What is the Lorax?
And why do we care?
And why had the U.S. Forest Service taken us
from the far reaches of the forests to the carpets of Hollywood?
Ask the Chief. He will be there.
U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will travel to California for the premier of the animated movie Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which includes the agency’s first Honorary Forest Ranger Betty White.
In the movie, a 12-year-old boy (Zac Efron) tries to win a young girl’s heart (Taylor Swift) by going in search of the Lorax, a grumpy yet charming character who fights to protect the world played by Danny DeVito. Betty White plays the role of the grandmother.
The movie is adapted from the book of the same name, written in 1971 by Theodor Seuss Geisel, known by millions simply as Dr. Seuss. The book is narrated by the Once-ler, a faceless character who tells a young boy the story of the lost Truffula trees, which are nowhere to be found. But as he tells his story, the Once-ler says to the boy:
Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot
nothing is going to get better
The Lorax then tosses the last Truffula tree seed, urging the boy to set out and plant the seed and help bring back a forest of Truffula trees as well as the Barb-ba-loots, Swoomee-Swans and Humming-Fish that relied on a healthy forest to survive.
“Given the many threats to America’s private and public forests due to a changing climate, pests and pathogens, and land conversion, this children’s story can spur conversations about what has to happen today to restore the health and productivity of America’s forests,” Tidwell said. “This is an opportunity to start a dialogue about the inherent value of forests and the importance of sustainable management.”
The nation’s 193 million acres of forest and grasslands provide a wealth of public benefits: clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreation and the wood and paper products Americans use every day.
“Forests matter to everyone, and we must use and care for them responsibly and sustainably,” Tidwell said. “The Forest Service, our state partners, family forest owners and the many partner organizations we work with are helping to protect more than 751 million acres of forest land in America. Ensuring that trees are part of America’s landscape is a goal we all share with The Lorax.”
The Lorax also is an integral part of a public service campaign with the Forest Service and the Ad Council. The two agencies have worked together since 2009 on a public service campaign designed to inspire children and their families to unplug and reconnect with nature.
The Ad Council helped the Forest Service join forces with Universal Pictures, which created pro bono a series of new English and Spanish television, radio and outdoor public service advertisements that feature characters from the movie, which will open nationwide March 2, Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday.
The PSAs encourage viewers to go Discover the Forest, an online site that helps children learn about how to discover the wonders of forests around them.
*Excerpt from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1971.