The Lorax


My granddaughters, Emma and Nasya came over for the night. It was a sleepover. They wanted to play in the hot tub, play pool, and watch a movie. We did all of that. I offered to watch a movie with them, intending to read as they watched, but they tricked me. Nasya insisted that we keep the lights out so she could watch it better. But I tricked her; I watched the movie they had chosen and loved it. That was much to my surprise.

The movie we watched is called The Lorax. It is an animated film based on a story by Dr. Seuss. The forest dwelling Lorax wants to save the shortsighted Once-ler who is trying to get rich by cutting down every tree in the forest. He replaces the trees with fake trees that he thinks are better and that help him make a profit.

Once-ler, being a good capitalist, tried to make as much profit as he can so he tried to sell Theneeds. I think the reference is to needs. He manufactures needs. He induces people to want what he can sell. Is that not capitalism at its finest?

Of course, that leads to environmental degradation as air quality deteriorates and there is nothing left to create more air. Yet the people can’t stop until they have cut down the last real tree.

The Once-ler also considers putting air in a plastic container to sell to the people who no longer have clean air to breathe. A critic asks, “Do you think people will be stupid enough to pay for air in a plastic bottle when they can get it for free?” The answer, of course, is obvious, that is exactly what people do with water isn’t it? They certainly are stupid enough.

I was surprised to see how seriously Emma took to the film. She had a very hard time when the trees were cut down. I tried to reassure that things would get better. And they did. As in most kids’ movies, good triumphed in the end. “Thank goodness for good.” That was another line from the movie. Perhaps it was the theme.

Throughout the film, outside the home of the Lorax, is a rock labelled “Unless.” At the end we learn this is from a quotation by Dr. Seuss. “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better.” That should be the motto for the environmental movement.

I hope my grand daughters learned something today. I think they did. I know I did.

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