Story of Stuff: A Baha'i-inspired Program for Youth
by Christine Muller
How are materialism and consumerism issues of justice? And how can we help our youth to understand the abstract concept of materialism and its numerous detrimental impacts?
We are excited to share with you the Story of Stuff: A Baha'i-inspired Program for Youth. These new study materials are based on the popular video The Story of Stuff. They help our youth cope with a culture of consumerism and to grow up to be responsible world citizens. The six session course assists young people to see the reality of the world we live in, reveals to them some of the many injustices underlying the old world order, and encourages them to respond in a spiritual way, to live with ethical principles, and to serve the common good.
The materials are based on the popular video The Story of Stuff, which literally explains the story of all the stuff we are using: Where does it come from? How was it produced, and at what cost to people and to the environment? Do we really need all that stuff? What happens to it after we throw it away?
The topics discussed in the course are tangible examples of exactly those issues raised by the Universal House of Justice in its Comments on the Path to Economic Well-being (1 March 2017).
The House reminds us to exemplify spiritual qualities such as contentment and moderation and then continues:
The forces of materialism promote a quite contrary line of thinking: that happiness comes from constant acquisition, that the more one has the better, that worry for the environment is for another day. These seductive messages fuel an increasingly entrenched sense of personal entitlement, which uses the language of justice and rights to disguise selfinterest. Indifference to the hardship experienced by others becomes commonplace while entertainment and distracting amusements are voraciously consumed. The enervating influence of materialism seeps into every culture, and all Baha'is recognize that, unless they strive to remain conscious of its effects, they may to one degree or another unwittingly adopt its ways of seeing the world.
The course materials aim to help youth to understand the abstract concept of materialism and put in practice the guidance of the Universal House of Justice.
The Baha'i version of the course is based on the original Christian and Jewish editions. In addition to presenting the Baha'i perspectives, we have also made an effort to make the materials more user friendly.
While the course lays out the Baha'i perspectives on the issue, it is interfaith in spirit and therefore lends itself especially well to be used with your wider community of interest.
The course materials were updated again in August 2023. Feel free to contact us for any questions that may arise or if you need assistance with the course at BahaiStoryofStuff@gmail.com. We are looking forward to your feedback and hope that many young people will enjoy the course.
Last updated 27 November 2023