I think we can all agree that a planet without trees would suck. No one, not even George W. Bush, the most ardent espouser of tree hatred on the planet (fact), ever advocated destroying all the trees. Furthermore, I think we can all agree that before we ever did cut down all the trees on the planet, there would have to be some astronomically compelling reason to do so. Like the only way for the earth to avoid getting blown up by aliens for sport was to cut down all the trees to try to blend in with the moon.
Yet there was a time in the not so distant past when we almost lost all life on earth as we know it. True story. A time when evil corporations like Kerr McGee would probably dump radioactive waste water into school children’s drinking water. When flying into L.A. looked like an IMC approach into the Degobah system. That was a wicked smart use of pilot wordology by the way. Rivers and lakes would spontaneously burst into flames like a Michael Bay movie. Industry was running amok and people were suffering. Babies were born radioactive, and not in the good superhero kind of way. Something needed to done and so Dr. Seuss wrote a book. The Lorax. It pointed out all the bad things that people did to the environment for their own personal gain, namely, cutting down all the trees so that the fluffy tree fur at the top could be used to make a multipurpose sweater thing called a Thneed. Long and short, everyone wanted one so, all the trees on the entire planet had to be cut down to satisfy the greedy thoughtless consumers.
I’m going to stop editorializing so I can rant. I don’t know which studio came out with the recently released movie version of the Lorax book, I googled “Lorax studio” and got links to Al Gore’s children’s book club. Anyhow, it’s not relevant to my rant. My kids saw the trailer and talked me into spending money to see it. I make the point of mentioning I spent money to see only because I resent that fact. Greatly. The movie had all the trappings of a cute film with lovable characters, a bit of mystery, an evil villain and of course, singing. Honestly, the singing seemed a bit forced. The songs suffered uncomfortably between “Willie Wonka” playful mischief and the self-rightous hippy absurdity of “Hair”.
Some background to make my rant more coherent. I can’t remember the names of the characters because they were not memorable. The story opens in present day. In a village called Thneedville. Where everyone is happy with their completely plastic existence. No joke, everything is plastic and no living thing exists. Which, is kind of cool, not the no living thing part but the plastic part. It makes for easy clean up. But the viewer is clearly supposed to be horrified by the self centered greedy product worship going on. In walks a boy, who likes a girl. The girl wants more than anything to see a real tree. The boy wants the girl so he sets out to find a real tree. I’d like to stop here and point out that none of this perfect little plastic happy community would have been upset if a boy hadn’t been trying to please a girl. (Garden of Eden). In his journey to find a tree, he discovers how all the trees disappeared, due to shear selfishness, all the trees were cut down. It’s a sad commentary on something I’m sure. But it fell on deaf ears here because it was so completely implausible. NO ONE thought to plant more trees? People were so caught up in making huge profits from this thing,
that they never stopped to consider the ramifications of totally deforesting the land? So, now there are no trees, and the air quality is rapidly getting worser. Something has to be done. Someone must intervene and save these stupid greedy face sweater wearing people, FROM THEMSELVES!! In comes, clean air man, O’Hare. He has a solution that will clean up all the polluted air choking the life out of the good, but greedy citizens of Thneedville. So he comes up with air scrubbers that filter the air and keep it clean down to the particulate level. You could eat of the air it’s so clean. Now back to the boy who wants to get the girl by bringing back the trees. O’Hare, catching wind of the boy’s sneaky scheme pitches a hissy fit and screams violently at times about how if you plant trees I can’t make money of off all clean air I’m selling to people because trees make clean air for free. That parts true. They do in fact do that. Trees are awesome carbon filters.
It’s at about this point in the film that it dawns on my grossly offended sensibilities, Mr. O’Hare the clean air guy isn’t representing the manufacturing industry, he’s representing the environmentalist industry. Go back to when I told you about self combusting lakes of fire. Nixon started the EPA to help put a stop to industrial pollution that was arguably harmful to both people and the environment. Along with this came the Clean Air Act which gave the EPA the regulatory authority to ensure these, and other more punitive safeguards were being implemented and followed. This created a whole new industrial niche called Green Energy. These are the companies that come in and save stupid humans from themselves by making our environment better, through their really expensive and inefficient alternative energies and regulations that support their profit margins. They also get really nasty when you try and point out the fact that solar and wind are not really all that great at providing energy, or oddly enough, all that environmentally friendly either.
So my take away from the Lorax, it was far more of an indictment against the Green Energy Industry than it was against manufacturing. There was a serious problem that required an immediate environmental solution, but as with all things, those solutions don’t necessarily remain the most efficient way to do things and change is needed and companies need to adapt instead of bilking the tax payer with a loan guarantee. In the case of the Lorax, the whole sordid drama could have been avoided if someone would have replanted the stupid trees to begin with. Seriously, nobody even suggested it. It was like that episode of Portlandia in the feminist bookstore where the intern tried to alphabetize the books and the two lesbian store owners looked at her like she was a straight man. Just bottles the mind.