Allegheny College Professor Michael Maniates Appointed to Story of Stuff Project Advisory Board

May 11, 2009, 13:22 ET from Allegheny College

MEADVILLE, Pa., May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Story of Stuff Project -- an international initiative aimed at inspiring individuals to come together to re-think the production, sale, use and disposal of all the consumer goods, or "stuff," in their lives -- has appointed Allegheny College professor Michael Maniates to its inaugural advisory board.

The project seeks to build on the remarkable interest in "The Story of Stuff," a 20-minute film that looks at the underside of society's production and consumption patterns and how they affect communities in the U.S. and abroad. Written and narrated by international sustainability and environmental health expert Annie Leonard, "The Story of Stuff" has generated more than 6 million views since its launch in December 2007 at The film also is being used for educational and outreach projects in thousands of schools, faith-based organizations and private-sector companies.

"Michael Maniates' work has had an enormous impact on my own thinking about consumption issues," said Leonard. "His rigorous analysis and clear articulation of the systemic -- rather than the individual -- nature of the consumption problem is like a breath of fresh air after reading hundreds of uninspiring articles urging minor lifestyle changes to save the planet. I am delighted that Michael has joined the Story of Stuff board. Along with the other members who are equally accomplished in their fields, we have a fantastic mix of perspectives and expertise to guide the Story of Stuff Project in the years ahead."

The Story of Stuff advisory board will work to provide guidance to and encourage collaboration among people interested in civic engagement and environmental sustainability issues.

"Annie Leonard and 'The Story of Stuff' is one of the most potent combinations to hit the U.S. environmental movement in quite some time," said Maniates, a professor of environmental science and political science. "I'm humbled by her invitation to serve on the Story of Stuff's advisory board. The board is an active strategy group rather than a figurehead board common to many non-profit organizations -- and I've already been able to involve my political science and environmental science students into the real-world work of strategizing for the organization."

Maniates -- who Miller-McCune Magazine said in its September 2008 issue "may be the nation's leading authority on the politics of consumption" -- has committed his career to studying and writing about global patterns of consumption, overconsumption and consumerism; low consumption/high prosperity paths to development; and underexplored routes of citizen involvement in contemporary environmental struggles.

Maniates founded and coordinates the Project on Teaching Global Environmental Politics, an electronic network of more than 300 scholars, educators and activists focused on global environmental affairs. He is the co-founder and a member of the Advisory Board of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security, now celebrating its 20th year of interdisciplinary policy analysis and advocacy.

He holds a B.S. (Phi Beta Kappa) in conservation and resource studies and an M.A. and Ph.D. in energy and resources, all from the University of California at Berkeley. He was a Fulbright scholar to India, a recipient (with Tom Princen and Ken Conca) of the Sprout Award for the best book in international environmental politics for "Confronting Consumption" (MIT Press, 2002) and academic dean of the spring 2007 Semester at Sea program. In 2000 Maniates received Allegheny College's Thoburn Teaching Award for Innovation and Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Maniates' best known publications include "Environmental Studies: The Sky Is Not Falling," published in BioScience; "Individualization: Plant a Tree, Ride a Bike, Save the World" and "In Search of Consumptive Resistance: The Voluntary Simplicity Movement" in "Confronting Consumption" and "Of Knowledge and Power" in his volume "Encountering Global Environmental Politics" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

He is currently writing two books about the politics of sacrifice within today's environmental movement: an edited academic volume tentatively titled "The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice," to be published by MIT Press, and a book aimed at a popular audience with the working title of "Selling Us Short: Grown Up Ways of Saving the Planet."

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SOURCE Allegheny College