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The Lorax: How I Teach My Children to Speak for the Trees

We recycle in our home. I was taught the importance of recycling and protecting the environment from an early age and it’s a lesson I intend to pass on to my children. Anders and Danica know well what materials go into the trash can and what we rinse out and place in the recycling bin in our kitchen.

Explaining key issues like the necessity of protecting our environment to my children can be difficult (not to mention boring for them) and I am always in search of a way do so that will hold their attention. If I can find a way to make them feel invested, even better.

I often find that children’s books or even television shows can be an aid in the discussion. Dr Seuss’ The Lorax is a fun, sing-song, rhyming, read, but its deeper message of the importance of nature conservation is one that is not lost on my children.

Yes, it is a fantastically fun tale with colorful illustrations, but the question of ‘Unless what, mommy?’ has sparked invaluable discussions. When prompted, Anders can tell you about the important role that trees play in our environment and this is due, in part, to reading the story of The Lorax.

When my son saw the preview for the movie The Lorax he couldn’t wait to watch the film in its entirety. I can’t blame him. One of my favorite things is seeing a tale I loved reading brought to life and when that is done through animation it is rarely a let down. I was doing a little research on the movie, interested in how they had adapted the book for the big screen, when I stumbled across “The Lorax Speaks” project.

Universal Pictures, Illumination Studios, and The Nature Conservancy have teamed up to generate support and raise awareness to save one of the planet’s most endangered tropical rain forests, The Atlantic Forest, in Brazil. The forest once spanned 330 million acres and is now reduced to 7% of it’s original size. Depressing, right?

The forest is the only place many of its 2,000 animals and 20,000 plant species can survive and the “Plant a Billion Trees” initiative will support the reforestation of this devastated tropical rain forest.

“This exciting partnership goes to show that bringing back the splendor of one of the world’s great forests is not an idea confined to the imagination of Dr. Seuss, but something that people everywhere can do now—by helping plant a billion trees in Brazil—to ensure a future in which the lungs of the Earth are healthy and thriving,” said Sarene Marshall, Managing Director of the Global Climate Change Team, The Nature Conservancy.

I don’t know about you, but it puts a smile on my face to learn about partnerships like this one, not only bringing a classic tale with an important message to life, but also taking action to improve the world in which we live.

The movement began with a donation from Universal Pictures, but you can continue it by making your own contribution to The Nature Conservancy’s “Plant a Billion Trees” campaign. In addition to reading the works of Seuss, my son also loves to read about animals and their natural habitats. I don’t know about you, but I want those stories to remain a reality and not a tale of a species gone extinct.

So, what do you say? Let’s plant a tree. Donate a few dollars. Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Let’s honor his message and speak for the trees.

A big thanks to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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