The Lorax, environmentalism and the pope


How’s that for a convoluted blog title?

Last week I saw the movie “Dr. Suess’ The Lorax,” which had all sorts of ridiculous buzz in the run-up to its March release. Of course, in this day and age, you can’t have a big movie without people debating about its agenda. There is no hidden agenda with this movie, which is based on Dr. Suess’ classic children’s book.

It’s right up front with what it’s trying to accomplish.

Trees are good. Protect them and nature. Sing some catchy tunes along the way. The end. 

We see a would-be businessman named the Once-ler possessed by greed and what happens when he puts greed above nature. He cuts down all the trees to make his latest invention. When the last tree is cut down, he’s left alone in a tower for decades until a boy comes knocking and looking for a tree.

Ted wants to bring about change and restore environmental care. The movie adds of a layer of corporate greed in a subplot about air control to show how hard it can be to be an environmentalist. 

Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been outspoken advocates for environmental protection in various ways.

Our Sunday Visitor has released a book compiling Pope Benedict’s comments on the environment over the years called, well, “The Environment.”

Back in 2009, he said: “I willingly join in spirit all who are grateful to the Lord for the fruits of the earth and the work of human hands, renewing the pressing invitation to respect the natural environment, a precious resource entrusted to our stewardship”

Pope John Paul II said the humanity’s future is tied with its current actions back in 1999.

“The world’s present and future depend on the safeguarding of creation, because of the endless interdependence between human beings and their environment.”   

As Earth Day is marked April 22, people will undoubtedly debate about things such as the cause of global warming. But, let’s remember that as stewards of the earth, it is our calling to protect God’s gifts today and not be the Once-lers. Let’s be Ted.

As Seuss writes: “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better.”  



Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.