Leonard to speak at UB's Center For the Arts

On March 9, 2014

  • World-famous sustainability proponent Annie Leonard will speak at the Center For the Arts Tuesday at 7 p.m. Leonard is best known for her work leading up to the Story of Stuff project, in which she talks about the culture of waste. Courtesy of Flickr user Bioneer

World-famous sustainability proponent Annie Leonard will tell her Story of Stuff at UB Tuesday. She will speak at the Center For the Arts beginning at 7 p.m.

Leonard is best known for her work leading up to the Story of Stuff project, in which she talks about the culture of waste with "stuff" today. The project started as a lecture but expanded to a movie and then to a series of short films and a book. Leonard's work centers on environmental problems generated by wasteful creating, using and throwing away of various products.

Leonard addresses all parts of our production chain, and how it's designed for waste - specifically to drive corporate profit. "Toxic in, toxic out," Leonard says in one film.

"I think [what Leonard does] is an excellent endeavor to be able to explain complex sustainability issues faced by our society ... that is both informative as well as entertaining," said Himanshu Grover, an assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

Leonard's work in activism started with her time at Greenpeace on a campaign to ban international waste dumping. Her efforts helped new regulations in international environmental standards.

Leonard has caught the attention news outlets. Glenn Beck, former Fox News political pundit, for instance, once blasted Leonard for "left-wing propaganda." In a 2010 interview with political satirist Stephen Colbert, Colbert joked Leonard "must think this economic downturn is fantastic," to which she replied that it was "an opportunity for people to better use their money."

Matt Prizing, a senior environmental and geosciences major, was excited to hear Leonard is speaking at UB. Prizing is the president of Alpha Kappa Chi, the environmental fraternity on campus.

"I was invited to the presentation and so were all the brothers," Prizing said. "They're all really excited to meet [Leonard]. When I mentioned Annie Leonard, there was this one pledge who was like, 'Oh my God! I love Annie Leonard!'"

Grover, who specializes in climate change, sustainability and community resilience, is also pleased about Leonard's pending visit.

"We should do more of these [events]," he said. "It is an excellent way to introduce students to people they hear about and at times follow during their coursework. This is a very exciting lecture for me and I will surely attend."

Leonard's work, especially her videos, has inspired others to use and follow her example.

Grover said he was following Story of Stuff before the talk was planned. He added that he has used Leonard's clips, which are available on her website, to explain concepts in his lectures.

Prizing said he will be bringing his own film crew from a class to record Leonard's talk. He encourages students outside the fraternity to attend the lecture.


email: news@ubspectrum.com 

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