On the side of the world where buffaloes once roamed and black and sticky is the sad ocean foam and nothing ever grows from the infertile loam…is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.
What was the Lorax? And why was it there? And why was it lifted and taken somewhere from the side of the world where buffaloes once roamed?
The old Once-ler stills lives here. Ask him. Ask him by phone.
Ask him about the time, the time after land lines, when water was flowing and ziparelles were growing and legislatures knowing that the land needed us. Yes, needed us, the smallest of the small, the biggest of the big, the creatures that could shape the world like a twig.
Ask him about the time when the land needed us.
You do it. You dial, and it rings and ding-zip-a-lings, and he answers with a cough and a wheeze-wig-a-zing.
You ask him about the time when the land needed us.
“It all started way back…such a long, long time back…Way back in the days when the Colorado still flowed and mountains were still snow-capped and lawns were still mowed, and the song of the Greater Sage Grouse rang out in space, that we all lived and prospered in this glorious place.
It wasn’t perfect no, not even close. Temperatures were rising; we were beginning to roast! But on this side of the world, in the Half Dome cliffs and Everglade moats, the land was better off, better off than most.
There were black bears and brown bears and white bears as well. Wolves and bobcats and a rapper named Pharrell.
They all needed us. The black bears and brown bears and white bears as well. The wolves and bobcats (not sure about Pharrell…). The oceans and the clouds and brown fragile soil, they all needed us as stewards, to be protective and loyal.
“But then things changed,” said the Once-ler, “new people were elected to office. Pro-business, pro-money, pro-laws as weak as boneless raw fish.
Government websites with the words ‘climate change’? That surely won’t do. So they deleted and erased, knowing well no one could sue.
But words were not enough. Actions meant more! They needed to do to even out the score.
So away went NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System. Data’s not needed. No one at the top cared how the planet was treated (as long as the murk-fested political swamps weren’t weeded).
They cut and they slashed, they repealed and they revoked. They loosened regulations on air pollution no matter who choked.
The air is fine! They exclaimed, in their crisp clean suits, walking down air-conditioned hallways with their new Fengvenchy boots. This is just how it is; business must come first. We’re doing it for you! The people! They cried, as they slipped money into their purse.
But they weren’t done yet, oh no, their work was never done. Never done until oil and big business thoroughly won.
Endangered Species Act? Really? The animals can fend for themselves. So they rollbacked the plan, adding fur to their shelves.
The wolves sighed all as one. They howled at the moon. They huffed and they puffed and they cursed that big goon, the one who marched to the beat of his own tune, the one who cared for nothing except his own silver spoon.
Tracking methane emissions was a ‘record-keeping nightmare,’ so they reformed the policy to make it more ‘fair.’ Emit more! Pay less! This is how government works. Being friends with a Congressman sure has its perks.
Public lands were a tangled web, a new issue altogether. There was battle after battle and yet still more to weather. Grand Staircase-Escalante was shrunk more than 46 percent, and the Indigenous at Bears Ears asked where was their rent? Because it was their land first, but we seem to have forgotten. So we claim it and then sell it with deals just as rotten.
As rotten as what? A tomato? A fish? As rotten as an authentic, preserved Thanksgiving dish? Give the land back to us, or protect it, the Indigenous plead. But we give in to nothing and no one, except our own need. (It’s not compassion that motivates government, not empathy, but greed.)
The Migratory Bird Act had been in place for one-hundred years. It’d survived twenty administrations (c’mon, let’s hear the cheers). But stop! No more. It must be revised. Bird deaths because of industry? Them we won’t chastise.
Car emissions? Who cares? Let them run wild. Research about mines on local health? Don’t add to the list you’ve compiled.
We’re about money, you see, saving and earning, and what good is public land, endangered species, if there’s not a profit turning?”
“But what about the Lorax?” you interrupt. “Isn’t this story about him?” The Once-ler stops and looks at you with a sad, feeble grin.
“The Lorax, you ask? Why, he’s gone long ago. His part is done. Seuss ended his story in nineteen-seventy-one. I’m sorry to say that things have not gotten better. Subtleties are no use these days, all they do is fetter.
What I’m saying is this: We’ve already waited too long. But it’s not over yet, and we need to be strong.
There are the brown bears and black bears and white bears as well. There are termites and butterflies and Howie Mandel. The arctic needs us, and forests too, more biomes than I can tell. But I can see it in your eyes—the determination, the energy—that we are going to do well.
That we will fight and protect, conserve and sustain, that we will do all we can for future generations so that all this remains.”
And with that the Once-ler hung up the phone—what more could he say? The earth needed you, it needs you today.
To stay alert, to stay informed, to do your very best, because the land and the creatures and all the rest, they need you to do, to act, to invest. To invest in our future, to care beyond yourself, because the best things in the world can’t be bought on a shelf.
You’ll do great, I know you will, there are a lot of strong people out there. To help you, to guide you, to show you how to care. So go now, take action, there’s a lot left to do, the earth needs your help, it’s counting on you.
Information sourced from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/how-trump-is-changing-science-environment/
Post inspired by The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, first published in 1971 by Random House.