Earlier today I overheard my daughter reciting lines from the The Lorax by Dr. Suess. Not the movie, the actual book. I have always loved that book, a favorite when I was little. What I hadn’t thought of, until today, was just how much The Lorax influenced me. I suddenly recalled sitting near a tree stump at some point in my childhood begging the Lorax to come out and talk to me (probably one of stumps left over from the neighbor’s land when they clear-cut my favorite woods to build a house).
The Lorax wasn’t just a fun book to read, it spoke to me in a way that the other children’s books did not. It was an different kind of cautionary tale. I became angry at the Once-ler. How could he cut down all those trees, which everyone, everyone, everyone needs! I do not have a lot of sympathy for those that purposefully destroy nature. My empathy has always been toward the less fortunate and currently the natural world is the underdog. Besides, if I root for nature I am in essence rooting for human wellbeing.
Likely, I would still be an environmentalist if I hadn’t read The Lorax. My mom taught my brother and me to respect the Earth. What the book did do is allow me to think more deeply about our actions in this world. I didn’t want the animals to have to leave. I wanted all the truffula trees to come back. My young self loved nature and thought people were bad…I’m not so sure I’ve changed that much.
I hope that my daughters will live in a world with more truffula trees, instead of one that continues to destroy forests and mountains for fleeting profits.