Lessons from Myths, Legends and Fairytales: Part 9 The Lorax

Published in 1971, the classic children’s tale, The Lorax, is a call to protect and preserve our natural resources. Spanning more than four decades, this story has never felt more real than it does right now in terms of environmental and climate crises.

The Lorax explores the interconnectedness of nature and the very real consequences of capitalism, consumption and greed. It highlights deforestation, pollution, greenhouse gases and corporate greed with a clear message to humanity: our planet is in danger of destruction…unless.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

While this story is a powerful reminder of the responsibility we hold towards our environment and the urgent need for action, I do question a couple of things in the book.

While nobody can deny the good intentions of the Lorax, I do wonder if there is perhaps another approach that would be more effective. Leaving the planet under the leadership of a confrontational tantrum-prone individual is perhaps not the most effective approach to dealing with environmental issues. And yet, even as the narrative surrounding the climate crisis becomes increasingly critical, it is still dominated by politicians, scientists, entrepreneurs echoing the same tried-and-tested schemes. Perhaps we need to try a different approach.

Secondly, while we can all learn a lesson from the Lorax in terms of respecting nature and protecting our natural resources, my concern is that this story doesn’t leave our youth feeling particularly empowered or supported to take on today’s environmental challenges. The Lorax ends with the child receiving the very last truffala seed: the onus is on him (the youth) to save the planet because it seems that adults haven’t managed to do that. This is quite a burden to put on the youth.

The Truffula seed is in all of our hands, not only in the hands of our youth.

Our world is in need of both the experience and knowledge of our ancestors, and the energy and awareness of today’s youth.

Despite the fact that our youth are both victims of environmental and climate crises and powerful agents for change, young people often lack access to policy and decision-making power to make changes for a sustainable future. Reciprocal intergenerational learning and action are crucial to supporting and empowering our youth. Meaningful and effective inclusion of young people in environmental decision making and action is not only our duty, but will ensure a more sustainable future for all. To fully unlock their potential, we need to listen to their voices.
So instead of ranting and raving as The Lorax did, let’s change tack and listen to the voices of our youth, giving them a platform to share their ideas.

After all, they are the future. They hold the moral authority to speak on behalf of future generations.

#youngvoicesmatter #climatechange #environmentalawareness #savetheplanet