Sustainable - capable
of being continued with minimal long-term effect
on the environment.

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Trees not Thneeds

March 02, 2012

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Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel was born 108 years ago today.  Writing under the pen names Dr. Seuss and Theo LeSieg, he gave us The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hears a Who!, and one of my daughters’ favorites How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  In fact, Dr. Seuss wrote 10 of the top 100 books for children as compiled by the National Education Association.  Number 14 on that list is The Lorax.

The Lorax is arguably the most important book written by Dr. Seuss.  It begins in a beautiful world where a Truffula tree is chopped down to create something believed to be needed by everyone – a thneed.  The Once-ler’s thneed business grows and expands because “Business is business! And Business must grow”.  The Once-ler’s production of the unnecessary thneed brings him riches but destroys the wildlife and the environment that the Once-ler once respected.  Eventually, the Once-ler’s greed destroys that which made him rich in the first place.

Through his writing in The Lorax, Dr. Theodore Geisel expresses his love for the environment and his fear of unrestrained and unsustainable consumerism.  The Lorax is not just a story about unregulated business, deforestation, pollution, and greed.  It’s also a story about hope.  In the wasteland at the end of the story, the Once-ler passes the last Truffula seed to the young boy, and says:

You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And Truffular Trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.

The Lorax was written not just for our children, but for all of us.

To honor Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Universal Pictures is releasing The Lorax movie today.  I am extremely excited to take my daughters.  We’ve read the book and my oldest knows that this story holds a special place in my heart.  In fact, every time she sees The Lorax at the library or bookstore, she points at it and yells “look dad, it’s your book.”

There are so many other ways to enjoy The Lorax this week.  You can download a Dr. Seuss iOS book for your iPad or iPhone, all of which are on sale.  You can visit the Lorax Project or watch one of the USDA Forest Service public service announcements that encourage children to spend time outdoors and to connect with nature.  My favorite is The Lorax blog tour.  I’ve included links to each of these posts because they are definitely worth reading:

The Green Parent – How you too can protect the trees
Eco Child’s Play – You don’t Need a Thneed
The Smart Mama – Hope Will Change The World
My Plastic-free Life – Why Nagging Doesn’t Work
Retro Housewife Goes Green – Speak for the Trees (and the animals!)
Groovy Green Livin – 3 Ways Your Family Can Protect the Earth
Mindful Momma – 5 Ways to Help Your Kids “Speak for the Trees”
Green and Clean Mom – A Fruity Lesson with The Lorax
Moms Going Green Blog – will publish on March 2
Kitchen Stewardship – will publish on March 3
Nature Moms – will publish on March 4

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.


One Response

  1. Kathy says:

    Well said Adam..