The Story of Broke

The Story of Broke is the new, short film from Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff Project. The Story of Stuff looked at the production and disposal of the stuff in our lives and the happiness it doesn’t bring us. The new movie is meant to stimulate thinking about how to pay for economic changes that support greater happiness through education, healthcare, and renewable energy and less propping up of the stuff economy.

Critiques of the movie are saying that it is simplistic, but I think it is just simple. It is meant to be an introduction that stimulates a new way of thinking. It isn’t a new way of thinking to everyone, but it is not the mainstream way of thinking, and her films are all meant just to start the broader thinking about possibilities. A lot of the stuff of our lives is so familiar that we don’t think about why we use it, how it got here, and where it goes when we are done. A 20-minute cartoon about trash might just give us a little ah-ha moment that encourages us to dig deeper. This new 8-minute movie is just an eco baby step on our way to thinking differently.

One of my favorite things about the movies from The Story of Stuff Project are the resources behind each film. Not only do they provide an annotated script for each film, they have curriculum resources for every age. If you have very young children, you might enjoy watching Loop Scoops videos with them. These are very short videos made in conjunction with PBS Kids to explore simple, age-appropriate aspects of stuff like juice boxes, Velcro, magazines, and happiness.

Annie Leonard and her project are U.S.-based, but the general pattern of how to shift to renewable energy and economies that prioritize—or even just recognize—happiness as a desired goal apply to every one of us.

Diaper Science Video

Not all of the fascinating diaper videos I’ve been finding in anticipation of the Why Cloth Diapers video contest are love songs from cloth diapering parents. When we talk about “Why cloth diapers” the implication often not spoken is “Why not disposable diapers.” Here is one more reason.

Super absorbent polymers (SAP).

Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski is a science education consultant, a disinterested scientist with a curiosity about how things work. She shows in this video how absorbent polymers, including those used in disposable diapers, work. After watching this, I can’t help but wonder how much non-recoverable water resources are bound up and wrapped away for 500 years in landfill.

Remember, when you are working with disposable diapers, “You might want to wear a protective nose mask while you are at it,” as Dr Diana said. Why? Because, according the an MSDS for sodium polyacrylate, the “dust may cause burning, drying, itching, and other discomfort, resulting in reddening of the eyes.”

Super absorbent polymers are generally expected to be non-reactive. Why might they cause, for example, diaper rashes or a burning discomfort? One possibility is the potential presence of chemicals that can be formed in processing.

“According to the Cosmetics Database,” which I wrote about on Monday,

“Sodium Polyacrylate is considered a moderate hazard ingredient, primarily due to contamination concerns. This ingredient can contain methacrylic acid, acrylic acid or 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, known toxins that can be formed during its synthetic processing. It is also classified as “expected to be toxic or harmful” because of potential organ system toxicity effects, according to the Environmental Canada Domestic Substance List.” ~”Sodium Polyacrylate,” Truth in Aging.

Skin contact with acrylic acid may produce burns.

Nice. Sound like the kind of thing that would be ideal on your baby’s bottom?

A New Parent: Why Cloth Diapers

This environmental engineer, TheBubbleLush, has been video blogging her pregnancy, including her decision to use cloth diapers once the baby is born this coming fall. She is clear about her opinions and her experience, and she welcomes educated discussion. In nearly 9 minutes, she covers a lot of ground.

I’ve been paying more attention to cloth diaper videos since the Why Cloth Diapers Video Challenge opened. There are so many videos of parents, business owners, and many others who share interesting information and funny stories about cloth diapers.

What are your favorite cloth diapering videos?

Which videos do you think are most effective in helping parents choose cloth diapers?

Why Cloth Diapers Video Challenge

Why Cloth Diapers? That is the question for you! has issued a challenge to cloth-diaper loving aspiring filmmakers: make a video telling the world why cloth diapers rock. Address at least one of the big cloth diaper themes.

  • Cloth Diapers as an Environmentally Friendly choice
  • Cloth Diapers as an Economical choice
  • Cloth Diapers as an Easy to Use choice
  • Cloth Diapers as a Fun and Fashionable choice

All entries will be added to the growing gallery of cloth diaper videos on The videos can be funny, animated, serious, music videos, brand specific. Stretch your imagination to make any video that grabs attention and puts it on cloth diapers.

Right now you can see a few example videos, including the video above: the mysterious Kissaluv in action as it gathers the toys in a playroom dance. Why the dance through the baby’s room? I’m not sure! It doesn’t matter. The videos don’t have to make a LOT of sense as long as they inspire people to use reusable cloth diapers.

Need a little incentive? How about a big one? The winner of the Why Cloth Diapers Video Challenge will win a $1000 gift certificate (Canadian funds) from that can be used at any of the four shops,,, or

Start by watching the Why Cloth Diapers video contest intro from Tamara of, Eco Baby Step’s Nature Mom.

More videos to come. While you are planning your masterpiece, be sure to post links here to your favorite YouTube cloth diaper videos.