Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is not only a beloved story, but a cautionary tale with a powerful message. We are blessed to live on a beautiful planet — full of amazing natural resources — that we also must protect. With Earth Day around the corner, I’m challenging myself to take action with the following seven ideas and action steps inspired right from the book.
1. Learn from Past Mistakes
"Way back in the days when the grass was still green and the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean..."
We have much to learn from the past. The Once-ler’s tale reminds us that we must be careful to avoid past mistakes. Learn from your failures. Learn from the mistakes of others — those you know, and those from history. Strive to keep trying, keep moving forward, and attempt to be just a little better than we were the day before. Learn to ask your children questions like, “What can we do differently next time?” and “How could we have handled that differently?”
2. Talk to Those Older Than You
"The old Once-ler still lives here. Ask him. He knows."
Encourage your family to take the time to get to know the older generations. Allow someone older than you to share their memories and stories. Ask them questions. Find out what their life was like. What have they learned? What do they regret? Visit an older relative or neighbor, or sign up to be a buddy at a local nursing home.
3. Spend Time Among the Trees
"But those trees! Those trees! Those Truffula Trees! All my life I'd been searching for trees such as these."
I'm convinced that being in nature is good for the soul. A walk in the forest or simply a morning spent reading on the porch can quiet the mind, lower stress, and bring about a great appreciation for our natural world. When weather allows, make a point to spend time outside on a daily basis. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Eat dinner outside. Visit your local park. Pledge to spend more time outside, appreciating the natural beauty we too often take for granted.
4. Speak for the Things that Can’t Speak for Themselves (e.g. Be an advocate!)
"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues."
Train yourself to speak out (and up!) for the causes that cannot speak for themselves. We must become advocates for the people, things, and causes that have no voice. Get the whole family to join in and volunteer at a local organization in your area that works for a cause you’re passionate about. Whether you’re cleaning up your local beach or volunteering at an animal shelter, helping your cause will feel great!
5. Protect Our Natural Resources
"I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please."
From turning off our water while brushing our teeth to planting trees — we must become better stewards of our natural resources. Small steps like recycling, using both sides of the paper or switching to a reusable water bottle can make a big difference. Have your kids brainstorm a list of things they can do to help conserve our resources.
6. Keep Our Water Clean
"They'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary in search of some water that isn't so smeary."
Clean water is vital — not only for our health, but for the good of the plants and animals that rely on clean water to drink and live in. Teach your child about the importance of picking up trash and litter. Even trash thrown on a city street can end up in the water.
"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
I have the word “Unless” framed in my home – serving as a daily reminder that I can make a difference. One person, one child, one family is capable of so much, and our world can be a better place – because of you and your kids!
Reread The Lorax with your children and see which one of the above action steps speaks to you … then pledge to DO it! It’s a lot easier than you think, and it’ll make you and your family smile from the inside out. Remember, even a small change can make a big difference. Happy Earth Day and far beyond!
What green things do you and your kids like to do? Share them with us on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page or tweet me @chasingsupermom.
Image Credit: © Jordan Simeonov/iStockphoto