For years, Annie Leonard has been galvanizing the masses to pay attention to sustainability and consumerism with The Story of Stuff Project. Now Leonard, who has racked up millions of hits on her viral videos (The Story of Stuff, The Story of Change, The Story of Broke, and so on), is taking on one of the most visible roles in the environmental movement: executive director of Greenpeace USA, starting in August.
Leonard has a long history with Greenpeace, first taking on an international waste-dumping campaign in the late 1980s after an internship with the National Wildlife Federation. She worked for Greenpeace for a decade.
Then, in 2009, Leonard teamed up with Jonah Sachs of Free Range Studios to write The Story of Stuff, a quick-witted 20-minute animated video that's narrated by Leonard—a style that would come to dominate later videos in the Story of Stuff series. The film draws wide-ranging connections between the environment, society, and consumerism. It's been translated into over 100 languages.
That first video inspired a series of eight more short films, which have received up over 40 million views. Here's The Story of Bottled Water.
Leonard, who was named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in 2010, turned The Story of Stuff into a best-selling book that same year. And The Story of Stuff Project has now gone far beyond films, offering curricula for students, podcasts, and campaigns inspired by the videos. She will inevitably be a high-profile leader for Greenpeace—and, Greenpeace is surely hoping, one that can use her storytelling abilities to grow the organization.