When my children were young, I read The Lorax to them every Earth Day. The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss has been the go-to environmental book for kids since it’s publication in 1971.
As we embark on Earth Day this year, let’s revisit The Lorax’s cautionary tale:
The Once-ler devised devious ways of cutting down Truffula trees for the “biggering and biggering” of his manufacturing operation. The smogulous smoke that spewed into the air from his Thneed factory made the Lorax “cough, whiff, sneeze, snuffle, snarggle, sniffle, and croak.” The beautiful Swomee swans were no longer able to sing, so the Lorax sends the birds away to find cleaner air. The Once-ler “biggered” to the point where he poisoned the Lorax’s eco-lovin’ life with polluted water, polluted air, and left him in a sunless panorama of Truffula stumps. Poor Lorax.
While there have been so many measurable strides made on the environmental scene, our ecosystems are still under constant siege. Between the threat of natural disasters, and the changing tides of political ideas, we’re not out of the woods.
The Clean Air Act is just one example of a highly successful environmental policy that is at risk. When air pollution plagued the world, the ramifications of acid rain and smog were a blip on the radar of most folks. As the ecological science began to mount, environmental awareness kicked in. It became a non-partisan priority to legislate for clean air. This paved the way for the Clean Air Act.
EPA statistics indicate that since the Clean Air Act, the US has decreased toxic fume emissions by 109 million tons, which has reduced pollution and improved the air quality 48 per cent. Recently, the EPA released the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. It’s the first-ever national policy to regulate mercury and other nasty stuff spewing from the coal plants that provide us with electricity. These standards have been 20 years in the making. While many responsible coal-fired plant owners have installed the technology, they are now faced with fending off a bombardment of pro-polluters who would like to abolish the regulation.
I recently joined the Moms For Clean Air Force because I worry about handing over a world to our kids like the one the Lorax left behind. We can’t forget the importance of reorienting environmental values away from economic and political points of view, and towards common sense science.
Did you grow up heeding the Lorax’s message? If so, you learned that we are all interconnected, and collectively we can take responsibility for the health of our planet and its inhabitants. Those Once-ler-type polluters are still figuring out ways of “biggering”. Let’s not let them continue to blow their smogulous smoke at us.
On this Earth Day, I’ve committed to keep the air clean to breathe. Will you join me in protecting our precious planet?
Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer and educator. Ronnie regularly writes about sustainable living for online sites and magazines. Along with being the creator of http://www.econesting.com, Ronnie has contributed to numerous books about green home design, DIY, children, and humor. Ronnie lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with her family.