The Lorax: An Intelligent Explanation of Why Our Environment Is Deteriorating

This Dr. Seuss classic was written in 1971 – far before its time. The Lorax tells the story of a dim future resulting from overconsumption, resource depletion, and its resulting pollution. The reader of the story is faced with the mysterious “Onceler’s” recollection of an unharmed Earth, full of healthy Trafulla Trees and happy woodland animals. The Lorax is a story about what can happen to those who choose to live in ignorance, despite constant reminders and warnings about the repercussions of irresponsible actions. This applies heavily to the urgency of climate change. We should all take Dr. Suess’s advice and make changes to save our environment before it’s too late.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – from The Lorax 

One of the most thoughtful ideas found in this piece of literature is the depiction of the Onceler as someone who simply wants to make financial gain after inventing the “Theed” from the Trafulla Trees, a special fabric which “everyone needs.” From the very beginning of the story, the Lorax is continuously asking the Onceler to slow down production and reflect on its impact on the environment. Unfortunately, the Onceler simply refuses to acknowledge the habitat’s deterioration as he continues to expand his business. As the market for Theeds grows, the Onceler begins chopping down hundreds of once plentiful Truffula Trees despite the Lorax’s constant nagging.

Like a lot of people today, the Onceler chooses to ignore the cries of the Lorax, “who speaks for the trees,” because he feels that expanding his business and using up resources has a positive effect on the economy. Failing to weigh the pros and cons of expansion, he drains the environment until there are literally no resources left. The remorse doesn’t set in until the very last Traffula Tree has been chopped down.

I feel like children and adults alike should take a look at this very important book and compare what’s happening in the story to what’s happening in our world today. The fact that the story deals with the complications of business expansion and consumerism rather than simply preaching about the importance of being nice to the planet is impressive. This book was written way before it’s time.  A part of me wishes it would be a required reading and discussion material for U.S. politicians!

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