Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most important pieces of environmental literature ever made. The Lorax.
Some folks give that designation to Silent Spring, A Sand County Almanac or even The Monkey Wrench Gang. As a young aspiring scientist I was fascinated by the effects of DDT on the raptor population. I spent my 25th birthday on a backpacking pilgrimage to the Aldo Leopold Wilderness letting my imagination run wild. I have even, um…been influenced by old Hayduke in many ways. But few printed words have stuck with like the rhymes from this old children’s book.
I have witnessed beatle infestations and wildfires of the west decimating tree populations. I have pedaled through the clear cuts of the Pacific Northwest. I have seen Saguaro cactus buldozed to make way for a wall on an imaginary line. I’ve stood on the smoke filled streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia hundreds of miles away from Sumatra, where forests were being burned to the ground to make room for coconut plantations. Each time I experience one of these tradgedies I don’t think of Rachel, Aldo or Ed. I think of what the Lorax would say.
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues”
This is not just a quote froma fictional cartoon animal. It is a call to arms. To speak for those with no voice. Plant, insect, animal and person. We are all neighbors and it has never been more important to look out for each other than right now.
Parents, read this to your children. Children, read this to you parents. Over and over again until it sinks in.by