It is crucial that we protect the Earth and preserve the environment for future generations, and we also need to educate our youth about environmental preservation. Kids need to learn why and how to preserve the environment. The best way to explain the concept of sustainable development and environmental protection may be with cartoons and books such as The Lorax. Read on to learn how The Lorax story teaches green issues to children.
The Lorax is one the most popular childrens books. Written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1972, this fable features a critically important message about environmental responsibility and sustainability. If we do not change the way we produce and consume, our world will soon end up like the one that the Lorax left behind: a grim environment without any animals or plants left.
The Lorax Story:
A young boy residing in a polluted world visits a strange creature called the Once-ler who lives in seclusion. He asks the Once-ler why the world is in such a run-down state. The Once-ler explains to the boy that he arrived in a beautiful, cheerful world containing happy, playful fauna that spent their days romping around blissfully among “Truffula trees.” The Once-ler begins to cut down the truffula trees, thinking they will help him craft “Thneeds,” his invention that he thinks everyone will need. The Lorax, a small orange creature, appears from the stump of a truffula tree. He “speaks for the trees” and warns the Once-ler of the consequences of cutting down the truffula trees, but the Once-ler ignores him. Soon the once beautiful land becomes polluted and the fauna flee to find more hospitable habitats. Eventually the final Truffula tree is cut down, and without Truffulas the Once-ler cannot make any more Thneeds. This leads to the closure of Once-ler’s factory and the disappearance of the Lorax. The Once-ler lingers on in his crumbling residence, living in seclusion and remorse, while pondering over a message the Lorax left behind: a stone slab etched with the word “Unless”. The Once-ler now realizes that the Lorax means that “unless” someone cares, the situation will not improve. The book then returns to the present, ending on an ambiguous yet optimistic note where the Once-ler gives the boy the last Truffula seed and encourages him to plant it so that Truffula trees can return as well as the fauna, and so would the Lorax.
The Lorax Story and Sustainable Development Concept:
By using ideas found in the Lorax story, you can easily introduce and explain the tricky definition of sustainable development to your children as well as the huge environmental responsibility given to their generation.
The story contains many common components found in the environmental issues that we are currently facing around the world: lack of natural resources (no more truffula trees in the Lorax Story), air and water pollution, deforestation, critically endangered animals due to human activities (The Lorax had to send the Bar-ba-loots, the swans, and the fish in search of a better place to live while the Trufulla forest was being destroyed), destruction of ecosystem diversity….
By cutting down the trufulla trees, the Once-ler endangered the planet and realized his mistake too late. The sustainable development focus is to balance quality of life with quality of the environment, something the Once-ler didn’t understand but something the young boy is able to introduce with the last Truffula seed. Thus, your children can identify with him and understand how essential it is to help preserve the environment before it is too late.
If you want to go further, your children will love reading the eco-adventures in Carl Hiaasen’s books and become may even become keener than you on green issues!