Our Videos

For a regular day job, one of us happens to be a filmmaker. So we tend to pull out the camera when we’re inspired to tell our story or the story of others having epiphanies when it comes to reducing, reusing, and rethinking our stuff. We follow plastics flowing from the world’s highest places to sea level, we glimpse into the lives of the people who find resources in what others throw away, and we document our own joy in teaching others about our collective stuff and how we can reduce it or reuse it in interesting ways. Learn from people all over the world in our videos, many of which are narrated by our children who live to tell these stories:

High Mountains, Pure Water: Liesl’s family works and schools in Nepal. The children work with village kids to help reduce waste.

Beach Plastics: The story of the genesis of Trash Backwards. In verite style, our cameras cover our moment of discovery of the countless plastics on our beach.

Garbage Spies of Kathmandu: Kathmandu is facing a humanitarian crisis due to poor sanitation and garbage. See it from the eyes of the rag pickers.

Beach Plastic Odyssey: Liesl and Rebecca run a classroom project to collect beach plastics, inventory it, and then turn it into disturbing art.

Children of the Dust: Liesl, Pete and their children think locally and act globally, helping to reduce village waste in Nepal.

School Waste Audit: Rebecca and Liesl conduct classroom waste audits in their community. This video shows you how in 10 simple steps.

Mapping Plastic: Rebecca and Liesl are circumnavigating their Puget Sound Island to map the plastics on its shores.

Reversing the Trend: A 2 minute short showing hope in reversing the trend of too much plastic on our planet.

Rag Pickers of Bainbridge Island: Children have remarkable insights into our material culture and how we can stop throwing it away but reclaim it one item at a time.

Mermaids’ Tears: A spring vacation on the Olympic Peninsula brings joy and sadness over the loss of our last pristine places.

Introducing The Buy Nothing Project: In our first month, we visited families taking part in The Buy Nothing Project and here’s what they have to say.

Pinata Love: Children gather toys from around their community to make pinata stuffings for other Buy Nothing communities.

Giving Gone Rad: Giving and receiving begets more giving and receiving. Here’s an example of giving gone rad.

4 Comments on “Our Videos”

  1. bobmielke
    August 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    I live in the pristine state of Oregon. I retired here 3 years ago because of the clean air, water and environment. It rains 8 months or more here but we have weather patterns that could be considered paradise to most.

    We, in Oregon, are being bombarded by waste from the Japanese tsunami from a few years ago. Trash of all kinds is floating up on our beaches. Some is tiny but other pieces are as large as a concrete and steel dock that had to be taken apart with cutting torches and hauled off to salvage yards.

    The trash can eventually be cleaned up but the invasive species that hitchhiked on the debris creates a hazard to our clean lifestyle. Nobody wants to take responsibility for the cleanup or disposal of all this stuff. We need suggestions. We need your prayers.

    • August 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi Bob. I’m sorry to hear about the large (and even small) chunks from Japan washing up on your beaches. What a huge mess you all are left to clean up. I think there are few answers except to simply clean it up as best we can since the world’s waste is washing up on every shore, even in Antarctica with attendant hitchhikers that have never been seen in the Southern Ocean. Plastics have wreaked their havoc and will continue to do so for years to come. We can simply do our part in cleaning it up and in curbing our own consumption of it individually. Plastics and all material goods can end up in our oceans. Reducing and refusing excessive stuff in our lives and reusing what we already have can be one answer to this global problem.
      — Liesl at Trash Backwards

  2. Neal Chism
    September 9, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    To Bob Mielke

    If you have large debris from the tsunami arriving, get in touch with NOAA. They have a federal mandate to clean this debris up.


    And sadly there is so much trash in the oceans already that debris removal will be a constant fact of life out on our beaches and river banks.

    Bottom line is, be safe, if you don’t know what it is, don’t try and pick it up. Call the local police.

    January 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm #


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