ConsumerismDeforestationMusical InterludeSociety

One for the Children – The Lorax

I think this might be the first time we’ve ever played ‘contraband’ material here on PRI (see text below clip for details):

The Lorax
Duration: 25mins
(adults may prefer to watch the second clip below instead)

The Lorax is a children’s story written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971. The tale 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….

The book is commonly recognized as a parable concerning industrialized society, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler (whose face is never shown in all of the story’s illustrations) and to the environment as the Lorax.

The Lorax is arguably Seuss’ most controversial work, having been banned in some schools and libraries for its anti-forestry industry content. Wikipedia (emphasis added)

Social engineering is still alive and well, of course.

Adults and children will also enjoy the Dr. Suess/Cat Stevens musical collaboration below, where they team up to help set our priorities straight:

After all, do we really need a thneed?

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free in their own country from the noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste. And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical and individual in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the other animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong in it. Without any remaining wilderness we are committed wholly, without chance for even momentary reflection and rest, to a headlong drive into our technological termite-life, the Brave New World of a completely man-controlled environment.

… for at least three millennia we have been engaged in a cumulative and ambitious race to modify and gain control of our environment, and in the process we have come close to domesticating ourselves. Not many people are likely, any more, to look upon what we call “progress” as an unmixed blessing. Just as surely as it has brought us increased comfort and more material goods, it has brought us spiritual losses, and it threatens now to become the Frankenstein that will destroy us. One means of sanity is to retain a hold on the natural world, to remain, insofar as we can, good animals. – Wallace Stegner, Wilderness Letter

3 Comments

  1. Nice!

    In 1996 the Wilderness Society in Newcastle created a play based on the Lorax. I helped make the set. It was a wonderful production that even toured I think. Last I heard, the key people moved to East Gipsland.. their names are Josie and Tony. Would be great to see this revived.

  2. I remember watching this as a child, it deeply influenced my early environmental sensitivities. This film, and Cosmos(Carl Sagan) should be required viewing in public schools.

  3. What a wonderful combination and reminder of my (once upon a time) favourite Cat Stevens number. I’ve never seen The Lorax before and it’s great, unsubtle entertainment. I agree, every child should see this. I loved Cosmos, Bronowsky’s Ascent of Man and The Good Life, all from the same era. With all the awareness and promise of the post hippy generation, how did we lose our way again so spectacularly?

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