I Speak For the Trees

“I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”


This is a quote from the children’s book and movie ‘The Lorax’, written by Dr. Seuss. And in this blog, I will tell you why every Stormer should watch this movie. 

For those who have had the Philosophy of Science and Ethics course in their second year, you know what the academic canon is. For those who have not, I will explain it for you. The academic canon consists of things that I believe that everyone should know, see, read, or have done before starting their academic career. Hereby I will thus introduce the Storm Canon, which includes watching the 2012 movie The Lorax

The Lorax is a children’s story written by Dr. Seuss in 1971, with bright colours, funny creatures, and catchy rhymes. But it is also a story about climate change, environmental destruction, deforestation, and resource exploitation. In the story, the Once-ler is a character who strives to become famous and rich with his invention called the Thneed. He stumbles upon a valley with many trees with a fluffy canopy, which are perfect for his product. He continues chopping the trees to get this, which summons the Lorax. The Lorax is a creature who protects the forest, and speaks for the trees: “I am the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please!”. The Once-ler ignores the Lorax, and continues building an enormous factory to produce his Thneed, becoming very rich in the process. This results in a barren, tree-less valley with a very sad scene of all the animals leaving, because the water and air is polluted, and there are no more plants.  

Thneedville, the city where the main character Ted lives, is a very special town. The trees are all gone, so they have plastic ones (which have a disco-setting), you can ski and go to a sunny beach in the same place, and you can buy fresh air in a bottle, because the air is polluted. As one of the marketers say in the movie: “Our research shows that people will buy ANYTHING if you put it in a plastic bottle!”. Because of a girl, Ted goes on a mission to find a real tree outside the city walls, and finds the Once-ler in the barren landscape. He continues to tell his story about how he caused the valley to be destroyed with his ambitions, and shows his regrets.

The developments in the Once-ler’s story are supported by catchy songs, which have lyrics such as “So I bigger in my company, I bigger in my factory, I bigger in my corporate size! How bad can I be?”. While watching the movie, I noticed that I was distracted by the upbeat and happy nature of the songs, which made me forget the shocking nature of the lyrics. I think that the way the filmmakers did this was genius, as it reflects what is happening in the real world: get distracted by fun products or campaigns, and forget the real impact of it.

The Lorax is thus a very real story, which shows the real consequences of deforestation and humanity losing their connection with nature. This makes that I am not surprised that the story was not appreciated everywhere. The book was banned in 1989 in California because it was believed to portray logging in a poor light and would turn children against the foresting industry. 

What surprises me most is how so few people know this movie. So that is why i want to implore you to do it: go to Netflix, grab yourself some popcorn, and watch this movie. Show it to your parents, you little sister, or your friends. Because everyone will get it. And that’s so great about this movie. 

I think that most Stormers will agree with the Lorax, and try to be the Lorax in a way. Because… “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

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