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University of Iowa News Release


April 1, 2009

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Take Back Your Time leader de Graaf to speak on sustainability April 13

John de Graaf (left), executive director of Take Back Your Time, an organization challenging time poverty and overwork in North America, will speak at the University of Iowa on Monday, April 13. His free, public presentation, "Time and Sustainability," will take place at 7 p.m. in Room C20 of the Pomerantz Center.

The visit also includes a free, public screening of de Graaf's latest film, "What's The Economy For, Anyway?" at 2:30 p.m. Monday, April 13 at the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, 28 S. Linn St., Iowa City.

The Leisure Studies Program in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, along with the UI Public Policy Center, are sponsoring the events.

De Graaf is the co-author of the best-selling book "Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic," a humorous critique of American consumerism. He has worked for 26 years with Seattle PBS affiliate KCTS-TV as an independent producer of television documentaries, many on environmental topics. Fifteen of his documentaries have aired on PBS during prime time, and he has won more than 100 awards for filmmaking, including three Emmy awards.

Earlier this month, de Graaf was quoted in a New York Times piece about how the recession is forcing Americans -- who traditionally work longer hours than people in other industrialized countries -- to take time off through furloughs and other mechanisms. "It may not ultimately be a sacrifice," he told The Times. "It may be exactly what they need to do to be happier and healthier."

De Graaf has taught college courses on documentary film production and on "Time, Consumerism and Sustainability." He founded the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival, and the de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award, named in his honor, is presented annually at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival in Nevada City, Calif.

For more information or special accommodations to attend either of these events, contact David Gould at 319-384-3529.

For more information on Take Back Your Time, visit

NOTE TO MEDIA: De Graaf will be available for advance interviews as his schedule allows. To arrange an interview, please contact David Gould at 319-384-3529 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,