Monday, March 2, 2009

Revisiting The Lorax: a tribute to Dr. Seuss

Theodore Seuss Geisel, pen name 'Dr. Seuss,' was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield Massachusetts which would make today his 105th birthday. While I enjoyed many of his 60 published children's books as a child, (Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish), it was not until I was older that I truly appreciated the charm of Dr. Seuss.

In 1971, Dr. Seuss wrote the infamous children's classic The Lorax, that according to Wikipedia:
"chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax (a mossy, bossy man-like creature), who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler (industry)."
The tale is a major environmental fable that speaks of the destruction of the environment through the eyes of the Lorax, who is the protector of the Truffula trees. The Lorax watches on in sadness as his home and habitat get destroyed by an industrial business. As the business continues to pillage the environment, killing the plants and animals and leaving a polluted wasteland, the Once-ler comes to his senses, realizing his gaffe. Once-ler is now at the mercy of the Lorax to restore the beauty and sustainability to the land by replanting the last-ever Truffula seed.

This theme is ever so common in our world today as we are realizing the limitations of extracting limited resources with no consideration for the future or respect to the inner workings of the natural world. It was also a markable theme in the book Dust Bowl, The Southern Plains in the 1930s by Donald Worster, who argued that the enemy at work is rampant, unfettered capitalism. As industry has taken heed to the trend of sustainability, will they truly take environmental factors into consideration at the expense of their bottom line? Or will strong advertising and marketing campaigns be able to continue pull the wool over the eyes of the consumer in what is now termed 'green washing.'

Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss and admirable salute to your works. Maybe we can celebrate with a movie viewing and some green eggs and ham. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

“And the turtles, of course... All the turtles are free- As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”


RB said...

Hi! I found your blog through Civil Eats, where I've also contributed. I love your Dr. Seuss post...earlier today I was just enjoying a bio of him written by one of my co-workers. [].

Such an interesting man!

Ashley Colpaart said...

Thanks for reading RB and for the link. He was an amazing individual.

Adrienne said...

This is my favorite Dr. Suess tale, and right behind that is "Ohh the Places You Will Go"! This story is so important for children to see, in fact I showed it to my nutrition kindergartners last year! We even watched this my sophomore year in college in my environmental studies class, it is so timeless! Great post!