve ever seen and I have Ian Lyons to thank for the link!

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Category: Change Agency

Al Gore’s Challenge – 100% Renewable energy in Ten Years

July 20th, 2008 · No Comments

America’s borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Middle East, to destroy the environment in America. That’s the case Al Gore has made in his recent call for 100% renewable energy in the US within ten years.

You can see the 5 minute summary edit here:

Over in Australia (where I’m from), we’ve had an ‘options paper’ published by our government outlining the choices they feel are available to them to address the energy crises we are facing, and may continue to face over coming years.

Two young Australians have responded to the paper, lamenting that the government’s proposed scheme “fails to protect our inheritance. Instead, it is a giveaway bonanza, with the Government proposing to give 30 per cent of permits away for free to compensate to some of the most polluting industries in Australia.” Well worth a read

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Category: Uncategorized

Consumer Activism 101: Asking Threadless where their T-shirts come from…

April 29th, 2008 · 3 Comments

In the movie The Corporation, Ray Anderson from Interface Carpets explains that the reason he led his company to become increasingly sustainable is that consumers were starting to ask questions about his company’s sustainability.

Today I noticed that Threadless.com – a website I blogged about back in 2007 is no longer sourcing t-shirts from the ‘anti sweatshop’ American Apparel label. Are they saving money by using sweatshops instead?! So I wrote them a note via their website’s contact form. I’m hoping the answer I get will be surprisingly positive and reflect a transparent supply chain… I’ll blog here if the question is answered. Here’s what I wrote:

Hi there! In what kind of conditions are your t-shirts made? Are the cotton producers paid fair wages? Are your factories child-free? I’m keen to know if the reason your T’s are $15 is because someone’s not being paid fairly…



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Category: Communication and connection

Election Tracker – How Crikey’s raining on a kids’ parade

November 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

Election Trackerelection tracker is a youth-run site that follows the Australian federal election. It’s been around since 2004. It’s great. Go and check it out. It’s full of stories from young Aussies that care about politics and that write about everything from why their mates don’t care to why they vote the way they do.

The Problem

So, guess what? Crikey have set up a website in the past few weeks also called electiontracker. I’m not kidding you. They’ve used exactly the same name. In the same region. In the same industry.

The youth run electiontracker is located at electiontracker.net and was registered back in June 2004. The crikey electiontracker is located at electiontracker.com.au and was registered on 27 September 2007.

So you can see the problem. People are going to crikey’s site by accident because crikey’s decision to use exactly the same name for their website is causing confusion.

A proposed solution

electiontracker is a project of Vibewire and I’m on the Vibewire board. Last week I spoke with Amber Sloan, General Manager of Crikey. While remaining friendly and courteous, I did manage to suggest that her company’s use of the term was unfortunate and was leading to confusion. I proposed a reciprocal link would be a good way to help clear the confusion (ie. “If you’re looking for the Crikey electiontracker, it’s over here” and “If you’re looking for the Vibewire electiontracker, it’s over here” kind of thing).


Yesterday Amber emailed to say Crikey wasn’t interested because “cross-links from site to site would just compound the problem”.

The Web Community Solution

The biggest problem facing the not-f0r-profit electiontracker is that their audience reach is being limited by search engine traffic going to the Crikey electiontracker by mistake. Vibewire’s electiontracker don’t have the resources to defend their trademark in a legal sense, but they can defend it in a web 2.0 sense. We just have to get people talking.

Crikey’s Election Tracker is currently number 1 on Google searches for the term “Election Tracker”, but if enough people link to the original election tracker like this: election tracker, they will soon be back on top.

So if you’d like to help the electiontracker David over the electiontracker Goliath, please post about this one!

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Category: election07

Blog Action Day

October 12th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Brace yourselves, I’ve signed up to this…

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

Blog Action Day is about MASS participation. That means we need you! Here are 3 ways to participate:

  • Post on your blog relating to the environment on Blog Action Day
  • Donate your day’s earnings to an environmental charity
  • Promote Blog Action Day around the web

Thanks Ellice for the Tip.

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Category: Our living planet