When my kids were little, we loved reading Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" together.In case you don't know, it's the story of a greedy developer (well, that's what I call him – Dr. Seuss called him the Once-ler) who cuts down all the Truffula Trees (but they could be ancient forests, or the grove of woods in a community) in order to produce something people don't really need but are convinced they do (Dr. Seuss called it a "Thneed" – I call it "stuff" or worse, when I'm really annoyed). The Lorax tries to convince the Once-ler to save at least some of the trees. But the Once-ler, blinded by the glee he feels from making huge profits on his Thneeds, ignores the Lorax until the land far and wide is trashed and all the trees are gone.
You can't miss the message: don't sacrifice nature and our quality of life to greed, plain and simple as that.
Though the book was written in 1971, it's as relevant today as it was forty years ago. In fact, the new movie based on The Lorax that's premiering this weekend couldn't be more timely. More than ever, we have to protect forests from clearcutting. And we have to protect the planet from the environmental and health impacts that accompany the manufacture of a whole lot of "stuff" we really don't need.
That's the big picture. Here at home, it's also our resonsibility to stop buying so many "thneeds" – things we don't really need. I'm looking around my house right now and I hate to admit it, but I see a lot more "thneeds" than I wish I did: stacks of books I know I'll never read but just felt like I had to have, three different rain jackets (one would have been plenty), two different leashes for my dog, an electric breadmaker I thought I'd use but almost never do, a rice cooker I've never used, a sushi making kit I unwrapped but never tried, an accordion I really intended to learn to play…
Sure, I can pack all this stuff up and take it to Value Village or list it on freecycle.org. But I never should have bought it in the first place. I sure didn't need it.
What about you? Do you have any "thneeds" you wish you hadn't bought? Or is the Lorax inspiring you to think twice before buying a new "thneed" you don't really need?
If so, let me know. In fact, thanks to Universal Pictures, I will provide a $25 Fandango Gift Card, which should cover two tickets to see the Lorax, to whomever reveals his or her most embarrassing "thneed" in the comments below.
So 'fess up. What's your "thneed"? And what are you going to do about it?
(The winner will be announced on Saturday, March 4).