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Humane Educator’s Toolbox: “Bag It”

Written by Marsha Rakestraw | Published on September 16, 2013 | Filed under Humane Connection
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2013/09/16/humane-educators-toolbox-bag-it/

Film cover: Bag ItAt the beginning of the documentary “Bag It!” (79 min), Jeb Berrier asks us if we want to know a dirty little secret: “Just because plastic is disposable, doesn’t mean it goes away. … There is no away.”

Average U.S.-guy Jeb started thinking about plastic one day when he got a plastic bag for a single container of yogurt he bought. A few minutes later, yogurt container, spoon, and bag were all in the trash. He started to ask questions, such as “Where is away?” when we throw something away? What is plastic made of? How does it affect people and the planet (and the animals living there)? Is recycling doing any good? And what can we do to create and throw away less plastic?

With his quirky style and sense of humor, Jeb delves into these questions about plastic, traveling as close as his home and as far as other countries to uncover the truth. He interviews dozens of scientists, activists, policy makers and more (he says no one from the American Chemistry Council would talk to him on camera), and highlights some of the personal and systemic changes that can be made to reduce our addiction to plastic.

The mix of humor and reality, along with a look at the consequences to people, animals, and the earth of using and trashing so much plastic, makes “Bag It” a compelling and useful discussion springboard for classrooms, community groups, and a film night with friends. And because “Bag It” uses the lens of one guy with a lot of questions, rather than vilifying a particular entity, it helps the audience feel empowered to start asking questions, thinking critically, and looking for positive solutions.

For more great films to spark discussion about humane issues, check out our Resource Center.