Growing up, The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss was always my absolute favourite book.
I loved all of the bright colourful Truffula trees in the pictures, and the cute little bears and fish that lived in them… not to mention all the rhyming. However until just this weekend, I never really consciously thought much about the message they were getting across with the story.
For those of you who have never read or seen The Lorax, a man named the Once-ler goes to their beautiful land with these gorgeous colourful Truffula trees, with peaceful waters, and tons of cute little animals living in the water and trees. The Once-ler realizes he can cut down the Truffula trees, and turn their tuffs into ‘Thneeds’, which are these ridiculous looking items that double as a scarf, hat, towel, glove, shirt etc… essentially the most ridiculous product that no one needs at all. Anyway, so it ends up that everyone in Thneedsville loves the Thneed, and the Once-ler ends up chopping down all of the Truffula trees to make sure he can sell as many Thneeds as possible to make as much money as possible. The Lorax is the character who throughout the entire story is trying to tell the Once-ler that he has to stop, and that he is taking away homes for all of the animals and killing all the trees, but the Once-ler’s attitude is that the trees are unlimited, and it’s not a big deal. The Once-ler ends up cutting down all of the trees, all the animals need to leave, and the Lorax leaves just a circle of rocks behind, with one large rock that has the word ‘UNLESS’ written on it.
So the thing that really struck me while watching the movie form of The Lorax this past weekend, it really struck me how cool it was that Dr. Seuss was able to get across the idea of Sustainability, and being careful with our resources, in such a chill and nonchalant way! I always think of messages promoting sustainability to be so severe and stress the importance of the issue to really communicate the idea, but The Lorax did it in a much more light-hearted way, while definitely still communicating the message. In addition to reading the book a million times, the movie really struck a cord with me, and I finally understood what the UNLESS rock meant at the very end of the story. Dr. Seuss is communicating the fact that everyone can keep chopping down trees, fishing, mining oil and depleting the world of all it’s resources, thinking it’s all unlimited, but realistically it is not. And unless we all start noticing this, and really start to make changes, our world is going to be exactly like that of The Lorax.