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13th February 2016
We’ve come a long way in the eight years since our founder Annie Leonard started The Story of Stuff Project. It may have begun with a few short movies about the way we make, use and throw away Stuff, but this Community’s desire to reduce waste, conserve resources and protect the commons has exploded into a worldwide movement.

Today we’re a Community of more than a million members, and thanks to your support we’ve begun to make real change. We ended 2015 on a high note by outlawing the use of polluting plastic microbeads in personal care products in the U.S. and we're excited to keep the momentum going in 2016.

We've spent the past couple of months dreaming and scheming with the help of our incredible Board of Directors and Community members like you, and I’m pleased to share a preview of some of what we have in store.

Today, a battle is brewing over the future of water—who owns it, who has access to it and how we can best preserve it for generations to come. Because water is the lifeblood of both our environment and our economy, how we resolve this conflict says a lot about the kind of society we want to live in.

Last year we took on Nestlé’s illegal withdrawal of water from the drought-parched San Bernardino National Forest in southern California. Community members like you paid to tell the story of two Forest Service employees who’d blown the whistle on this outrage, emailed and called Nestlé officials and supported our lawsuit with partners Courage Campaign and Center for Biological Diversity to force the Forest Service to turn off the spigot.

Even though our case won’t get a hearing for several more months, it’s already made an impact. After almost 28 years of inaction, the Forest Service has announced a full environmental review of Nestlé’s operation and you can bet this Community will take every opportunity to let officials know that Nestlé’s got to go.

We’re hitting Nestlé on other fronts in the meantime.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be producing the second in a series of videos about Nestlé’s water grabs, and focusing on the company’s effort to tap a spring for bottling in the Columbia River Gorge, in Cascade Locks, Oregon.

Our Campaigns Director, Stiv Wilson, was in Cascade Locks in late January with a film crew and he came back deeply inspired by the tenacity and smarts of the local activists there, who’ve succeeded in putting the Nestlé proposal on the May ballot for local citizens to decide.

We hope our video, which is slated for release just before World Water Day in March, will both raise the profile of these heroes and inspire you to support their efforts.

But we can’t just fight the bad; we’ve also got to build the good.

Just last week, almost 10,000 Community members like you took action in solidarity with the people of Flint, Michigan, who’ve been poisoned by lead from failing water infrastructure. We united to demand Michigan Governor Snyder make more funds available for recovery, healthcare monitoring and rebuilding. The situation in Flint cast an important spotlight on our need to stand up for public water infrastructure before it’s too late.

And so later this spring, we’ll be reaching out to our Community members around the United States to enlist them in a push for bottled water fees at the local level, where they live. The concept is simple: pass a small fee on sales of bottled water in order to raise funds for investments in public water infrastructure.

In the city of Chicago, for instance, a fee on bottled water sales is used to generate millions in revenue for public water projects. Imagine what even a penny per bottle could raise on the estimated $13 billion in annual bottled water sales in the U.S.!

Once we’ve won our campaign for public water on the city level, this success can spread to other cities and countries around the world.

Interested in participating or learning more about our campaign for safe, sustainable public water infrastructure?
Last year was a big year for The Story of Stuff Project and this Community. Our work against microbeads taught us that the stories we tell matter, both in what they teach us about the world and in what they inspire us to do. We also learned that we can accomplish big things when we work together—far bigger things than any one of us could do on our own. And we discovered that one of the places we have the most power to make change is where we live, work and play, in the towns and cities we call home.

This year you can count on us to keep telling great stories about water and a number of other critical issues; to provide opportunities for you to work together with your fellow Story of Stuff Community members; and to support local heroes and their campaigns and projects around the world.

Thank you for your support, encouragement and enthusiasm.

You rock!
Michael O'Heaney, Executive Director

Learn more about the campaign for safe, sustainable public water

Widespread access to safe public drinking water represents a major success of the modern era. Unfortunately, over the past few decades investment in public water infrastructure has taken a hit as corporations work hard to privatize our public resources. Unless we act to reverse this trend, disasters like the one in Flint, Michigan will become more common.

Later this spring, we’ll be reaching out to our Community members around the United States to enlist them in a push for bottled water fees to help fund water infrastructure at the local level.

Once we’ve won our campaign for public water on the city level, this success can spread to other cities and countries around the world.

Want to learn more or get involved? Fill out the form on the right and we'll keep you updated as our campaign evolves.