The Sunday Edition

Shipocalypse Now: How online shopping is changing our cities and our lives

We are drowning in packages, thanks to the boom in online shopping. Our insatiable appetite for more stuff and our demand for instant gratification will affect the environment, the design of cities, who we work for and even where we live.
Packages move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon shipping facility in Tracy, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Listen34:19

This segment originally aired on Dec. 17, 2017.

Who doesn't love receiving a parcel? The ripping of wrapping, the sizzle of a surprise, the anticipation of a desire gratified.

The thrill may not be quite what it used to be.

Our almost insatiable need to have growing amounts of stuff in our hands in a virtual instant, has vaulted parcel shipping and delivery to a pivotal place in the economy. (Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press)

This is a country drowning in packages. And it will only get worse.

About $2 trillion will be spent on line this year worldwide. That will double by 2021.

Sunday Edition contributor Ira Basen

Our almost insatiable need to have growing amounts of stuff in our hands in a virtual instant, has vaulted parcel shipping and delivery to a pivotal place in the economy. 

It's high science and high stakes. 

And as Ira Basen discovered, it has implications far beyond the obvious — for the environment, for the design of cities, for who we work for and the homes we live in.

Ira's documentary is called "Ship Happens."

Click 'listen' above to hear the full documentary.

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